How to make Caramelised Onions. So many uses, you are only limited by your imagination.
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5 from 2 votes

Kitchen Basics: How to Make Caramelised Onions

Ever wondered how to make caramelised onions?  Whilst they do require a little time and some patience to make, your efforts will be rewarded with an infinitely useful jar of deeply savoury onions.  Once you have made a batch, you will wonder how you ever did without them.   
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas


  • 2 Tablespoons butter, ghee or olive oil
  • 5 large onions (approx. 1kg) finely sliced
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (40 ml) balsamic vinegar optional
  • 1 teaspoon dark muscovado sugar optional


  • Melt the butter, ghee or olive oil in a heavy based fry pan over a low heat.
  • Add the onions and salt, and stir to coat with the melted fat.
  • Allow to cook over a low heat, stirring every 5 - 10 minutes. As the onions start to caramelise, it will appear that they are sticking to the bottom of the pan. This is perfectly normal. Just scrape the sticky parts off the bottom of the pan and stir it back into the onions.
  • When the onions are dark brown, soft and sticky (after approximately 1 hour) stir in the sugar and balsamic vinegar (if using)
  • Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the balsamic vinegar had evaporated.
  • Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly then place in a clean jar.
  • Store in the fridge or freezer and use as desired.


You can use a food processor to slice the onions if you wish. I can't be bothered washing the dishes so just slice them with a knife.
You do not need to add the balsamic vinegar and sugar to the onions, but they do add a slightly deeper flavour. I always add it.
Store these in a clean jar in the fridge for up to one month. If you wish to keep them for longer, I recommend freezing them into meal size portions. I use ice cube trays.
These will be vegan if you use olive oil to caramelise the onions.