How to Caramelize Onions

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by Lerrina Collins

What can turn a spicy, smelly vegetable into a sweet, flavor-enhanced delight? Caramelizing! At least when it comes to onions. While some people enjoy onions any way they can get them, most have learned cooking, particularly grilling or sauteing, changes the onion's chemical makeup, diminishing its strong flavor and even adding a hint of sweetness.

Caramelized onions make a great addition to many recipes. They can be served on pizza, used as the base for onion soup, added to sandwiches, served alongside turkey or chicken entrees, or placed on top of your favorite steak. Caramelizing onions is a straight-forward process. However, because the onions are cooked over high heat, attention to detail is important if you are to avoid a burnt result.

The Ingredients

Thinly sliced onions (most recipes call for three or four large onions) -most prefer yellow or white onions

Some kind of fat (a mild flavored oil or butter are commonly used)

A large skillet

The Process

Heat your fat over medium-high to high heat. Use a small amount of fat, just enough to cover the bottom when heated through. If you are using oil, it is ready when the surface ripples. If you are using butter, it is ready when the foaming subsides. Add your onions and stir to coat them with the fat. Continue cooking and stirring over medium-high to high heat.