Whole Roasted Onions

Whole roasted onions are surprisingly tender, mellow, sweet, and darn near almost effortless. Here’s how to make them, including exactly how long to roast the onions.

Several whole roasted onions with crispy skin and creamy flesh.

Plonk onions on a baking sheet without bothering to peel them. Shove in oven. Come back later for achingly sweet, tender, mellow oniony goodness. Accept accolades. See how easy that was?! Though whole roasted onions can’t quite compete with their caramelized cousins in terms of sweetness, these roasted onions definitely surpass caramelized onions in terms of easiness. And they’re every bit as versatile. [Editor’s Note: Some may scoff at the notion of calling this clever little tactic or technique a recipe. We’re aware of this. We consider it a wonderful reminder of just how simple it can be to coax onions to superlativeness.] Originally published June 12, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Use Whole Roasted Onions

We fancy these whole roasted onions just as-is. You can also gussy them up with all sorts of goodness when they come out of the oven, if you please, with all manner of deliciousness.

A blob of butter.
A dollop of crème fraîche.
A drizzle of olive oil.
A dribble of balsamic or sherry vinegar.
A crumbling of blue cheese.
A sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.
A lot of black pepper.
A dash of hot sauce.
A blob of butter, a crumbling of blue cheese, and a dollop of crème fraîche.

You get the idea. Or you can chop them and add them to all manner of other dishes to bring their spectacular loveliness to other ingredients.
Whole grain side dishes
Pan sauces or gravy
Grilled chicken
Roast beef

Whole Roasted Onions

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 5 M
  • 1 H
  • Servings vary
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218°C).

Plonk as few or as many unpeeled whole onions as desired on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum oil or parchment paper. Roast until the papery onion skins are deep golden brown and blistered and the inner layers of onion seem yielding and tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, an hour or longer, depending on the size.

To serve, use a knife to slice across the top of each orb, discarding the top or tossing it in the compost. Serve with a sprinkling of salt. Diners can unpeel the onion on their own, casting the papery onion skins to the side.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Simplicity at it’s finest! I opted to roast these whole onions on my outdoor gas grill. I heated the entire grill with all four burners blazing, then turned two of them off, and the other two down to low. This kept the temperature at a steady 450°F. I placed the unpeeled onions directly on the side with no flame, and grilled for just over an hour until they were soft to the touch. After cooling a bit, I sliced them up, sprinkled them with salt, and ate the onions right on the spot. I couldn’t believe how sweet and tender these were. I chopped up what leftovers I had with grilled broccoli and grilled tomatoes, tossed with prepared couscous, lemon juice, olive oil, feta, and salt and pepper. This is what I like to call a “bounty salad”—essentially anything that’s left over from the farmers market, grilled, and chopped into a salad. These were the perfect addition to the mix, and will be a perfect addition to any burger, taco, burrito, sandwich, light snack—well, you get the point.

This whole roasted onions recipe is so simple, it’s sinful. Just plop a bunch of whole onions on a baking sheet for an hour, and there you have it. Perfectly creamy, delicious, steaming onions ready to be eaten alongside whatever else was in the oven or on the grill. Perfect with just some butter, salt, and lots of black pepper.


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  1. A bit skeptical, I tried it on one onion. It was wonderful! I will no longer slave over a hot wok for half an hour to get sort of good onions. I will use your recipe in the oven! Thank you!

  2. This recipe is simple and to the point. You really can’t go wrong. The onions I chose—sweet Spanish onions—were on the large side, so the roasting time took a few extra minutes. I wasn’t a fan of pulling off the skins, but other than that, the onions were a hit. I had a fresh baguette from the farmers market, and we served the onions on it, along with a mild goat cheese spread.

    1. Beautiful, Amy C. Like you, I appreciate simplicity in foods. (And most other things.) Love your approach to serving these onions. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…!

  3. I would love to try this with red onions and then when they have cooled I was wondering if I could dehydrate them. I think I will give them a try.

  4. Bless your heart! My husband is onion sensitive so this onion-loving girl is reduced to onion powder only. But I’m flying solo today so this is my breakfast (served with scrambled eggs)

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