How to Make Caramelized Onions the Easy Way

How to Make Caramelized Onions the Easy Way | Food & Nutrition | Stone Soup
Photo: Serena Ball, MS, RD

Caramelized onions make everything better: Simple sandwiches, scrambled eggs, even soup from a can or buttered toast. But, most recipes for caramelized onions suggest near-constant stirring for over 30 minutes. This caramelized onion trick is totally hands-off! Just set ’em and forget ’em in the slow cooker.

Here’s the easy way for how to make caramelized onions in a slow cooker:

  1. Start with about 1½ pounds of onions — about 5 medium onions. This will make about 4 cups of caramelized onions.
  2. Chop onions in half from stem to root, then in thin half moon slices. You could use the food processor, but it only took 11 minutes for me to peel and slice my way through 5 onions.
  3. Add onions into a 4- or 6-quart slow cooker that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons of melted butter and an optional ingredient is 1½ teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. No stirring required. How easy was that?

One note: I add the optional balsamic vinegar to give deep golden color to the final caramelized onions, which otherwise, don’t turn out quite as golden-brown as those sauteed for 45 minutes. The vinegar also gives a taste of acidic sparkle to offset the sweet onions. And it makes a few of the onions around the edges of the slow cooker get dark brown — which lends deep flavor to the whole pot.

Now comes the fun part. What will you add these sweet, boldly savory, heavenly-scented onions to?

Here are a few ideas:

 

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Serena Ball
Serena Ball, MS, RD, is a food writer and registered dietitian nutritionist. She co-blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com sharing "Healthy Kitchen Hacks" to help families find healthy cooking shortcuts.