How to caramelise onions  

February 27, 2024
caramelised onions in burger

Caramelised onions are beloved for their irresistible taste, combining a subtle sweetness with savoury depth. Whether topping burgers, pizzas, or adding depth to soups and sauces, their complex flavour adds warmth and sophistication to any dish, earning them a cherished place in food traditions worldwide. 

Always wanted to learn how to cook the perfect caramelised onions?  

 Our step-by-step recipe on how to prepare caramelised onions will guarantee that you will become an expert in no time – the key is patience.  

 What you will need:  

  • Onions (red or brown) 
  • Heavy-bottomed pan 
  • Butter 
  • Oil  
  • Salt  

How to caramelise onions: 

Choose the Right Onions:  

Use sweet onions for the best caramelisation results. Brown or red onions should work perfectly fine.  

Slice the Onions Thinly:  

Thin slices ensure even cooking and faster caramelisation.  

Use the Right Pan: 

Choose a wide, heavy-bottomed pan. The wide surface area allows for better evaporation.  

Heat the Pan:  

Preheat the pan over medium heat. Adding onions to a hot pan helps start the caramelisation process quickly.  

Add Fat: 

 Use a combination of butter and oil to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan. About 1-2 tablespoons of fat per onion should be sufficient. 

Add Onions Gradually:  

Avoid crowding the pan. Add the sliced onions in batches if necessary, allowing them space to cook evenly. 

Stir Regularly: 

Stir the onions frequently to ensure even cooking and prevent them from sticking or burning. (This also helps in releasing moisture.)  

Control Heat: 

Adjust the heat as needed. Start with medium heat and reduce to medium-low as the onions begin to brown. Lower heat prevents burning and allows for a slower, more thorough caramelisation. 

Be Patient: 

 Caramelising onions takes time, usually around 20 minutes. Rushing the process may result in uneven caramelisation or burning.  

Add a Pinch of Salt: 

 Adding a small amount of salt to the onions can help draw out moisture, aiding in the caramelisation process.  

Deglaze (Optional):  

If you notice the onions sticking to the pan, you can deglaze them with a splash of liquid such as balsamic vinegar, wine, or broth. This adds extra flavour.  

Adjust Seasoning:  

Taste the onions and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add a pinch of sugar if you want to enhance the sweetness. 

ALSO SEE: Slow roasted oxtail with caramelised red onion

Slow roasted oxtail with caramelised red onion

Feature image: Pexels

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