Stock Your Freezer: Caramelized Onions

Stock Your Freezer: Caramelized Onions

First in my series about what you should stock your freezer with: caramelized onions. They are an easy, if time-consuming, condiment that you’ll want to keep on hand for just about every savory recipe you can think of:

  • refried beans
  • soups and stews
  • pizza
  • sandwiches
  • quiches and savory pies
  • hummus and dips
  • scrambled eggs

Caramelize as many onions as you can at a time. They reduce to about 10% of their original volume, and they get used faster than you can imagine. So make A LOT and keep them in your freezer for jacked-up flavor!

Here’s how:

Caramelized Onions

Intense flavor ingredient to have ready in your freezer
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Course Condiment


  • Large, heavy skillet


  • 1 tsp olive oil per onion
  • 5–10 onions yellow or white, or as many as you want to caramelize
  • 1–2 tsp balsamic vinegar, wine, or chicken broth optional


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
  • Peel and French slice/julienne the onions: Cut peeled onion in half. Place one of the halves cut side down and slice crosswise. Repeat for all onion halves.
  • Separate slices and place in the skillet with olive oil. Stir to coat onions in the oil. The skillet should be as full as you can get it. The onions will reduce to a fraction of their fresh size.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low or low. Stir every few minutes to saute onions evenly.
  • When onions begin to stick, let them stick for a few seconds to brown, but stir before they burn. Avoid burning at all costs!
  • Keep sauteeing, scraping the browned onions off the skillet each time you stir. Cook til brown and reduced to about 10% of the original volume, at least an hour. Finished onions should be a dark, rich brown.
  • Remove pan from heat. Optional: Deglaze the pan at the very end with a splash of balsamic vinegar, wine, or chicken broth: Pour the liquid in after you remove skillet from heat. Scrape the browned, flavorful fond off the bottom with a wooden spoon. Stir this savory blend into the onions. Use just enough liquid to deglaze; you don't want runny caramelized onions.
  • Let onions cool and freeze for future use.


If you want to kick up the flavor, you can add a little butter to the oil in the beginning. Other additions include a teaspoon of sugar or a pinch of salt. I don’t add anything except maybe some broth to deglaze because I don’t want those flavors to interfere with whatever I will use the caramelized onions in down the road.
Use the onions in any recipe that calls for sauteed onions: in refried beans, in soups and stews, on pizza or sandwiches, in quiches and savory pies, in hummus and dips, even on scrambled eggs. You’ll end up using them on everything!
Freezer tip: Place the cooled onions in a zipper-close plastic bag. Squeeze out all the air and seal. Flatten onions inside the bag. Press a straight edge into the onions in a grid pattern with squares that are each about a teaspoon of onions. Freeze flat. Now, when you need a portion of onions for a recipe, you can break off one or two of the squares instead of thawing the whole thing.
Keyword caramelized, onions

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