Caramelized red onions

Caramelized red onions are a true celebration of flavors capable of enriching any dish with their sweetness and versatility: from fresh to aged cheeses, to hamburgers, to simple bread bruschettas. With this very easy recipe, you’ll be able to transform one of the humblest and simplest ingredients into a gourmet food, which can become the true star of your dishes, adding a touch of elegance and goodness to every dish, just as in other traditional recipes with onions, such as French onion soup.
To prepare caramelized red onions, you’ll need a few simple ingredients: red onions, a little butter, a bit of sugar (only used to enhance the natural sweetness of the onions), and a bit of vinegar. I used balsamic vinegar, but alternatively, you can use apple cider vinegar or common wine vinegar. The caramelization process, combined with the use of vinegar, significantly reduces the pungent taste of the onions, making them pleasantly sweet and sour and easily paired with a wide variety of flavors.
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Video recipe of the day

  • DifficultyEasy
  • CostVery cheap
  • Preparation time5 Minutes
  • Cooking time20 Minutes
  • Serving4 servings
  • Cooking methodStove
  • CuisineItalian
  • SeasonalityEvergreen

Ingredients for approx. 2/3 cup (170 g – 6 oz) of caramelized onions

12 oz red onions (350 gr)
1 tablespoon sugar
0.7 oz unsalted butter (20 gr.)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (45 ml)
1 pinch salt

97,30 Kcal
calories per serving
Info Close
  • Power 97,30 (Kcal)
  • Carbohydrates 14,02 (g) of which sugars 9,34 (g)
  • Proteins 1,05 (g)
  • Fat 4,26 (g) of which saturated 2,75 (g)of which unsaturated 1,50 (g)
  • Fibers 1,48 (g)
  • Sodium 103,35 (mg)

Indicative values for a portion of 40 g processed in an automated way starting from the nutritional information available on the CREA* and FoodData Central** databases. It is not food and / or nutritional advice.

* CREATES Food and Nutrition Research Center: ** U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019.


1 Chopping Board
1 Knife
1 Pan Non-stick with lidwith lid

How to prepare caramelized red onions

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Start by peeling the onions, then slice them into not too thin slices (about 1/3 inch – 8 mm). This way, even when cooked for a long time, they won’t fall apart but will maintain their texture.

Gently separate the onion rings thus obtained. In a thick-bottomed non-stick pan, melt the butter over low heat. When it’s completely melted, add the onions and lightly salt them. Let them cook over low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring often.

Then add the sugar and continue cooking for 7-8 minutes, stirring often, until the onions have slightly softened.

Now, increase the heat and deglaze with balsamic vinegar. A small note: I used 3 tbsp (45 ml) of fairly “mild” balsamic vinegar, but if you use a very thick and aged one, one or two tablespoons will be enough, possibly diluted in a little water, otherwise it will completely cover the flavor of the onions.

Let it evaporate for about a minute, until you no longer smell the strong vinegar odor. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and perfectly caramelized. Now, remove the lid and, if necessary, let it cook for another minute or two without the lid, just enough time to evaporate any excess water.

Transfer the caramelized red onions to a bowl or a glass jar and let them cool completely. You can then serve them at room temperature.

How to store caramelized onions

The onions prepared in this way can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, sealed in a glass jar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What goes well with caramelized onions?

The perfect pairing for caramelized onions is definitely with cheeses, both fresh and aged: you can use them to accompany a nice cheese platter, along with a bowl of honey and one of jam.
Another common use for caramelized onions is to add an extra kick to a tasty hamburger, or to a grilled eggplant and cheese sandwich.

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