Foolproof Caramelized Onions Recipe

Onions are an incredibly versatile food; even when raw, they're pretty delicious all on their own. When you cook onions, however, you open up a whole world of possibilities. And when you caramelize them, well, it truly doesn't get much more decadent or delicious. Sometimes it can be a struggle to caramelize onions — mostly a struggle of patience, really — but with recipe developer Miriam Hahn's foolproof caramelized onions recipe, you can say goodbye to any cooking frustrations. "I love all kinds of sauces and toppers, and this recipe for caramelized onions is one of my favorite toppers because it helps jazz up something that otherwise can be kind of boring," Hahn says. She also notes that you can easily make a big batch of these onions and freeze them for later use.

As for how to use caramelized onions, Hahn will be the first to tell you that the possibilities are endless. "I love using them as a topper on veggie burgers or regular burgers," she suggests. "They are great on grilled paninis, my favorite being a grilled veggie panini." She also suggests enjoying them on bruschetta, as a topping for pizza — clearly, there's no shortage of use for these onions. And, if you're a fan of French onion soup, you can use this recipe as a starting point!

Gather the ingredients for foolproof caramelized onions

It doesn't take much to caramelize some onions — you'll need onions, of course, and Hahn uses yellow or sweet ones. Additionally, you'll need avocado oil, salt, and a little bit of vegetable broth, and that latter ingredient happens to be Hahn's secret weapon in this foolproof recipe. "I like to start out the cooking process at a little higher heat, and adding broth helps prevent burning the onions while also adding some flavor," she explains. "At any point if the pan feels dry, you can keep adding in some broth. This is a much healthier way over adding oil."

Start by slicing the onions

As a first step, you may have to prepare to get a little bit teary-eyed, because you'll be slicing up all six onions. Start by peeling them, then halve them. Finally, cut each onion half into slices. Keep in mind that the slices will shrink down considerably as they caramelize, so we want them thin — but not too thin. 

Patience is the name of the game

It's no secret that onions take a while to caramelize, but the results are oh-so worth it. Into a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the avocado oil. Add the onions and stir to coat them in the oil, then add salt and stir again. Cook the onions for 8 minutes, adding the vegetable broth if the pan starts to dry out. After 8 minutes, lower the heat to medium-low, set a timer for 45 minutes, and do be sure to stir every few minutes. "When making these, you have to go in knowing it will take some time ... once you lower the heat after the initial medium-high cooking, this recipe requires some hand-holding as you really do need to keep stirring every few minutes," Hahn advises. She notes that the onions will burn if you try to rush and cook them faster at a high heat — patience is the name of the game here!

After the 45 minutes are up, the onions should be a beautiful golden brown color. If they aren't quite browned yet, cook them a few minutes more, and do add more broth if the pan dries out again. Once they reach that perfect golden color, go ahead and remove the pan from the heat. 

Upgrade a burger with these caramelized onions

Once your onions are perfectly caramelized, you can serve them up as desired. Hahn likes to serve hers with veggie burgers, but there really is no limit to how you can use these onions. You may even sneak a forkful straight from the pan — the rich, subtly sweet flavors are really that good. As Hahn mentioned, you can easily make a big batch of these onions and freeze them. Simply reheat them when you're ready to enjoy, and voila! You have caramelized onions once again, minus the waiting time. 

Foolproof Caramelized Onions Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
Caramelized onions are a labor of love, requiring time to develop that sweet depth. A few handy tricks can act as a safety net throughout the process.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of caramelized onions
Total time: 1 hour, 3 minutes
  • 6 medium yellow or sweet onions
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons broth, plus more as needed
  1. Peel the onions, halve them, and cut into thin slices.
  2. Add the oil to a large frying pan set over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onion and stir to coat in the oil. Add the salt and stir again.
  4. Cook on medium-high for 8 minutes. Once the pan starts to dry out, add the broth and stir.
  5. Lower heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add more broth if the pan is dried out.
  6. After 45 minutes, the onions should be a deep golden brown. Keep cooking and stirring if they aren't quite there yet.
  7. Remove from heat and serve as desired.
Calories per Serving 95
Total Fat 1.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Total Sugars 12.5 g
Sodium 311.1 mg
Protein 2.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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