How to Caramelize Onions: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this guide to make rich, sweet caramelized onions, then watch our how-to video.
How to Caramelize Onions: A Step-By-Step Guide

Caramelized onions are one of those magical ingredients that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Step 1: Sliced Onions
Start with sliced onions and olive oil in a sauté pan on medium-high heat. You want a big pan so the onions have room to do their thing. And make sure you have plenty of sliced onions. They're going to shrink down significantly when caramelized.

Step 2: Add Salt
Hit them with some salt. This will draw out the moisture. As they cook, they'll first get soft, then juicy. Then, this concentrates and they begin to brown, or caramelize, making them sweet and delicious. It will take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 3: Stir and Shake
Stir occasionally and enjoy the process. Give the pan a shake every once in a while.

Step 4: Add Water
Feel free to add some water to help release those caramel-colored bits of goodness on the bottom of the pan. Keep going until the onions are tender and a deep golden brown.

Step 5: Add Extra Flavor
If you want to be fancy, add some wine or liquor for extra flavor. Madeira wine or brandy goes well with onions. Always taste what you cook and add some seasoning if needed. Tip: Caramelized onions are great on burgers and steaks, as well as in salads and soups.

Step 6: You're Finished
Following these simple steps will give you an awesome onion garnish that makes everything taste better.

How to Caramelize Onions 01:05

Sweet, golden-brown caramelized onions take just a few simple steps.

Next Up

How to Braise Meats: A Step-by-Step Guide

Braise meat like a pro with these simple steps. Then watch our how-to video for more.

How to Use a Pressure Cooker

Make quick and easy meals using a pressure cooker.

How to Slice, Dice and Mince Onions: A Step-by-Step Guide

There's no need to cry over cutting up onions — these simple steps from Food Network will help you slice, dice and mince onions more quickly and evenly.

Speed Up Caramelized Onions

Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford: Caramelizing onions can take a while, but adding a big pinch of sugar will make them brown faster.

Mix Up Your Onions

Hot tips from Food Network Kitchens' Katherine Alford: Keep red onions on hand: They're milder than yellow or white ones, so you can eat them raw.

How to Freeze Onions and Garlic

Keep them for even longer with these tips.

How to Store Onions

Keep them fresh for over a month with these simple storage tips.

The Basics of Steaming: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these techniques to make simple and healthy dishes, then watch our how-to video.

How to Cook Rice: A Step-by-Step Guide

Get perfect rice every time with these instructions for the classic method, the pasta method, the pilaf method and more.

How to Hard-Boil and Soft-Cook Eggs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Following a few simple steps ensures that you'll make perfect eggs every time.
More from:

Potluck Parties

Latest Stories