How to Caramelized Onions

Many recipes call for caramelized onions. Their unique texture and taste make them able to transform countless dishes into mouth watering experiences. The following tips will help you master the technique.
  • Peel and slice the onions into half rings. The thinner the slices the faster they will cook.
  • Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Add oil (about 2 tablespoons per onion) and continue to heat to a medium-high temperature. You can use butter, but it tends to burn more easily.
  • When the oil begins to ripple it’s time to add the onions. They should sizzle when they get in contact with the oil. An even sizzling sound indicates they are cooking and creating a natural barrier to prevent sticking.
  • Stir the onions until they are coated with the oil. Let them cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently to allow the onion pieces brown as evenly as possible. Cooking the onions at a relatively low temperature (sweating) ensures your onions will be soft and caramelized all the way through, and not just on the outside.
  • Adding a pinch of salt will speed up the caramelizing process. The salt helps to draw water and dissolve sugars out of the onion cells.
  • After a few minutes the onions will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan and turn dark in color. Continue cooking and stirring until the onions are soft and anywhere from honey-colored to deep brown, depending on your preferences.
  • If you feel the onions are sticking to the surface too much, deglaze the pan using a small amount of broth or wine. All the onions should be completely browned before deglazing. Continue the cooking-deglazing process until the onions have reached the desired level of caramelization.
  • Once caramelized, they can be frozen in an airtight container up to three months. To remove onion smell from hands, wash with soap and then rub hands against a chrome faucet.