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How to caramelise onions


Caramelising onions will take a good 30-45 minutes but they cook slowly, need little attention and the wait is worth it. The longer you caramelise the better they will taste - patience is the key!

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  • 6 small onions or 3 large (red or brown)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • water
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 tbs balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 pinch salt


Level of difficulty Easy
Preparation time 2mins
Cooking time 45mins
Cost Budget Friendly


Step 1

How to caramelise onions - Step 1

Slice up all the onions.
Heat some olive oil in a pan on low to medium heat.
Add the onions to the pan, add a pinch of salt and cover.

Step 2

Stir to coat well in oil. Leave to cook for about 20 minutes stirring regularly. This is to soften the onions and cook until golden brown. Leave the heat on low, you don't want to burn them and remember caramelised onions need time!

Step 3

Add the sugar and a small glass of water. You can add the optional balsamic vinegar at this point too. This will add a little extra sweet flavour when cooked.

Step 4

How to caramelise onions - Step 4

Cook the onions slowly for another 20 minutes uncovered. The water will reduce, but it helps the onions to not stick and burn in the pan. Leave on low heat, stir regularly. Let the onions stick a little and then stir again. You will eventually end up with perfectly sticky, caramelised onions!

The main picture of this recipe shows only half way through the caramelisation. The onions will be a darker colour and more sticky in consistency. Especially if you try the balsamic vinegar option.

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Gourmandize UK & Ireland

Thank you for posting this recipe explaining how simple it is to caramelise onions!

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