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caramelized onions in a ramekin

Caramelized Onions

An easy way to caramelize onions and take them to a whole new level.
Cuisine American
Keyword caramelized onions, onions
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Author Laura


  • 1 pound onions Thinly sliced works best, but chopped is OK too. One-pound equals about 2-3 medium-large onions.
  • 2 tablespoons fat (oil Butter, olive oil, or a combination - or other fat such as bacon drippings)
  • 2 tablespoons water Alternatively, use wine, juice or vinegar (I like light vinegar such as apple cider or unseasoned rice wine vinegar but balsamic works too)


  1. Toss the onions in the fat (melted, if the fat is solid at room temperature.)

  2. Cook the onions in a heavy pan over a low heat for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.

  3. Remove the onions when done, then add the liquid to the pan. Scrape up the browned bits and liquid and add them into the cooked onions. Use salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes

Cast iron pans are an excellent choice for caramelizing onions because they retain the heat while minimizing burning. Heavy gauge stainless steel also works fine. Avoid light pans, which may not prevent burning and those with no-stick coating, which inhibit browning and caramelization.

Onions sizes can be tricky. I prefer to weigh my onions. One-pound of onions, sliced and cooked down ends up to be about 3/4 cup of caramelized onions.