AppetizersBasics & Condiments Caramelized onions by Alex Bayev January 28, 2023 January 28, 2023 634 views 634 I have already described the process of making caramelized onions in a recipe for Pisaladier, a French onion tart with anchovies. But this time I want to touch on the subject of caramelized onions in more detail. I still can’t stop being amazed by this almost magical transformation. How an onion from an unpleasant and tear-inducing vegetable with a pungent odor, a sharp, bitter taste, after which stinks in the mouth turns into a product absolutely devoid of all these flaws. A product that you’ll be ready to eat with a spoon right out of the can until you’ve eaten every last bit of it. Even more striking is that all this “magic” happens at the level of chemical and physical reactions, without the addition of sugar or any ingredients that greatly affect the taste. Cooking Features Normally, caramelizing onions is a long process. For 50-60 minutes, you have to be at the stove and constantly stirring the contents of the pan so the onions don’t burn or become bitter. But the folks at America’s Test Kitchen have found a way to speed up this process with a couple of secret ingredients: water and baking soda. I know it doesn’t sound convincing. I also wondered how water could help? After all, we roast onions to caramelize them, not boil them. But put the skepticism aside. The fact is, the first part of the caramelization process – is softening the onions. And when exposed to heat and steam, that happens a lot faster. What about baking soda? America’s Test Kitchen in the book “100 Techniques” they say that because adding baking soda increases the pH, it speeds up the caramelization process. In addition, baking soda helps soften vegetables because the change in pH helps loosen their cell structure. Baking soda also speeds up the conversion of a natural, odorless polysaccharide called inulin into fructose. Which can then interact with amino acids to produce a richer flavor. Therefore, the caramelized onions in this recipe are tasty and sweet without additional sweeteners like honey or sugar, which other caramelized onion recipes often do not disdain. Serving Suggestions Caramelized onions are good on their own or as part of a meal. You can simply put them in a nice bowl and serve them as an appetizer. If you want to cook something based on caramelized onions, I definitely recommend trying pisaladier – French onion pie with anchovies, sauce-dip with caramelized onions (ideal as a sauce for potatoes and other dishes and as a simple spread on bread) and tart with caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. Add caramelized onions to sandwiches and burgers, pasta, pizza, even omelets and soups, in short, anything you can think of. It’s also a great addition to a cheese plate or any other cheese dishes. The combination of salty cheese and sweet caramelized onions is something, you must try it. The saltier the cheese, the more delicious it is. ⏱ Cooking time — 50 minutes overall. Includes 35 minutes of preparation and cooking + 15 minutes unattended. 🥣 Ingredients 🍽 For ~400 g of caramelized onions: 1.8 kg (4 lb) yellow onions (1.4 kg (3,1 lb) peeled and cut into half rings) 150 ml (3/4 cups) water 2/3 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. baking soda 2 tbsp. vegetable oil Equipment: Non-stick pan with a diameter of 30 cm and a tight-fitting lid for it 🔪Step by step Directions Take 1.8 kg (4 lb) of yellow onions. Cut off the tails of the bulbs, cut each bulb in half, cutting through the root, peel the husks. Cut into half rings about 1/2 cm (0,2 ins.) thick. To do this: place the onion with one of the cut sides facing you and slice, holding the knife perpendicular to the root. Transfer the half-ringed onions to a deep bowl, weighing 1.4 kg (3,1 lb). Put a cool non-stick 30 cm (11,80 ins.) pan on the stove and add the chopped onion, a sprinkle of 2/3 tsp. salt, 150 ml (3/4 cups) of water and 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil. Turn on a high heat and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid (I didn’t have a proper size lid – I used a baking dish). Cook for about 10 minutes, until the water evaporates and the onions begin to brown and sizzle. You can tell by the sound – it will change to a more characteristic frying sound. Remove lid, reduce heat to medium-low. Stir the contents of the pan with a spatula, trying to move the onions from the edges of the pan toward