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Caramelized Onions

Richly sweet and buttery, caramelized onions are pure savory deliciousness and require only a few ingredients—yellow onions, low heat and a little patience.


Caramelized Onions in a pan

What Are Caramelized Onions?

While you’ve surely eaten them before—if you’ve had homemade onion dip, you’ve had caramelized onions—you may not be familiar with exactly what caramelized onions are. Caramelized onions are yellow onions that have been cooked slowly over low heat to—surprise surprise—caramelize the sugars in the onion. And what exactly do caramelized onions taste like? As the name suggests, they have a sweetness that’s totally unique—perfect caramelized onions are savory and rich and totally addictive.

onions in a pan
onions in a pan
onions in a pan starting to caramelize
onions in a pan starting to caramelize

What Kind of Onion Is Best to Caramelize?

You’ll want to load up on regular yellow onions for this one. Not only are they the most widely available onion in the U.S., their assertive sharpness is perfect for this caramelized onion recipe. But to be honest, any onion other type on onion will do.

How To Make Caramelized Onions:

Making caramelized onions is extremely simple. It does take time—this is definitely a “low-and-slow” recipe—but time is just about all that this easy caramelized onion recipe requires of you. They’re as easy as:

  1. Chopping onions. Slice the yellow onions into thin (but not so thin as to burn when they hit a warm pan) half-moons.
  2. Cooking said onions in a warm, butter-and-oil slicked pan for a full hour, stirring occasionally. This is admittedly pretty boring—in other words, it’s an excellent opportunity to catch up on that show you’ve been meaning to watch, or finally finish that book you’ve been reading.
  3. When the onions are deeply brown, jammy and meltingly soft, and their sweetly enticing smell is so powerful that you just can’t take it anymore, you’re done!
easy Caramelized Onions
Perfect Caramelized Onions starting to brown in a pan
finished Caramelized Onions in a pan

How Long Are Caramelized Onions Good For?

The good news is that, although they take some time to make, caramelized onions keep really well. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge, and they’ll be just as sweet, rich and delicious as the day you made them for at least a few days, and easily up to a week.

I Made Caramelized Onions—Now What?

Now, you feast! Caramelized onions can be used in just about a million ways to make anything and everything taste just a little better. Here are just a few ways we love to use caramelized onions:

  • Top our burgers with them! Melted cheddar and caramelized onions on top of a grilled burger? Yes, please.
  • Speaking of melted cheese, caramelized onions turn a grilled cheese into a meal fit for company—seriously! Just add a green salad and prepare yourself for rave reviews.
  • Will you allow for one more cheese-related suggestion? The best caramelized onion pairing just might be goat cheese. The grassy flavors of a really great slab of creamy chevré spread on a crusty piece of baguette topped with a heaping spoonful of caramelized onions? Do us a favor and try it, OK?
Perfect Caramelized Onions in a pan

Tools You’ll Need:

Onions are Superheroes:

The smell of onions cooking in a pan is the start of so many great recipes, and occasionally those very onions get to take the starring role in a main dish. We love when that happens, don’t you? If so, try your hand at:

close up of Perfect Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions in Everything.

We hope you make these caramelized onions, and that you love them, too! Snap a photo of the dish you put them in and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Caramelized Onions

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  45 min
  • Calories: 104


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions


  1. Slice the stems off your onions and slice down the center from the stem to the root. Take the peel off the onion halves and slice them thinly (into half circular shapes) about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium heat.
  3. Cook until golden and caramelized, stirring every once in a while, not too often. This will take between 45-60 minutes.

Recipe Notes-

  • If you like your caramelized onions on the slightly sweeter side, you can add 1/2 tsp of brown sugar to this recipe.
  • You will likely want to salt your caramelized onions. Do this to your own taste in the last 15 minutes or so of cooking by salting them a little at a time.
  • If your onions are browning too quickly, turn the heat to medium low and add water to deglaze the pan 1 tbsp at a time until they stop burning and start to caramelize again.
  • Store your leftover caramelized onions in the refrigerator for several days (up to a week) in an air-tight container.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories104
  • Protein1 g
  • Carbohydrates8 g
  • Total Fat8 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol10 mg
  • sodium3 mg
  • Total Sugars5 g

Caramelized Onions

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jenn

    I can finally caramelize onions! Thanks for this recipe! I never realized I should be using olive oil and butter together. Absolutely delicious! Served them on burgers!

    You're so welcome, so glad you enjoyed them!