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How to Caramelize Onions

Don’t you just love caramelized onions? As the term implies, they’re sweet like candy from being cooked until their natural sugar browns.

They’re a wonderful way to add savory sweetness to burgers, patty melts, focaccia, pizza and French onion soup.

Learning how to caramelize onions will take your cooking to the next level!

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What is the Best Onion to Caramelize?

Yellow onions are used most often, because they caramelize more quickly, turning soft and golden brown.

But any onion will caramelize. Red onions are usually the choice for salads.

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How to Caramelize Onions on the Stove

Start with sliced onions. Add them to a skillet or Dutch oven with some butter or oil over medium-high heat.

A little chef’s secret is to add a pinch of sugar to the onions once they are in the pan. The sugar helps kickstart the caramelization process.

Cook the onions until they begin to turn translucent, then turn down the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook until the onions brown and caramelize.

The proper way to caramelize onions is to cook them on low heat with a bit of butter for a long time (at least 30 minutes, but usually up to an hour). If you hear them begin to sizzle, then turn the heat down!

Check on the onions every 5 or 10 minutes, giving them a stir and scraping along the bottom of the pan.

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How to Caramelize Onions Quickly

If you need caramelized onions quickly, you can use just one large onion. Use the stove method for 30 minutes.

How Long Does it Take to Caramelize Onions?

It will take about an hour to caramelize 3-4 onions. One or two onions will take less time.

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Storing Caramelized Onions

Store caramelized onions in the refrigerator for up to a week. You also can freeze them.

It helps to freeze small portions that you can use as needed. Place some in sandwich bags, then put those little baggies inside a freezer bag.