How to Caramelize an Onion in 15 Minutes

A while back, I saw an article at Slate.com about how food writers lie and say that caramelizing an onion should only take 5 to 10 minutes, where in actuality it takes 30, 40 or 50 minutes. The writer tries several different techniques, and gets something inedible after 10 minutes each time. He concludes that it can’t be done.

But I’ve been caramelizing onions a long time. It used to take me 40 or so minutes, but then I learned a little trick. I hadn’t timed it, but I figured that it takes about 10 minutes.

Well, today I made a video.

Turns out, it takes more like 15 minutes, but that’s still much faster than 40. You could let this go a few minutes longer to get them darker, but this is how I like ’em- delicious!

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Who needs Fifty Shades of Grey when you can have 50 shades of brown?

How to Caramelize an Onion in 15 Minutes

  • 2 sweet onions
  • 1.5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Slice the onions into half moons.
  2. Heat the oil over medium high heat. When heated, add onions to pan and stir to coat with oil.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, stir to coat again. When everything is coated, turn don the heat to medium/medium-low.
  4. Stir once every minute or so, while onions sweat.
  5. When the “sweat” moisture dries up, stir once every 30 seconds, to keep from burning.
  6. Keep this up until the onions turn a caramel color- this should be about 15 minutes from when you added the onions to the pan.
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They should look like this when done, minus the pink reflection.

There you have it! Caramelized, delicious onion in about 15 minutes!

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2 Responses to How to Caramelize an Onion in 15 Minutes

  1. Allison says:

    Great video! I just found your blog through Vegan MoFo’s blog roll, and now I have a major craving for caramelized onions! I made them a few weeks ago, and I happened to salt early on but had no idea that I was helping myself out time-wise by doing so. 🙂 Look forward to checking out more entries.

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