Dugan's Kitchen

Great meals made easy!

Caramelized Onions – Worth the Wait!

There are some things you just don’t take the time to learn…

In all the years that I have cooked I have often used sautéed onions, usually in place of caramelized onions. I don’t know why I never looked into the real difference before, but recently I decided to find out what is so special about caramelizing onions.

What I found is that it is very simple…the key being patience.  By cooking the onions in a little olive oil and butter, very slowly for about an hour, you end up with something sweet and flavorful that can be used in many ways. I made them for a salad. Try it next time you want something rich and sweet to go with your meal.

Caramelized Onions

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • Several medium or large onions (I used Vidalia onions)*
  • Olive oil (1 tsp. per onion)
  • Butter (1 tsp. per onion)
  • Salt

*Five large onions yields about 2 cups caramelized onions


  1. Slice the ends off the onions and then cut them in half through root end. Peel the outer layer and slice each half in 1/4″ or more slices.
  2. Coat a large saute pan with the butter and olive oil. Heat the pan on medium high heat until the butter melts and the oil is shimmering.
  3. Add the onions, spreading them evenly over the pan. Let them cook. (If the onions begin to burn or dry out, lower your heat.)
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt.  If you want really sweet onions, also sprinkle about 1 tsp. sugar (I used brown sugar), over onions.  (Another trick to keeping the onions from drying out is to add a little water to the pan.)
  5. Let them cook for 30 minutes to an hour more, stirring every few minutes. As soon as the onions start sticking to the pan, let them stick a little and brown, but stir them before they burn. Don’t stir too often, though, as they will not brown as well.  You can also deglaze a time or two with white wine. After 20 or 30 minutes, you may also want to reduce the heat. Use a spatula, when necessary, to scrape the brown bits.
  6. Once they are a nice, rich brown, you are done.
  7. Store refrigerated for several days in an air-tight container.

As you can see, I was not as patient as I could have been. I could have browned them more, but I was running out of time before my company arrived, and since I tasted them and they were delightfully sweet, I took them off the heat. IMG_0861

You can use them to serve with steak, to make onion tarts, use them on pizza or in dips.  Or, like I do, on a watermelon salad (recipe coming next time).


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This entry was posted on June 15, 2015 by in Side Dish, Uncategorized and tagged , .

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