Caramelized Onions Recipe

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

There are plenty of tricks and hacks out there for “quick caramelized onions,” but the best caramelized onions cook low and slow until they’re sweet and soft enough to practically melt in your mouth. These thinly sliced onions cook for one to two hours, at which point they’re perfect for spreading on toast, dressing up a burger, folding into a sandwich, or throwing on top of a pizza. They’re also the perfect base for the best French onion soup.

Why It Works

  • Caramelizing the onions slowly in butter until they’re rich golden-brown (but not so dark as to taste bitter) produces the sweetest, most flavorful results.
  • There are no tricks here for faster results; we’ve tried them and are not impressed.
  • Yield:Makes about 1 quart
  • Active time:1 hour
  • Total time:1 hour
  • Ingredients

    • 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter
    • 3 pounds (1.4kg) yellow or mixed onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick (see note)
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1. 1.

      In a large stainless steel saucepan, or in 2 large stainless steel or cast iron skillets, melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are very sweet and a rich golden-brown color, 1 to 2 hours. If browned onion juices on bottom of pot threaten to burn, add 1 tablespoon (15ml) water, scrape up browned bits, and continue cooking; add water whenever needed to prevent burning. Season with salt and pepper.

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