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How to Caramelize Onions for Sandwiches, Steak, and More

Caramelized onions are known for imparting a rich, slightly sweet taste to whatever it is you are eating – from steaks to sandwiches and beyond. Making your own caramelized onions at home is easy enough, but the process takes patience and a very watchful eye if you don’t want to end up with burnt onion bits. Below is a 5-step plan for cooking delicious, perfectly browned caramelized onions on your stovetop. Best of all, it only takes 30 minutes from prep to finish!

1. Peel and Prep

Remove the skin from the onions before cutting them in half through the root end. Then start slicing them up lengthwise into ¼ to? inch slices. Keep in mind that a thinner slice will be quicker to caramelize, but much easier to burn—so watch your onion accordingly.

2. Ready the Skillet

Heat a cast-iron pan or skillet over medium heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of butter or any oil of your choosing.

3. Sauté and Stir

When the oil begins to shimmer, toss the onions in the pan one handful at a time—adding more slices as soon as the last bunch begins to soften. Once all the onion slices have been added to the skillet, continue cooking them over medium heat while stirring frequently.

4. Watch and Wait

Keep a close eye on the onions and lower the heat immediately if you see (or smell) them beginning to burn. As for cooking time, stovetop caramelization can be achieved in roughly 20 minutes—but you’ll know for sure when it takes on a rich, golden hue.

5. Add Finishing Touches

At this point, your onions are ready to serve but feel free to continue the caramelizing action for another 5 minutes for an even deeper, sweeter flavor. Ready to eat? Add caramelized onions to sandwiches, burgers, pizza, or anything else that tickles your fancy.

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