Monday, January 17, 2011

Caramelized Onions

We tend to eat a lot of onions. They seem to go with everything and I just love their flavor and versatility. My favorite are caramelized onions. It's amazing how a vegetable that causes you to cry while slicing it can transform into something sweet and sticky, just by giving it some time (and a little olive oil and butter). Yes, I did use a little butter in this recipe, but if you're opposed, just go with straight olive oil. The key to a great caramelized onion is patience. I actually made these early in the day and refrigerated them for later. You can make them several days in advance when you are going to be around the house for a couple of hours. They don't take a lot of effort, just a lot of time. But believe me, it's time well spent. I was inspired to make these by my neighbor, Nicole, who has a great cooking blog, with amazing photos of the caramelizing process. I cut a few things out of her recipe to make them paleo-friendly, and  I can't imagine them tasting any better. Yum! When you make these, you'll have enough for two meals: pork tenderloin with caramelized onions and burgers with butternut squash and caramelized onions.

Adapted from

Makes about 2 cups.

2 1/2 lbs yellow or red onions (I used yellow.)
2 Tbsp grass-fed butter (if you can't find, use unsalted organic or just go with all olive oil)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1/4 cup water

Cut each onion in half, with the grain,
then lay flat and thinly slice with the grain.
  1. Peel onions and remove both ends. Cut in half, with the grain. Following the grain of the onion, slice in thin slices. Repeat until all onions are sliced.
  2. In a large skillet or saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add olive oil and rotate pan to cover bottom with oil/butter mixture.
  3. Add onions and stir carefully for 10 minutes. The pan will be very full. Season with salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
    NOTE: I had to run out during my caramelizing process so I just turned off the burner and let the onions sit, covered, for about an hour. No harm done! I just picked right up where I left off and they turned out great.
  4. Increase the heat to medium high and continue to cook, stirring more frequently, for about 30 minutes or until the onions have browned and caramelized.
  5. Add water to the pan and deglaze by scraping up any browned bits. Continue to cook over low heat until most of the moisture is cooked off.
    NOTE: Caramelized onions can be stored in refrigerator for several days in an airtight container.


  1. Pam - I remember several yrs ago making these in a crock pot - you may want to try it - I remember making them and wishing I had increasaed the amounts!!

    1. I'll have to look into that, Anon. I've never heard of caramelizing that way, but I DO love using my crock pot! Thanks for the suggestion!