Caramelized Onions have that natural sweet-savory flavor that quickly turns any meal into something extraordinary. And with the help of a slow cooker, you can make them ahead of time and have them at hand for any weeknight recipe.
Do you love caramelized onions? I do and on almost everything.
But it takes about an hour to make on a stovetop to truly caramelize onions until they are perfectly golden-brown and completely tender. Not sautéd but rich, sweet and caramelized.
The onions need to cook slowly over low heat until they release their sugars and their color turns a beautiful walnut brown. Most of us don’t have that time when preparing meals during the week.
That is why the crockpot is so great for this handy how-to. It does all the work for us. You slice the onions, load them into the slow cooker, turn the settings on low and go on with your life.
I usually make a huge batch so that I always have these mouthwatering onions on hand. You really should too. It’s so easy.
They freeze beautifully but I recommend freezing leftovers in different sized containers or freezer jars so that they can serve as either a last-minute topping or as a larger side to complement your dish.
After defrosting from the freezer they taste just like freshly prepared slow cooker caramelized onions.
I’ll bet you don’t need any inspiration for adding these flavor-packed onions to your menu. But you might love some of these ideas.
What Can Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions Be Used With?
- Last week some went into our soup, and it took this already delicious warm dish to a whole new level.
- I enjoy them with so many kinds of sandwiches and love them on bean burgers.
- They are great as a pizza topping, and you should try them with my Vegan Veggie White Pizza, I used ¼ pint of frozen caramelized onions that I took out of the freezer the night before. It was terrific!
- I need to slip this information in for the white pizza too. You know what else you need? Homemade Vegan White Pizza Sauce!
- Use them to add an incredibly deep flavor to your favorite plates of pasta, lentil and rice dishes. And yes, even sweet potatoes!
- Try not to stand over the crockpot eating them by the forkful. Good stuff!
The list is endless.
Remember that Vegan Veggie White Pizza that I mentioned? How about a pic? See all those caramelized onions in there? Go as thick as you want!
Have you enjoyed caramelized onions lately with a special homemade dish? Or even at a restaurant? Please don’t keep it to yourself. I would love for you to share it with me!
- Let cool and freeze in small batches so that you will have them in hand any time you want.
- All you have to do is remove a jar from the freezer and let defrost in the refrigerator for a great topping.
Is there a perfect kind of onion to caramelize?
No matter what type of onion you choose, here are a couple of things to consider:
- Onions with low moisture content are best. White onions tend to be drier and spicier and therefore an excellent choice to caramelize.
- When you slow cook them over an extended period, their natural sugars caramelize, and they have this intensely delicious flavor with a nice tender bite to them.<
- Yellow onions often have a milder flavor than white onions. They still caramelize nicely and keep that tender texture. Try to choose large all-purpose yellow onions that are firmer.
- I would be more reluctant to choose sweet onions (like Spanish yellow onions) as they have a higher moisture content.
- Sometimes Spanish sweet onions can result in more loss of sugar and therefore less flavor with a more mushier texture. I would recommend using these types of onions more in their raw state like on salads instead of in this recipe.
- Red onions are definitely on the sweeter side than yellow or white onions. If you adore them, then, by all means, caramelize them. You should know though that they can turn out more grayish or with an almost brownish-burgundy color.
But in the end, any onion will caramelize, and I suggest not to be shy. Experiment.
It is all about individual flavor. I prefer either white or yellow onions. White is my favorite.
I any case, I often choose large onions. It is faster to prep a big white onion than several small onions.
This recipe is so simple and delicious that you have to try it!
The only thing left is for you to get onions caramelized so that you can enjoy them all of the time.
Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions
- 5 quarts onion - large white onions, sliced thin (this is for a 4 to 6 slow cooker, depending on the size of the onions)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or your favorite oil
- Spread coconut oil around the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the slow cooker.
- Fill up crock pot with sliced onions to about ¾ full. It can be a bit more than this as the onions will start to cook down very quickly.
- I used a 6 quart slow cooker but a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker will work, depending on the size of your onions)
- Turn on low for 10 hours.
- The last hour of cooking time, crack the lid so that the extra moisture can start to cook away.
- You do not need to do this but you will get a richer color.
- This is where you will need to stir the onions about every 15 minutes to make sure they don't stick to the slow cooker.
- The onions will thicken and color as it cooks with the lid cracked open.
- You might only need ½ hour to color them so be around to check.
- Makes about 6 Cups.
- They will also keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
I've heard the slow cooker function doesn't work quite as well on an Instant Pot and I don't know why. But for this recipe, I think you can't go wrong. You may have to cook it longer though. Just check it.
was watching the video of making this recipe . and my dog Bela tried to eat the screen pictures lol looked real. to her and good
We love these so much we just cut up 10 lbs of onions, put them in 2 slow cookers and plugged them in outside. When we do it inside, our clothing, furniture etc smell like onions forever!
That is great Susan. We love them this way too and it's so easy. Wow! That is good information. We don't have that problem for some reason but it's a great idea to cook in a covered area outside to be safe. I'll do that next time too.