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How to Caramelize Onions 07:44

Bryon Freeze

Caramelized onions are both sweet and savory, with endlessly versatile applications.

How to Caramelize Onions 07:44

Bryon Freeze

Caramelized onions are both sweet and savory, with endlessly versatile applications.

Prep Time Cook Time Total Time Serving Size

The Steps

  1. 1. Place a large pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, use butter or oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. 01:08

  2. 2. Once the fat begins to smoke, add onions into the pan. Use a wooden spoon to mix the onions around the pan. Use the handle of the pan to give a gentle toss. 02:08

  3. 3. Caramelization will begin four to five minutes into cooking, depending on the size of the onions. Stand by the pan and keep stirring to prevent any onions from charring. 03:35

  4. 4. Once the onions have are uniformly browned, add salt or other seasonings. Use as desired. 05:56

What You'll Need


- Large nonstick pan
- Wooden spoon


- Spanish onions, chopped
- Grape seed oil
- Salt to taste

Chef Notes

An alternate method of caramelizing onion is to cook them over low heat for 40 minutes to an hour. Stir the onions occasionally, but not frequently. This method will result in onions that are more tender with a richer caramelized flavor.

Caramelization is the browning of sugar, a process that results in a sweet, nutty flavor. Caramelizing onions will release special sugars, and yeild a sweet, "caramel" taste. 

Chef Bryon demonstrates how to caramelize onions with Spanish onions, but any other variety can be used. Spanish onions produce a nice balance of sweet and savory. The higher the sugar content, the shorter the onions will need to caramelize. 

A julienne cut is a thin, stick-shsaped cut. To cut julienne, simply cut from a squared off item, and slice the ingredient length-wise at a thickness of 1 to 2 millimeters. Repeat the process on the new thin slices. the end product should resemble tiny matchsticks.

A Brunoise dice starts with a julienne cut. Once the julienne cuts have been made, bunch the sticks up and cut into equally shaped dice pieces. 

Using a steel or cast iron skillet will lead to some of the sugars building up on the bottom of the pan. Scrape them up and blend them back into the onions to achieve a richer, deeper flavor.

Caramelized onions can be prepared in large batches and then frozen in individual servings for future use.

Oils with smoke points that are higher than their cooking temperatures are ideal for frying. Unrefined nut and olive oils have low smoke points and should generally not be used for high temperature frying. Soybean, vegetable, and canola oils are preferred. 


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Chef Bryon Freeze

Los Angeles

Bryon Freeze burst into the culinary spotlight when he won "Chef Wanted," a chef competition show on the Food Network. Aft... read more