Out of the Frying Pan: Tricks for Caramelizing Onions

Whether added on top of a hefty burger or into french onion soup, caramelized onions can be a real treat. Though caramelized onions seem simple enough, things can go south real fast if you don’t take the proper precautions. If prepared correctly, caramelized onions bring a lingering savory flavor that your customers won’t soon forget. Check out some of our favorite tricks on how to bring caramelized onions out of the frying pan and onto someone’s plate.

  • Before you reach for the pan, it’s important to select the proper type of onion. While you can cook with any type of onion, yellow onions are the best option because they’ll give you the richest finished product. Additionally, avoid using red onions because they can gain an unpleasing green hue when caramelized. 
  • When preparing your onions, don’t cut them too thin because thinner slices are more likely to burn. Additionally, make sure to cook with a heavy-bottomed pan.
  • Instead of using solely butter in the pan, try a combination of butter and olive oil! The two work in tandem to help keep any onions from sticking and give them a richer flavor. Later on during the cooking process, be sure to deglaze the pan to add an even greater depth of flavor.
    • Pro Tip: Try pairing your deglazing liquid to your final dish! For example, you can use beer for a better burger!
  • Time is your greatest factor when caramelizing onions. Allow ample time in the pan to give your onions proper time to release their sugars. It’s important to maintain a low temperature too; rushing in with a blast of high heat can wreck the whole process. To start, we’d recommend cooking your onions at medium low for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your volume.