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How To Make Caramelized Onions, Simply and Perfectly Every Time

The first few times I tried to make caramelized onions I failed. The fact was, the traditional method that I learned from many trusted sources required a little more attention than my busy mom brain and hands could handle. I finally decided to break with tradition and followed my gut. With a simple but significant tweak to the technique, I suddenly became a caramelized onion master! Making caramelized onions used to stress me out but now it’s no big deal! Read on to find out how to make caramelized onions with less effort but still end up with the same, delicious result!

  • How To Caramelize Onions 1 of 10
    caramelized onions how-to

    A busy mom's technique for caramelizing onions that results in less stress and just as much DELISH!

  • Prepare the Onion 2 of 10
    how to caramelize onions cut onion web

    Cut off the ends of your onion, then chop onion in half, so the cut goes through the ends of the onion. Remove outer, papery layer. 

    One average-sized raw onion yields approximately 1/4 cup of caramelized onions. Plan accordingly for your needs.

  • Thinly Slice Onion 3 of 10
    how to caramelize onions slice onions web

    Lay onion halves flat on your surface then slice very thinly, starting the slices on one of the cut ends.

  • Choose and Heat Pan 4 of 10
    how to caramelize onions heat pan

    Depending on how many onions you are cooking, choose a non-stick pan with a lid that will allow you to spread the onions evenly over the surface of the pan, so that most but not necessarily all of onions will come into contact with the pan directly. Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.

  • Add Onions to Pan 5 of 10
    how to caramelize onions add onions

    Once oil has warmed and pan is heated, add onions to the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle an even layer of white sugar over the surface of the onions, then stir to coat. It doesn't have to be a lot of sugar, just a few pinches that allow you to sprinkle the sugar over the entire pan of onions. Sugar is optional but I like the results better when I use it.

  • Cook Onions Over Medium Heat Until Soft 6 of 10
    how to caramelize onions initial cook web

    Cook onions over medium heat until they are soft and translucent.

  • Reduce Heat and Cover 7 of 10
    how to caramelize onions cover web

    Reduce heat to medium low and COVER THE PAN. This is my secret trick! None of the traditional sources that taught me to caramelize onions used a lid. Without the lid, you have to tend to the onions throughout the entire cooking time, and they are more likely to burn and stick to the pan. The lid allows enough moisture to stay in the pan so burning is minimized, but the onions still brown very nicely. Using the lid changed my life!

  • Cook ‘Em Low and Slow 8 of 10
    how to caramelize onions slow and low web

    Cook the onions covered over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes, allowing the water from the lid to drip back into the pan when you lift it to stir. I set a timer for 5 minutes every time I stir so I don't forget about them, but can still go do other things. (Seriously, don't forget to set the timer!) As the onions get closer to being done, you may want to stir every 2-3 minutes. Just keep an eye on things.

    If the pan and onions start to get a little dry, add a teaspoon or two of additional oil. If you use the lid, I doubt you will need to do this.

  • Behold Your Perfectly Caramelized Onions! 9 of 10
    caramelized onions

    You will know the onions are done when they are all a nice, dark brown color. Come to mama, delicious, sweet, caramelized onions!

  • Eat! 10 of 10
    caramelized onion pizza with honey goat cheese

Read more from Jane at This Week for DinnerKitchen Tunage and The Spoiler Alert. For more updates, follow Jane on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest!

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