Caramelized onions add an extra layer of flavor to almost any dish! However, the skill of caramelizing onions has eluded me for most of my life. I have tried adding sugar, not adding sugar, adding salt, not adding salt, low heat, medium heat. You name it, I’ve tried it. I always ended up with burnt onions and a smelly kitchen. I recently stumbled onto the secret to successful caramelized onions. Onions won’t caramelize in a non-stick skillet. I read this on the internet, so I’m thinking it must be true, right? Every time I have attempted to caramelize onions, I have used a non-stick skillet. So, I pulled out my trusty cast iron skillet and put this theory to the test.
I sliced my onions about 1/8 inch thick, which is really important. If you slice the onions too thin, they will burn. I put them in my cast iron skillet with some butter and some oil. Then, I cooked them on medium low heat for about 1 hour. An hour is a long time to commit, but the good thing is you don’t have to watch them constantly. About every 5 minutes give them a stir.
After about 15 minutes, they will look like this.
Here they are after 30 minutes.
45 minutes later…
Finally, 1 hour later. Notice the brown bits on the bottom of the pan? Don’t panic, that is called fond. Fond is the brown bits of sugars and proteins that are released by the onions during the cooking process. Deglaze your pan with some chicken broth or even some water, which means add cold liquid to a hot pan. This will get those brown bits off the bottom. They will dissolve in the liquid and spread evenly into the onions.
After deglazing my pan, I have beautiful brown caramelized onions!
Add caramelized onions to your pizza, sandwich, soup, or just about anything to add an extra layer of flavor to your recipe!