Directions

  1. Place a large, heavy, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high flame. Add butter and olive oil. When butter begins to sizzle, add onions and a couple big pinches of salt. Stir well to coat onions with fat.

  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, while onions give off liquid, go limp and turn from white to translucent to pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Once most of the moisture is gone, they will start to brown and smell heavenly. Continue to cook another 15 to 25 minutes, stirring onions often as they brown, adjusting the heat so they don’t burn, and scraping up the darker, flavor-packed caramelized areas that form on the bottom of the pan or pot.

  4. Doneness is your call: caramelized onions can be golden brown, medium brown, or deep brown, with the latter being the richest and most deeply flavored. Use immediately, or let onions cool and refrigerate for up to 10 days. Or freeze them in freezer bags or airtight containers, where they’ll keep for months. Makes about 4 cups.

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Onions caramelizing in a cast iron pan and stirred with a wooden spoon. Collage of four stages of caramelizing onions.