How to caramelise onions

How to caramelise onions

How to caramelise onions

by Great British Chefs11 March 2016

How to caramelise onions

Caramelising onions at home is very easy to do and the results are a cut above anything you can buy in a jar. Sweet and sticky with a subtle hint of toffee-like flavour, these onions will lift an array of dishes – pile them into a sandwich, stir through pasta or dollop on top of a pizza. They will keep for around a week in an airtight container.




Heat a large heavy-based pan over a high heat and, once hot, add the onions
Stir the onions every 5 minutes or so, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula
Keep cooking the onions over a medium heat until they are a dark golden brown – this will take up to an hour. If the pan starts to catch, reduce the heat, and if it starts to burn add a splash of water then scrape the bottom
When you are happy with the level of caramelisation (the best way to determine this is to eat some), stir in 100ml of water, season with salt to taste and leave to cool


Instead of deglazing the pan with water try using vinegars such as Balsamic and sherry, or alcohol such as brandy or port. For extra sweetness add a little brown sugar at the end of cooking and cook until caramelised. You can experiment with different types of onion too; red onions and shallots both work very well.


Marcus Wareing adds caramelised onions to his mini beef burgers, while Adam Gray uses them on his quick and easy tart with melting Stilton cheese. In Italy, the Cerea brothers use caramelised onions in their refined main course of Lamb loin and rhubarb compote – they also make up the base for Pascal Aussignac’s Pissaladiere.

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