Back to Basics: How to Caramelize Onions

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Did ya ever notice how bringing out the natural sugars in anything makes it 100 times better?

When you roast a piece of meat at a high temp, searing the outside, it gets nice and brown because the proteins and sugars in the meat turn a beautiful brown colour when it hits the high heat.

If you’re talking about veggies, anything with a high sugar content (think onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets) will caramelize beautifully.

Onions are my favorite because, even if you don’t like onions, you’ll probably like these because the process of caramelizing really softens the flavour (it even happens with garlic…like in this recipe!).  Honestly, you really have to give it a shot…I will make an onion lover out of you yet!


2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil

4-5 onions

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar




1.  Using a mandolin (I inherited this from my mom…she bought it at the CNE 40 years ago!!) or a really sharp knife and some pretty awesome knife skills, thinly slice the onions.

2.  In a heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter and oil together; add the onions.




3.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes (the onions will soften and just begin to brown); season with salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring as it browns, about another 5 minutes.

5.  Add the vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan (make sure to get all those beautiful little flavour bits!); cook for about another 5-7 minutes.




6.  Put them in a mason jar and store them in your fridge or put a few tablespoons into snack bags and freeze…you can use these to top a pizza, add to a plate of pasta, or eat straight out of the jar!!

How about making some potato pancakes (grated potatoes dolloped and crisped in a pan) then placing them on top of an ice cold shot of vodka (with a lemon curl for brightness); then top the potato pancake with some of these onions and a scattering of crumbled feta…

Kinda food…kinda drink…kinda awesome!



Don’t ya just wanna have a party now???