How To Carmelize Onions

If you love cooking as much as I do, I am pretty sure at some point of time, you must have been enthused by the flavor of Carmelized Onions, be it as a topping on your Pizza, or a garnish on your Pasta or Salad, and I've received several requests to post about how to make them at home. The first thing you notice about these Onions is that they are "Golden-Brown". But the more important fact is how they smell and taste; unlike regularly sauteed onions, Carmelized Onions have a unique flavor, fragrance and texture, which is brought upon by the chemical reactions between sugar, water content in the onions, and of course, the heat in your skillet. Here's a scientific explanation for carmelized onions, if you are interested, but for home cooks like me just looking for a simple tutorial on How to Carmelize Onions at home, just hop ahead and read on! [Image courtesy: Fine Cooking]

Making Caramelized Onions at home is not as difficult a job; the key is to cook them on medium-low heat, a process which is called Sweating, and which allows all the water to release into the pan and then evaporate slowly. ensuring that your onions will be soft and caramelized all the way through. Here's what you need, in addition to patience, and some spare time on your hand (not when the kids are cranky for dinner!!)

1/2 cup clarified butter or olive oil
2 cups of onions of your choice(white, yellow, or red) - chopped thin
2 tsp granulated sugar
Hot water as needed
Salt & Pepper - to taste

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar as soon as the onions have been coated with butter.

Continue cooking until the onions are deep brown and candied, and look browned & crisper from the edges; this can take up to 35-45 minutes. Add an occasional tablespoon of hot water if the pan becomes too dry, or if you see that the onions are sticking to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper to overcome the sugar, and also to help preserve their sheen or gloss.

Now you can use them in any recipe that calls for Caramelized Onions. Remember, the trick is in the right amount of sugar, and using medium-low flame, and slowly letting the onions get cooked; patience is the key, so hurrying will not help you get those burnt edges that are so typical for caramelized onions.

Note: The more the quantity, the longer it will take to caramelize your onions! Also, the sugar helps to accelerate the browning process, but you can skip it or lower the quantity if using red onions, as they have more water content than their white counterparts.

Related Recipes
How to Make basic Onion Sauce
How to Cut a Pineapple
How to make Pie Crust at Home

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Pavani said...

Never tried making caramelized onions 'cos I was under the impression that it takes forever and only Gourmet chefs can make it. Thanks for sharing the recipe, will give it a try.

Poornima Nair said...

I love caramelized onions...thanks for sharing this.

Parita said...

Thanks for sharing, i was looking for this recipe from a long time and you have explained in grt detail

Preeti Singh said...

Will now try Carmelize onion, after seeing your post..very nicely explained..thanks for sharing.

Kalai said...

So simple and yet it's the subtle nuances that are so important, right? Nice useful post, Mansi! :)

Indian Khana said...

I didn't knew sugar is also been used...nice info and recipe..

Snooky doodle said...

I love caramelised onions. their taste is so unique. thanks for the instructions I ll surely try these :)

Unknown said...

I like caramelized onion nice post and very helpful.

Suparna said...

hi mansi,
First time here, hope to frequent u henceforth :)Ur blog has wonderful recipes and some basic stuffs good for me;)

Wonderful write and beautifully explained process, it looks like it'll take a couple of trial and errors to get the perfect caramalized onions, thanks for sharing the recipe. I'll try it sometime.

amna said...

i had been planning a post on this ever since i learnt how to do it from my mom last month :)

Anonymous said...

The only way to eat onions in my opinion. Great info.

Dragon said...

Almost nothing better than carmelized onions. :)

Kana said...

This is will be great in a tart!

Anonymous said...

yeah! Normally we use onion's almost for all food items..... Especially when we come to caramelized onions it is so tasty... and nice...

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Kerstin said...

I love caramelized onions - thanks for all the tips!

I will email you my pics for SHF tonight - thanks so much for letting me know about it!! :)

Kalai said...

Hey, Mansi. Just wanted to confirm that you got my entry for SHF. Thanks! :)

Rumela said...

These carmelized onions looks truly succulent. I would love to have some of these. Thanks for the recipe. I an going to try it next weekend. thank you for shearing your post.