HI And welcome to AChefsPinch.com, I want to thank you for visiting and checking us out. I believe that you came across this post because you want to learn how to caramelize Onions and learn the three stages of caramelization. Well great news below I break it down for you.

 The great thing about onions and the three stages of caramelization, is that even tho raw onions is quite bitter, onions have a lot of natural sugars, that only come out if cooked correctly.SO we do not need to add any extra sugar , but you can add sugar if you want, but ill stalk about the best ways to do this later in this blog post.

All right fellow culinarians, so what is the best way to caramelize onions? There are a bunch of ways to cook and caramelize onions, But in my experience I have the best method. Below are my secret Chefy tips.

Caramelize Definition. (according to Cambridge Dictionary)

Caramelize – to cook a food with sugar so that the food becomes sweet and often brown.

Core Concepts, When Caramelizing Onions

  • The Knife Cut of the onion Matters – julienne on a bias
  • Size Of onion Cut Matters – Depending on thick-ness will depending on cook times and pan heat.
  • Size of sauté pan – You want to be able to lay all the onions flat on the pan, you also don’t want to use a very thin pan, and make sure the pan redirects the heat evenly
  • Low heat Little Oil
  • Cooking times may vary, but one large onion can take roughly 20 min to caramelize
  • Flip and let sit – flip and let set- repeat till onions are fully caramelized. Flip and let onions set for a minute or two.
  • When onions are almost done you can add butter salt & Pepper , stock or a little sugar for finished caramelization

Caramelizing Onions – Stage 1 Raw

Need I say more about this raw stage of onions, they are raw and freshly cut. Now to cook the onions after julienning them, you want to start cooking the onions in a cold pan with cold onions & cold oil, then turn the heat on.  I like to say a splash under half.  Now we slowly lower the heat of the pan as we go further along the cooking process.

Quick Tips For Caramelizing Onions – Stage 1

  • Cut onions uniformly
  • Make sure onions are flat on Sautee pans
  • Make sure your Sautee pan is in great shape, and can conduct heat correctly
  • Heat should be slightly under half on your burner

Caramelizing Onions – stage 2 Sweated

All right so we have ben cooking the onions five to ten minutes now depending on how many onions, or thick the cuts are. At this stage you see a slight color change they won’t be so bright white, there will be translucent, shiny almost see thru in a way. This is the chemicals and moisture of the onion sweating out. You may even start to smell the sweetness of the onions.

Quick tips for caramelizing onions stage 2

  • Remember flip & let sit – flip & let sit
  • Turn heat down to low, not super low but low
  • If pan is starting to overheat add a splash of cold water and swoosh it around
  • You need to keep an eye on how the onions are interacting with the heat, its very important to adjust to how the onions are cooking at this point.

Caramelizing Onions – Stage 3 Caramelized

All right perfect we made it to the last stage. Now at this point your onions have been cooking for a very long time, nice and slow, and you have ben flipping and letting set over and over and over again.

Some things you will notice are, a huge color change, you should see deep dark brown color, and you should be able to smell a sweat scent in the air. Now at this point its time to add salt and pepper, and a little butter, let those ingredients cook into the onions, and get ready to cool down the caramelized onions. Once again, the cooking time from start to finish will be depending on onion size, pan, and heat management skills. In my opinion the best way to cool down the caramelized onions, is to lay them flat on a sheet pan, or large platter plate to give the onions room to breathe and cool down, after cooling down you can then use for storage. 

Quick Tips For Caramelizing Onions Stage 3

  • Deep dark brown color signals that your onions are finished
  • The onions will have a very strong sweet scent
  • When adding butter, stock, & seasoning make sure the liquid is cooked out before cooling down
  • Cool down on sheet tray or buffet platter plate
  • Store in plastic container with a lid and label.

All right so that’s my break down for caramelizing onions. My friends cooking can be very simple once you have / understand the basics of cooking. Time, temperature, ingredient. You find a them if you will when cooking great food, keep it simple and let the food ingredient do its thing, keep it its simple, and let your food ingredient speak for its self.

You will find sorting foods like onions have a unique texture, scents, and that sorting types of cooking techniques will enhance the natural flavors of that ingredient. That is the goal of caramelizing onions, we are trying to extract the natural sweetness of the onions.

Why Onions? A Brief History of this wonderful Vegie

According to the national Onion Association the history of onions can be a tricky vegie to trace back and find the original birthdate. Do to the onions tissue, and textures onion leave very little trace, and it is extremely hard to find evidence of their original start date and location.

Many experts believe early humans found wild onions and tried to eat them way before humans where farming. Although many professionals say humans have cultivated onions for at least 5000 years and could be one of the first ingredients human cultivated. Wild onions grow all over the world, however china, India , and the Egyptians where the first to write about cultivating them. Onions where used in spiritual rituals, and the romans carried onions on their war trips, and while traveling.

When the pilgrims arrived to north America, they brought onions, however they found many various wild onions growing around the north American lands. Long story short Onions are awesome.

In closing For How To Caramelize Onions And The Three Stages Of Caramelization

I hope the above information helped you out while trying to caramelize onions. I love onions they are one of my favorite things to cook. In fact, my four-year-old son always jokes to me about how much I cook onions. Good luck on your journey of cooking onions, I hope this post gave you some great food insights. If you’re stuck and need help. Comment below, and ill give you some tips.

Most Popular Types Of Onions

  • Vidalia Onions – Super sweet – My go to number 1 onions for caramelization
  • Spanish Onions – Low water Content – my second favorite onion to caramelization
  • Cipollini
  • Pear
  • Shallots
  • Spanish
  • Pearl /Button/Baby Onions – Small round and perfect
  • Red Onions – great onions for raw sand witches, & grilling for vegie platters
  • Spring Onions

Cousins of Onions

  • Scallions
  • Chives
  • Leeks
  • Green Onions
  • Welsh Onions

Basic Dishes that go perfect with caramelized onions

  • On top of burgers
  • Puree for bread spreads, and salad dressings (after caramelizing and cooled down puree the onions in a past like texture and add it to may-oh, oil for vinaigrettes and or use for spreads)
  • Add to mashed potatoes
  • Perfect for Sautee stir-fry dishes
  • Great side component on top of rib eye steak
  • Steak & cheese sand witches
  • caramelized onions pizza
  • French onion soup.

Funny Onion Facts

  • Onions grow underground and part of the Bulb family
  • 27 different breeds / types of onions
  • Onions grow in all types of soil
  • Onions do make you cry from Sulfuric acid
  • Largest weighed onion on record is slightly over 10 pounds
  • Onions are 98% water
  • Ancient people used onions to get rid of coughs and fevers by placing cooked onions on their chest

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