Learn how to cook onions on the stove with these easy to follow instructions! Bring out deep sweet and rich flavor by cooking the onions in the pan. Simple, no fuss method to caramelize onions!
Nothing is better than perfectly caramelized onions, if cooking perfect onions is what you set out to do! This post is less of a recipe but mostly instructions about techniques. Cooking onions correctly is so easy if you just know how. I will show you how to do it. You just need a good pan and patience!
What are caramelized onions
How caramelized onions differ from other cooked onions? The main difference is that we cook the onions for extended period of time, which allows them to release the natural sugar. This natural sugar is what browns and caramelizes onions to give them this distinct color and texture. And sweeter taste.
Sauteed onions take only a few minutes to cook and they still retain their sharp, onion flavor, while caramelized onions are cooked much longer and stay in contact with heat and butter (or oil) for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 depending on volume.
How to Cook Onions?
How many times have you stood at the stove cooking onions and crying? Way too many. You won’t believe how easy this can be despite all the onion tears:). Get it right first time and every time. Here’s the perfect way to cook onions until they are golden or brown.
- Chop your onions and set aside. I like to slice my onions on a thin side, but not too thin that they disappear into the skillet. Slicing them too thick is ok too, but will increase cooking time.
- First you will warm the skillet and add sliced onions. You should have plenty of room to stir the onions while they are cooking. Or, you can go in smaller batches.
- Stir and make sure the onions do not stick to the skillet! Total cooking time will be 20 to 30 minutes.
Tips to Better Browned Onions
- Make sure to heat the pan (and oil). In order to brown, rather than steam, the pan needs to be hot. Adding oil is optional but recommended for better browning.
- Add the sliced onions in portions to not overcrowd. And use a wooden spoon, a spatula, and stir. Let it brown for several minutes.
Storing Cooked Onions
These tips and techniques not only make for better sauteed onions, but they can also be used for ground lamb, turkey, or chicken. Caramelized onions can be used immediately, refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for three months.
The thing about cooking the onions, though, is that you probably will not need to store them. But if you do there’s an essential second move whenever you’re making caramelized onions: Freeze them.
Where to use caramelized onions
- Use it in the soup or a stew. This is perhaps the obvious choice, but French onion soup is a classic way to use caramelized onions.
- Use them on top of hamburger. You can go straight from browning meat to tossing in a cube of cooked onion. which will be packed with more flavor than the onion you’d spend 5 minutes cooking otherwise—to finishing that sauce.
- Use it as a topping. It’s your choice whether to use them in a salad, on pizza or on top of cooked meat!
Caramelized onions add such a rich sweetness to almost any dish, that I simply cannot get enough of them!
How to Cook Onions
- Wooden spatula
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Peel the onions, place them on cutting board, and cut in half.
- Cut the onions thinly. I like them to be sliced long and thin.
- Heat a stainless steel skillet on medium high heat, add butter. Once melted, add olive oil until the oil and butter are simmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.
- I recommend adding onions in batches to prevent overcrowding. Add salt.
- The way to achieve perfect caramelization is to leave onions alone enough to brown, but not so long so that they burn. After the first 5 minutes, I usually lower the stove temperature a little, and sometimes add more butter.
- I use wooden spatula to cook, scrape, and turn the onions, until the onions are a rich, browned color.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. This information comes from online calculators. Although whatsinthepan.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.