Caramelized Onions

These onions are the ultimate flavour-builder for cold-weather dishes, so they are an essential in my fridge during the holiday season. Use them to add oomph to soup or a sandwich of leftover turkey or beef.


about 2 cups
(500 mL)

Prep Time:

10 minutes

Cook Time:

10 minutes


Recipe from Set for the Holidays
Appetite for Random House, 2018


  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) dry Sherry or dry white wine
You can refrigerate these in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze them for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

To gradually caramelize the onions, use a stainless steel, cast iron or enamel-coated pan. A non-stick pan may seem ideal, but you actually want the onions to stick a little. Once the splashes of Sherry or wine are added, the pan deglazes as you stir the onions, pulling those flavourful bits from the bottom.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter (or oil). Add the onions, thyme and a little salt and pepper and stir to coat the onions. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the onions begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. About halfway through cooking, when brown bits start sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a splash of the Sherry (or wine) and use the wooden spoon to loosen them. Continue to cook the onions, adding splashes of Sherry (or wine) to lift the browned bits, until they are a rich brown, an additional 20 to 25 minutes. 

Step 2

Remove the pan from the heat and let the onions cool. Chill until needed.