Make Perfect Caramelized Onions


  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into rings about ¼ inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • White cane sugar


Heat butter in a 5 qt. Dutch oven over medium heat until no longer foaming.

Stir in the salt.

The first step is adding not just butter but also salt to the pot, and waiting until the ingredients begin to “sing.” You can hurry the caramelization along by adding a little sugar. But don’t add too much. A light dusting may be all you need.

Only after the butter and salt begin to “sing”, can you add your sliced onions. After a few seconds, the onions should start to “sing” in the pot, too.

Now comes the hard part: Waiting. You will be tempted to stir the onions, but resist that urge!

Leave the onions alone!

You want to wait until the bottom of the pan looks slightly browned. Only then you can begin to stir your onions.

As the onions begin to brown, stir-cook them every few minutes. But don’t overdo it!

As they caramelize, the onions will become translucent, soft, and turn a deep brown color. Because of their inherently high sugar content, the onions are prone to burning at this point. Watch carefully and remove the onions from the heat if they begin to show any signs of burning. Burnt onions can be very bitter!

Remove the caramelized onions from the heat and fold in seasoning as you may desire: flakey sea salt, freshly ground white pepper (I use a coffee mill to get my ground pepper ‘just right’), and a dash of fresh thyme are a few of my favorites.