A Simple Guide To Caramelizing Onions

By Luka E

What you’ll need:

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Trim the tip and root from all your onions, then slice them in half from root to stem and remove the skin. Thinly slice each half in the same direction. 
  2. In a large pan, heat your butter or olive oil on medium heat. 
  3. Add your onions to the pan and gently stir them so that all of it gets coated by the oil. 
  4. Continue to cook on medium heat, checking and stirring every 5 minutes. Scrape the residue forming on the bottom of the pan. While the exact timing will depend on which onions you’re using and how many, this is a basic guide: 
    1. 10 minutes – Onions are turning soft and translucent, releasing a lot of liquid into the pan.
    2. 20 Minutes – Onions will be breaking down and there will be the smell of caramelization. Some fond may be building up. Adjust the temperature if they seem to be burning or cooking too quickly.
    3. 30 Minutes – Should be blonde in colour and become jammy. 
    4. 40 minutes – Onions are a golden color and starting to caramelize. You can stop cooking them when you are happy with the taste. 
  5. Deglaze the pan by pouring the wine or any other alternatives into the pan and scrape the bottom, mixing the fond into the onions. If you would like to, add diluted bicarb (¼ tsp bicarb to 1tbs water) to the onions and stir constantly until the water has evaporated.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

And there you have it! This is an easy recipe to make for any occasion.