It’s always a good thing to have a supply of caramelized onions on hand. They go with just about everything, or on everything. Nutritious, tasty, easy to make—the only problem is that they do take a while.


  • 2 pounds onions, peeled, and sliced or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
  • wine, beer, or water (your choice, and possibly optional)


  1. Heat the butter and oil in a pan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions and cover with a lid, leaving it slightly ajar.
  2. After about fifteen minutes, the onions will have begun to soften and cook down. Carefully remove the lid, and give them a stir.
  3. Continue to cook, stirring about every five to ten minutes, for an hour, until they are about one-fourth of their previous volume. (This will take a while, as onions contain lots of water.)
  4. After about half an hour, you may start to notice some caramelization in the bottom of the pan. This is what you are looking for. Once you see this happen, be sure to stir more frequently (at least every five minutes) to prevent burning. If you think that they are caramelizing too fast, deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup wine, beer, or water.
  5. After about an hour over medium heat, the onions have given up pretty much as much water as they’re going to. Once they start to caramelize, add the balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar and stir well. Continue to allow to cook, stirring frequently, until they are as caramelized as you would like.

Ideas for Using

Caramelized onions are so delicious that just the smell of them should give you plenty of ideas for using them. If not, here are some ideas:

  1. Add to a grilled-cheese sandwich.
  2. Use on burgers, hot dogs, or sausages.
  3. Use in burgers or meatloaf.
  4. Stir some into a pasta salad.
  5. Combine with a quart of beef broth, top with slices of crusty bread and shredded cheese (your choice), and pop under the broiler for a delicious French onion soup.
  6. Add a cup of caramelized onions to a quart of beef broth. Stir in 1/2 cup of barley and cook until the barley is tender. Add in half a pound of sliced and sautéed mushrooms for the best mushroom barley soup ever.
  7. Stir into poultry stuffing.
  8. Add a half cup or so to your favorite chili recipe.
  9. Add a half cup or so when you start cooking beans. The onions will all but disappear, and flavor the beans without using meat. (The vegetarian option.)

That’s it, really. This reminds me, though, that I really should start getting some pictures of these recipes.


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