Caramelizing Onions Article -
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Caramelizing Onions

Browned Sugars

Redolent and deeply flavorful, caramelized onions are great for garnishing soup, meat, fish and egg dishes, and for topping sandwiches and adorning appetizer platters.

Break It Down

Caramelizing onions breaks down their sugars: softening, searing and slowly transforming them into an aromatic, nutty brown treat. Sweeter varieties of onion, like Walla Walla and Vidalia, caramelize more quickly than others.

Getting Started

Cut onions into crescent-shaped slices. Heat a small amount of oil or butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the fat shimmers, stir in the onions until coated with oil. Add a pinch of salt, then stir periodically, allowing the onions to darken.

Finishing Up

It's okay if the onions stick to the skillet somewhat. But if you think they're sticking too much, add a small amount of water, then stir vigorously, deglazing the skillet until the onions have reached the desired color, flavor, and texture.

See a step-by-step article: How to Caramelize Onions.  


Dec. 19, 2009 3:48 am
An easier way that also has the advantage of not diluting the flavor is to 'SWEAT' the onions. Cut/chop an onion into pieces/slices, throw that into a skillet or heavy bottom saucepan. Toss with JUST enough oil to coat and a little salt. The salt will "sweat" out the water in the onions. Put a lid on, turn on the burner to the lowest possible setting, and come back in 20 minutes to stir the onions. They are ready to use, but you can cook them longer, stirring occassionally, depending on how brown you want them. Using this "sweating" method, you will NOT have to dilute the flavor by adding any water. I learned this trick from my ex-boyfriend who is a culinary arts teacher & excellent cook! Try it!!
Mar. 19, 2010 3:54 pm
Thanks, your method is perfect. I'm "sweating" my onions from now on. We already do mushrooms in a similar fashion
Jun. 14, 2010 3:36 pm
I'll try it!
Aug. 7, 2010 7:27 am
WE can also do by adding little sugar in the end. first sweat the onion on high flame and slow down and add sugar and stir well and cook till desired colour comes.
Apr. 18, 2011 10:12 am
Thanks! I already use this "sweating" method on (mainly) frozen vegetables, ignoring the instructions on the packaging. I also use it for mushrooms etc.
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