the center and the onions from the bottom to the top. Now lightly press the onions with the spatula against the bottom and around the edges. Cook for 30 seconds without stirring. Repeat the stirring, pressing and cooking process for 30 seconds until the onions are soft, quite toasted and a little sticky for about 15-20 minutes. Depending on the power of the heat and desired degree of caramelization – it may take longer, it took me ~25 minutes. When not stirring, mix 1/8 tsp. baking soda with 1 tbsp. water and mix well. When the onions are soft, quite toasted and sticky – pour in the baking soda and water mixture and cook for another 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, transfer to a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. How and how long to store caramelized onions? Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (so says the source of the recipe, I personally think that for a week in the fridge and nothing happens to it) or freeze and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Caramelized onions 5 from 1 vote Often honey or sugar is used in recipes for caramelized onions. Caramelized onions in this recipe don't need them. They are delicious and sweet without any additional sweeteners.Add caramelized onions to sandwiches and burgers, pasta, pizza, or even omelets and soups, in short, everywhere you can imagine.It's also a great addition to a cheese plate or any cheese dishes. The combination of salty cheese and sweet caramelized onions is something, you must try it. The saltier the cheese, the more delicious it is. Pin Recipe Print Recipe Cook Time35 minutesUnattended:15 minutesTotal Time50 minutes Servings4 EquipmentNon-stick pan with a diameter of 30 cma tight-fitting lid for it Ingredients Metric – US Customary1,8 kg yellow onions (1.4 kg peeled and cut into half rings)150 ml water⅔ tsp. salt⅛ tsp. baking soda2 tbsp. vegetable oil InstructionsCut off the tails of the onions, cut in half through the root, peel.Slice into half rings about 1/2 cm (0,2 ins.) thick. To do this: place the onion with one of the cut sides facing you and slice, holding the knife perpendicular to the root.Put the sliced onions in a cold non-stick frying pan, sprinkle with salt, add water and oil. Turn on high heat and bring to a boil.When boiling, cover with a tight fitting lid (I used a baking dish). Cook for about 10 minutes, until the water evaporates and the onions begin to brown and sizzle. You can tell by the sound – it will change to a more characteristic frying sound.Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium-low.Stir the contents of the pan, trying to move the onions from the edges of the pan toward the center and the onions from the bottom to the top. Now lightly press the onions with a spatula against the bottom and edges. Cook for 30 seconds without stirring. Repeat the stirring, pressing and cooking process for 30 seconds until the onions are soft, quite toasted and a little sticky for about 15-20 minutes.Depending on the power of the heat and desired degree of caramelization – it may take longer, mine took – 25 minutes.In the free time from stirring, mix baking soda with 1 tbsp. water and stir.When the onions are soft, quite toasted and sticky – pour in the baking soda and water mixture and cook for another minute, stirring frequently.Remove from heat, transfer to a jar or container with a tight fitting lid. Video Tried this recipe? Tag me on Instagram!I love seeing what you’ve made! Mention @bayevskitchen and tag it #bayevskitchen to be reposted in my stories! Pin1YumTweetShareTelegramVibeFlip1 Shares 5 or fewerBudgetOnionVegetables Leave a Comment Cancel Reply Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Recipe Rating Recipe Rating Δ You may also like Сhickpeas with lime and chili Roasted Chillies Powder Sea scallops baked with chanterelles and cream sauce Mushroom appetizer with sherry Super Easy Roasted Zucchini in Parmesan Breading How to make Roux and Béchamel with Onion... Roasted zucchini’s and cheese patties Baked Brie Bread with Spicy Strawberry Jam Spicy Strawberry Chilli Jam Greek Eggplant Meze with Red Bell Pepper Alex Bayev Hi, I'm Alex Bayev, bayevskitchen.com founder and food blogger who is passionate about cooking and photography. Since starting my blog in 2015, I have been sharing simple yet elegant recipes made with high-quality ingredients that anyone can recreate at home. I believe that food has the power to create unforgettable experiences.