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Caramelized onion recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Slow cooked onions are sweet

Slowly cooked over lower heat, the sugars inherent in onions are released, making onions a flavorful and complementary topping for soups and garnish on a sandwich or steak. Caramelized onions are also surreal when slowly cooked into a sweet marmalade. Spend some time to caramelize onions and enjoy the sweet reward. Here are some cooking tips to caramelize onions and three tasty recipes featuring their superlative flavor.

Slow cooked onions are sweetCooking tips on caramelizing onions


Cooking tip #1: Choose the right onions

Technically, any onion can be used, but you want to pick ones that are naturally less sweet. Standard yellow or brown onions are the best kinds to use, even better than "sweet onions" which can become bland after cooking. Sweet onions should be saved for raw eating.

Cooking tip #2: Slice

To get your onions ready for cooking, you want to slice the top and bottoms off and peel and slice them. You can decide which thickness you want. The thinner slices will cook quicker and become more jam-like than thicker slices.

Cooking tip #3: Use a sharp knife

When working with onions, you are bound to tear up while cutting. There are many methods to reduce tearing that people swear by, but there is no proven method. Some people think that the sharper the knife, the less you cry, meaning use the sharpest knife possible to avoid cutting the onion cells and releasing the scent that makes your eyes tear.

Cooking tip #4: Keep it simple

Caramelizing onions requires only a few ingredients: butter or oil, salt and the sliced onions. If you want, you can add black pepper or sugar.

Cooking tip #5: Use the right pot

Use a large, heavy bottomed pot, which will more evenly and effectively cook the onions.

Cooking tip #6: Cook over low heat & stir often

For the best caramelized results, keep the heat low and stir often, cooking for a while (at least an hour, sometimes more).

Cooking tip #7: Adjust your cooking time

The longer you cook onions and the thinner they are, the more they will break down and become jam-like. Or, if desired, you can slice onions thicker, cook them less, and keep them a little more structured.

Cooking tip #8: Be creative

There are multitudes of ways to use caramelized onions. They can garnish just about any meat or fish, top a soup or pizza, fill in a sandwich, partner with pasta, be pureed into a dip, or eaten simply atop some crispy bread. The possibilities are near endless, just be creative.

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