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Besides onions, what else do you caramelize?

So far, I've done the following with tremendous results.


I'm goint to try parsnips next.

What other root-type veggies have you been caramelizing?

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  1. Love to caramelize leeks and I roast shallots with a beef or chicken roast - some of my favorites!

    Parsnips are good, but I also love doing butternut squash, and brussels sprouts.

    1. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and rutabagas (swedes).

      1. Just remembered I also have had luck in roasting to caramelize broccoli and cauliflower pieces, tho they're not root veggies.......

        1. Mushrooms per Michael Chiarello, an oldy but such a goody.

          1. I love roasting cauliflower, sweet potatos (the orange coloured ones) and squash (like acorn and pumpkin)

            1. I have been addicted lately to roasting or carmelizing everything but my favs lately are:

              red onions
              red or orange or yellow peppers
              brussel sprouts

              1. onions, shallots & leeks
                squashes including butternut & summer
                carrots & celery
                sweet peppers & chiles
                jalapeno peppers
                bananas & plantains

                5 Replies
                1. re: Cherylptw

                  Might as well add pineapple to that list. OP was looking for root veggies, tho.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    True, but her link post asked what do you caramelize...she didn't specify root veggies until you clicked on the link, so which is it? I don't like pineapple so that's not something I would caramelize which is why I didn't add it to my list.

                    1. re: Cherylptw

                      Last line of the OP : What other root-type veggies have you been caramelizing?

                      Just sayin'.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        I hear you but what I'm saying is that the link I clicked on asked what else besides onions do you caramelize? It said nothing about root veggies until the end of the post. Maybe the OP should have been a little clearer by just writing root veggies in her heading link and really, I didn't see anything in her post which indicated she specifically excluded fruits.

                        1. re: Cherylptw

                          Hey, it's all good.

                          Root vegetable or otherwise, all suggestions are welcomed!


                2. Can you truly carmelize foods (like mushrooms) that contain practically no sugar? Is there a difference between carmelizing and browning?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: blue room

                    Yes, at least for mushrooms. The trick is to put them in a hot pan that has a bit of fat/oil in it and then step away. Chiarello said not to touch until you see a bit of shrinkage then to flip/toss, let that side do the same then you salt/season. The texture and color are a bit different then browned.

                    1. re: just_M

                      he has a great recipe for polenta and carmelized mushrooms - i can't wait to try

                      1. re: just_M

                        And the key for mushrooms is NOT to salt until they brown, unlike onions for instance. I know you mentioned that, but it's worth repeating for those who may not have picked up on that detail. My husband routinely seasons things as soon as he tosses them in the skillet, so I make a special point of mentioning that the mushrooms won't brown if they're salted first....as demonstrated repeatedly in our house :-)

                        1. re: Niki in Dayton

                          They seem to brown just fine, and I salt them when they hit the pan. It helps them to release their moisture faster, I think. And getting rid of excess moisture is a key to browning.

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            Browned yes if you let them cook long enough, caramelized no. Try Chiarellos method, I wasn't convinced until I did and the texture is different. Caramelized on the outside while the interior retains more of a moist meatiness and the taste is just more mushroomy somehow. I think the salting toward the end enhances the flavor while the some moisture has been cooked out and therefor caramelized but it leaves just enough now concentrated moisture in the mushroom to up the flavor and texture. Try it , you'll love it. M

                    2. I love to caramelize apples or pears...have a great recipe for pork with brandy sauce and caramelized pears actually that is in fairly regular rotation. Yum!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: KayceeK

                        KayceeK, would you tell me how to do the pork with brandy and pears?
                        Or point to it online, if I can find it there. Thanks very much!

                        1. re: blue room


                          I normally don't deviate too far since it's so simple and good! I like to serve it with colourful sides since it is a little on the beige side of things, and a good Pinot Noir! ;)

                      2. I always caramelize canned tomatoes before making cream of tomato soup. You can smell when they finally caramelize, this is one of my favorite simple treats.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: runwestierun

                          Oh, that reminds me. I carmelize tomato paste in evoo when I make red sauce. It adds depth and sweetness to the sauce.