How to Caramelize Onions? In Pan, Oven And Quick

How to Caramelize Onions

How to caramelize onions? Onions are seasonings of many dishes. Baked, fried, raw or caramelizing onions, onions give them their own unique taste and are therefore often used in dishes. How to caramelize onions is discussed in this blog.

Cut the onions into coarse pieces. Put a little oil in the pan over medium heat. Fry the onions in this and stir regularly so that it does not stick. After about 30 minutes they are ready and caramelized.

The many ways in which we can prepare onions also means that they are eaten a lot. Do you want to know which onions we all eat in the Netherlands? Then read our blog ‘ The List With Onion Varieties’ and you will be informed immediately. You can read everything about storing onions in our blog ‘ How to store onions? ‘.

We now move on to caramelizing onions.

How to Caramelize Onions?

For caramelizing you will see various ingredients such as vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sugar and caster sugar. You can ‘play’ with these ingredients. You can just follow the recipe and add these ingredients or you can omit them. They give your onions a slightly different taste and you have to love them! You only need two ingredients for caramelizing; oil and onion. And cooking is trying and experimenting, so good luck!

Onions Fruits

Frying onions is also called making onions sweat or making onions glassy. For this we take chopped onion or onion rings and the frying goes as follows:

  1. Place a pan with a little oil on the heat source and heat the pan on a medium-high setting.
  2. Then add the onions to the pan and stir them around.
  3. Let the onion stand for a while and then stir. Repeat this process after a few minutes.
  4. Bake the onions for 10 minutes until they become translucent, it is also called translucent. Then the onions are cooked and can be used in your other dishes.

This is the frying of onion. This is done to enhance the taste and aromas. These come off when the onion is heated. The advantage is that you need to add less salt to your dish, because the onion already gives a lot of flavor. You can also do this with garlic.

Caramelize onions

Caramelizing onion is a completely different process. Not difficult but it does take a long time. During the caramelization process, the sugars in the onion are converted into caramel. The onion contains quite a lot of sugars. We let these sugars ‘release’ by frying the onions for a long time over medium heat. The time you need for this is about 40 minutes.

We often fry the onions when they are chopped, when caramelizing the onion we usually do this with larger pieces of onion or onion rings.

What are you going to do?

  1. Take about 4 – 5 onions or about 8 small onions.
  2. Roughly chop the onion or slice it into rings.
  3. Put a little oil in a frying pan and place the pan on the heat source on a medium heat. Heat the pan well.
  4. Add the onions to the pan and stir them briefly.
  5. Now it’s just a matter of time and stick with it. It takes about 30 minutes.

Due to the long time that the onions are in the pan and the relatively low temperature, the sugars are converted into caramel. This is a slow process and you will need to toss the onions every now and then. If you don’t do this, the onions may burn and you can stop the process right away. This also prevents them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When you remove the onions from the pan after 30 minutes, they will be slightly caramelized. Bake them for 40 minutes and they will be more caramelized and have a delicious sweet taste. The hard and sharp taste of the onion is completely gone. They are soft and sweet.

As you can probably see, the onions have shrunk enormously. It decreases in volume when you caramelize onions.

Now you can process the onions in your dish. Whatever you use them for, your dish will only get more flavor. You can give them even more flavor by adding a little salt and pepper, but this is not really necessary.

This is the basis of caramelizing onions. Other ways of caramelizing are discussed below.

Caramelize Onions Fast

You can quickly caramelize onions if you’re short on time and still want to caramelize them. You need the following ingredients:

  • 2 red onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Splash of white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

We prepare as follows:

  1. Cut the onions into rings or coarsely.
  2. Place the pan on the heat source, set to medium high and add the oil.
  3. Then put the onions in the pan and fry it for 3 minutes and give it a little salt.
  4. Then add the caster sugar and white wine vinegar to the pan. Stir everything well and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Stir every now and then. After 10 minutes they are ready.

The taste is slightly different, because the onions are not completely caramelized. Most caramel comes from the caster sugar.

Caramelize Red Onion

Caramelizing red onion is no different than caramelizing the regular onion. The red onion also contains sugars that ‘release’ and caramelize over a medium heat. To give you some inspiration, here is a recipe for caramelizing red onions.

caramelize onions
  • 400 grams red onions, peeled or in rings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar (optional, but recommended if you add vinegar)

We caramelize these onions as follows:

  1. Place the pan with oil on the heat source on a medium heat and heat the pan.
  2. Then put the red onions in the pan and fry them for 3 minutes. Then add the sugar and mix everything well.
  3. Also add the balsamic vinegar, stir well and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure they don’t burn. Especially in the end.

Now you have delicious caramelized red onions. You can also caramelize red onions well in the oven.

Caramelize Onions In Oven

You can also caramelize (red) onions in the oven. Of course it’s different, but it’s oh so delicious. The ingredients you need are still the same:

caramelize onions
  • 4 (red) onions, peeled and halved
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Prepare as follows:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.
  2. Peel the onions and halve the onions.
  3. Place the onions in a greased baking dish, cut side up.
  4. Loosen the onions a little, pull them open so that the oil can immediately run into the onion.
  5. Mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and agave syrup well together.
  6. Brush the cut sides of the onions with the balsamic mixture.
  7. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the thyme over it. Fresh thyme is of course also allowed.

These are delicious caramelized onions from the oven. Enjoy your meal.

So, now you know everything, well, a lot about caramelizing onions. Choose your method, try, experiment and make caramelized onion according to your own recipe. Good luck!

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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