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A close-up overhead shot of a small bowl of caramelized onions atop a white surface, alongside a gold fork and a striped cloth.

5-Ingredient Jammy Caramelized Onions with Sherry (How to Caramelize Onions)

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Condiments, Techniques and How-Tos
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


As far as I’m concerned, learning how to caramelize onions is an essential kitchen skill for flavor-obsessed home cooks. You can use their rich and jammy sweetness to elevate everything from from grilled burgers to cheesy French onion soup.

This foolproof recipe is my go-to. A nearly hands-off process, the onions slowly cook until browned and caramelly. Finishing with a splash of dry sherry wine helps balance their sweetness with crisp acidity – a Julia Child-approved trick I swear by!

Check the blog post, above, for some of my favorite serving suggestions, along with tons of tips and tricks for success. ♡ Happy cooking!


  • 4 large yellow or sweet onions, thinly sliced (approx. 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup dry sherry (see Recipe Notes, below)


  1. Soften the onions: Add the butter and oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over medium heat (I use a 4-quart braising pan). Once the butter is melted, add the sliced onions, stirring to coat. Cover the pot. Cook 12-15 minutes, until softened and fragrant. The onions shouldn’t require too much attention at this point, but feel free to uncover and stir occasionally.An overhead shot of sliced and softened onions in a white cast iron skillet atop a white marbled surface.
  2. Caramelize the onions: Once softened, uncover the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Season the onions with 2 teaspoons kosher salt, stirring to combine. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, fragrant, and deeply browned, 30-45 minutes more. See the Recipe Notes, below, for a few more helpful pointers.An overhead shot of finished caramelized onions with a wooden spoon in a white skillet atop a white marbled surface.
  3. Deglaze the pan: Once the onions are caramelized, deglaze the skillet. Slowly pour in the dry sherry, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits formed on the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the wine to a simmer, then simmer 2-3 minutes or until reduced. Remove from the heat.An overhead shot of a woman's hand pouring sherry into dark brown caramelized onions in a white skillet atop a white marbled surface.
  4. Serve: Enjoy your caramelized onions immediately! They’re the perfect way to add rich and sweet depth of flavor to practically any dish. Use them to make classic Caramelized Onion Dip or French onion-inspired anything – from the iconic soup to Cheesy French Onion Meatballs or Hearty French Onion Pasta. You can also serve them on a pizza or salad. My personal favorite is a juicy Caramelized Onion Burger. Enjoy!A close-up overhead shot of a small bowl of caramelized onions atop a white surface, alongside a gold fork and a striped cloth.


Jess’ Tips and Tricks:

  • Best onions to use: I typically use yellow onions since I always have them on hand. The truth is most onions have enough sugars to properly caramelize – red onions, white onions, and shallots can all be caramelized. Extra-sweet varieties like Vidalia onions also work exceptionally well for caramelizing, so feel free to grab them if they’re in season!
  • Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine, meaning it is a wine that is “fortified” with a distilled spirit, most often fortified with brandy. While sherry ranges in style, you will want to use dry sherry (often labeled “Fine” or “fino“) for this recipe. Dry sherry is often used in French onion soup (just take a look at Julia Childs’ and Ina Garten’s iconic recipes!), as its crisp flavor helps cut through the rich flavor of the caramelly onions. You should be able to find dry sherry easily in the fortified wine section at your favorite wine or liquor shop. Sherry substitutes. ⇢ If you cannot find dry sherry, you can substitute with dry vermouth or dry, unoaked white wine for this recipe. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol, substitute with an equal amount of chicken stock with a splash of apple cider vinegar whisked into it.
  • Tips for perfectly caramelized onions: Caramelizing onions is a pretty hands-off process, but there are a few tricks that will help ensure a perfect result. Monitor the onions pretty closely as the cook and be sure to adjust heat as needed to allow the onions to caramelize slowly and prevent burning. When you stir the onions, try to scrape up any browned bits formed at the bottom of the pan; they’re full of flavor! The closer the onions get to reaching caramelization, the more often you will want to stir to promote even browning and prevent burning.

Storage and Freezing: Caramelized onions will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week. You can also store them in a freezer container for up to 3 months. I love using these freezer trays for the perfect small grab-and-go portions.