Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Eats: Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Hello! I'm the sort of person who likes my restaurant sandwiches and burgers with "the works", and I always like it when caramelized onions are included.  They add a nice gourmet flavor, so I wanted to make some at home to have on hand for my own sandwiches and burgers (pizzas too). 

The traditional way of making caramelized onions involves long, slow cooking and occasional stirring over a stove. I tried this once and it was fine, but I wanted to see if there was an easier way. 

And so I came across a couple of recipes for a slow cooker version of caramelized onions. 

Recipe #1:

3 pounds sliced onions
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all in slow cooker; cook on low 8-10 hours. Can try cooking on low 7 hours, then remove lid and cook on high 1 hour to evaporate liquid. 

Recipe #2:

3-4 pounds sliced onions
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Cook on high 10-12 hours. 

The cooking "speeds" are different - low versus high - and the second recipe calls for less than half the fat. So I used the olive oil and the cooking time/temperature of the second recipe, but added the salt from  the first recipe. Also from the first recipe was the removal of the lid the last hour of cooking to evaporate liquid. 

I started out with close to four pounds of sliced onions:

After eight hours on high, they were looking pretty browned and there were even a few burned bits around the edges. I figured this meant the cooking time was nearing the end, so I removed the lid for one last hour of caramelizing. 

Here's what I ended up with:

A lot of cooking down occurred: my four pounds of onions were reduced to around 3 1/2 cups. They taste just fine.

They're currently draining in a small colander and once that step is completed, I'll set some aside for sandwiches - they'll keep for about a week in the refrigerator. The rest will be frozen in small packages for future adornment of sandwiches and pizzas. 

And just like that, I have my gourmet topping with very little effort!


  1. I usually cook mine on the stove as needed, but this is a great idea to make them ahead and freeze them. I prefer mine done with butter instead of olive oil, I like the flavor better. I'm sure olive oil is heathier, but the butter just tastes better to me. :)

  2. Butter is fine, as you can see from the first recipe. I use it plenty in cooking and baking, but also like using olive oil. I'm sure the onions are fine either way!