The Best Way To Peel Pearl Onions And Save Yourself Some Effort

Adding pearl onions to stews and soups is one simple way to incorporate a burst of delightful flavor into your dishes, so they're great to have on hand in the pantry. However, the process of peeling these tiny alliums can be painstaking and downright frustrating. The solution? Blanching them first.

Pearl onions are not like your regular onions. They have a subtle but sweet taste (thanks to being harvested while still small and young), thus they add a delicious flavor without overpowering your other ingredients. You can prepare them in different ways, from sauteing or glazing to roasting or pickling. Moreover, they're tiny, therefore, you can use them whole to make your braises, gratins, and stews more visually appealing.

But their miniature size is one of the reasons they're such a pain to peel — for you to make a tasty meal, you'll need quite a few of them, forcing you to spend more time individually removing those papery skins. Secondly, pearl onions require effort to peel because they have a more securely attached skin than other types of onions. This is where the blanching method comes to the rescue.

The blanching method explained

Before you begin, gather all the required kitchen equipment: a stock pot or a saucepan, a chopping board, a paring knife, a large mesh sieve, and a large bowl. Once you have your onions and tools ready, use high heat to boil water in the pot. In the meantime, prepare an ice bath by putting several handfuls of ice cubes in the large bowl and filling it with water.

The goal is to loosen the skins, so go ahead and dip the onions into the boiling water ensuring they are all submerged. Let them boil for about two minutes, then use the sieve to drain them. The next step is to shock the onions in the ice water bath to stop the cooking process. This will also cool them to prevent you from getting burnt when peeling. Only keep the onions in the cold water for about five minutes. After that, remove them and use a paring knife to cut off their roots. The final step is simply squeezing the stems and popping the onions out of their skins. Follow this guide and you'll be surprised at how fast you can peel your next batch of pearl onions.