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Why Didn’t I Get the Memo???

Pizza with Caramelized OnionsWho forgot to tell me? Why didn’t I know? Why did I wait this long?

I had seen the words “caramelized onions” and really never thought much of them. At times I thought it just meant they were cooked enough to be caramel in color. At times I thought of caramel mixed with onions – yuck!

But until today, I don’t think I had ever actually tasted caramelized onions!!! Oh. My. Goodness. Do you know how good they are? Have you just let them melt in your mouth?

What? You don’t? You never have? You thought they were what happens when you didn’t stop at “cook until translucent”? Well, I am here to tell you, they are so much better. Really, why use onions for anything else but this? It is their purpose in life.

Do you have any onions laying around? Go get them. They need purpose. Now, make this.

Caramelized Onions

Yield: Makes about 1 cup

Source: Adapted from Cook


  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar
  • 2 pounds of onions (4 medium), cut in half from end to end, peeled, and sliced 1/4 inch side to side
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Melt butter and oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Once melted, add salt and sugar.
  2. Stir in onions, coating completely. Stir occasionally until onions soften and begin to release their moisture. Reduce the heat to medium and cook onions about 40 minutes or until their color caramelizes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in water and pepper and allow to cool to room temperature.

Now that you have caramelized onions, what can you do with them? Try this first.

Take a fistful of No-Knead Pizza Dough (my new favorite) and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll it a bit to cover it with flour and let it rest about 5 minutes. Begin to roll it out into an oval shaped crust. Place it on a pizza stone or baking sheet and bake at 425F for about 10 minutes, or just before it starts to brown. Take the crust out of the oven and drizzle it with olive oil. Now comes the best part…spread 1/2 cup of these delicious, can’t-stop-eating-them caramelized onions over the crust. Sprinkle about a cup of shredded gruyere cheese over the onions along with about a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves. Bake about 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly brown. Remove from the oven and brace yourself for the most delicious pizza bianca. Enjoy!

I know. Some of you think I am crazy because you already got the memo. You already know that caramelized onions are incredible. Well then…tell me…how else can I use caramelized onions? What is your favorite way to use them?

Gretchen Noelle

My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country. Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.

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20 Responses

  1. Susan from Food Blogga says:

    Your quality of life will now drastically improve. Trust me.

  2. bee says:

    as a rule, i hate onions. but caramelised onions are a different creature altogether. i adore them. i caramelise a huge batch, and use it bit by bit to add body to veggie pilafs, dry dishes, gravies, you name it. in rice, particularly, it’s awesome.

  3. Toni says:

    Carmelized onions add a new dimension to dishes which would otherwise be same old, same old….Pizza? I’m ready!

  4. Karen says:

    I want a piece now! That looks so good. Perhaps I should move to Peru and be your neighbor.

  5. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Susan – ha! you made me laugh!Bee – Do you know how long I can keep them for? I would totally do it like that!Toni – The pizza was delicious!Karen – Oh girl…if only. My neighbor got an entire plated dessert today. Lucky them. 🙂

  6. breadchick says:

    Gretchen, I did caramelized onions today to put on the bottom of my roasting pan to add extra flavour to a beef steak. I also love Alice Water’s caramelized onion tart. I toss some ham on top to give it some extra flavour.

  7. julie says:

    Congrats on your new find. I love caramelized onions. Your pizza is making me so hungry (and I just ate).:)

  8. Francesca says:

    Your pictures are very very nice and your reicpes too.I’m very curious abaiut peruvian cuisine. I’ll read your peruvian archive!Have a nice weekendFrancesca

  9. Emily says:

    I like to put cream cheese, lox, and caramelized onions on rice crackers (not rice cakes!). It’s amazing!Also, caramelized onions were just made to go with ham. That’s a match made in heaven, if you ask me.

  10. Aran Goyoaga says:

    Caramelized onions is all I want in my pizza ever again! I’m dying!

  11. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    Caramelized onions (done without the sugar) are the base for the best French onion soup. They are also a great filling for an omelet.

  12. Mandy says:

    caramelised onion is the answer for that bag of onions lying at the darkest corner of my pantry. Thanks for the inspiration! Now I know what to do with them!

  13. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Mary – They make a whole tart our of these things?? Wow! I am all over that!!!Julie – I am very happy about it as well!Francesca – Glad you are interested, ask and I will try and answer!Emily – Great ideas, thank you!Aran – Sorry to kill you! ;)Lydia – You are kidding! I have *never* wanted french onion soup. Now maybe I am going to have to rescind that statement soon too.Mandy – I am glad I could help!

  14. Jaime says:

    i love caramelized onions! if you like goat cheese as well, you need to try the caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza in my blog 🙂

  15. Ann says:

    Now that you know about carmalized onions, here’s the cheater’s method. Dump an emormous amount of sliced onions tossed with a small amount (maybe 1 tablespoon) of olive oil into your slow cooker. Put the lid on, turn the cooker on to low and ignore until bedtime. The onions can be divided into portions and frozen in ziplock bags. Now you ALWAYS have them ready for anything your heart desires. 🙂

  16. Lore says:

    Now that’s just the ideal weekend breakfast for me!

  17. Cakelaw says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I tried to buy caramelised onions in a jar on the weekend for a Nigella reciep and lucked out – now I can make my own.

  18. kittie says:

    Mmmm – I just finished my lunch, but I’m sure I could still manage a few slices of that pizza!I only discovered caramelised onions fairly recently too! I’ve found them to be a good addition to ragu – and last week made balsamic caramelised onion risotto (both recipes on my blog if you’re interested 🙂

  19. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Jaime – Your pizza sounds great! I will have to look that one up!Ann – Wow…That is amazing! I am sure to try it after my next trip to the market!Lore – Breakfast pizza…yum!Cakelaw – I would never have thought of buying them in a bottle! But yes, now you can make your own!Kittie – This pizza was delicious! Wish I had leftovers to share!

  20. michelle @ Us vs. Food says:

    i’m sorry it took so long for you to discover the joy of caramelized onoins, but am glad you finally did. welcome to the first day or the rest of your life!on pizzafor quick french onion soupon grilled meatswith goat cheese for a delicious spreadand on and on.i like to make mine with a splash of balsanic for some extra oomphn

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