Having a heap of sweet, deeply golden, melt-in-your-mouth onions in your fridge is almost like having a personal chef. Almost. Fine, not a personal chef in term of the actual cooking preparations, but it absolutely is in terms of having an instant flavor booster at your fingertips. Also, not to mention the time it saves, peeling, and chopping onions whenever you need them. [Editor’s Note: Be certain to turn on the exhaust fan and open any windows! Even then, be prepared to have the aroma of onions linger for a day or two.]–Danielle Renov

A scoop of big batch caramelized onions on a wooden spoon.

Big Batch Caramelized Onions

4.84 / 6 votes
These big-batch caramelized onions are slow-cooked with oil and salt until soft and jammy. Perfect to have in the fridge for soups, sandwiches, omelets, pizza, pasta, and so, so much more. Here’s how to make them.
David Leite
Servings15 (1/2-cup servings)
Calories93 kcal
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time7 hours


  • 20 large (about 7 lbs) yellow onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon mild olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Using a sharp knife or a food processor fitted with the slicing blade to thinly slice the onions.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: If you have a food processor, avail yourself of it. No tears.

  • In your largest heavy-bottomed pot over low heat, warm the oil. Dump in the onions and salt and stir to combine.
  • Cover the pot until the onions begin softening, lifting the lid and stirring every 5 minutes, at least 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and cook the onions, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, for about 6 hours. The onions will be golden, much smaller in volume, and soft.
  • Increase the heat to medium and cook the onions, being careful to stir every 5 minutes to prevent burning, until dark golden brown and very, very soft, 30 to 40 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let the onions cool completely.
  • Divvy the onions into 1⁄4-cup portions in either resealable bags or small containers with tightly fitted lids. Store in the freezer to have on hand at all times!
Peas, Love & Carrots Cookbook

Adapted From

Peas, Love & Carrots

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 93 kcalCarbohydrates: 20 gProtein: 2 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 0.2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2 gTrans Fat: 0.01 gSodium: 319 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 9 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Danielle Renov. Photo © 2020 Moshe Wulliger. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’m really excited to have the ability to create individual French onion soup on a whim this fall!

I used my Cuisinart, because let’s face it, I don’t care how good your knife skills, slicing this many onions is going to make you cry for days. The timings listed were accurate—just stand over the pot the last 30 to 40 minutes so the onions don’t burn. I can imagine this would have made me apoplectic—caring for this dish all day only to throw the game in the 9th inning.

It made 4 servings for me, which is perfect, as I live alone with a kid who only eats chicken nuggets.

Thank goodness I don’t mind peeling onions. Do this recipe if you have the time and the need for these. I think having these on hand would be useful for pizza toppings and I will stir them into sour cream for a dip and to top baked potatoes.

I used my 8-quart and 4-quart enameled cast iron pots. The recipe produced a caramelized, sweet, soft onion. I found it difficult to turn and stir the onions. It took an hour to start softening. It then took 5 hours to get to the golden soft stage. At 2 1/2 hours into this time, I was able to consolidate the 4-quart into the 8-quart pot as they’d reduced enough. To then caramelize the onions, it took 1 1/2 hours with regular stirring.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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