Make fuss-free caramelized onions in your slow cooker or electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot). No more standing over a stove stirring onions!
What Are Caramelized Onions?
Caramelization is when sugar is browned to produce a dark brown color and nut flavor. Onions have natural sugars so if you cook them slowly over a long period of time, the natural sugars will caramelize. The end result is flavorful onions that can eaten as-is or reused in other recipes.
Why Make Caramelized Onions In The Slow Cooker or Electric Pressure Cooker
The main reason to make caramelized onions in your slow cooker or pressure cooker is because it’s so easy! The traditional way to make caramelized onions involves standing over a stove constantly stirring the onions so they don’t burn. Here you just let the appliance do the work. There’s pluses & minuses to using either one. Using the slow cooker in particular makes it truly set it & forget it. I like to start mine at night so come morning the onions are ready to go. For the electric pressure cooker, there’s an additional step or two but it cooks a lot faster than the slow cooker.
What Type Of Onions To Use
The good news is that you can use your preferred onion whether it be white, yellow, or even red. All onions caramelize. I used white onions because they were on sale at the grocery store this week.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Use These Onions In Recipes
Sky is the limit when it comes to using caramelized onions. Of course you can eat them straight up by themselves. Most people will add them to foods like hamburgers, pizzas, sandwiches or even salads to add extra flavor. If you’re looking for a use, these onions are great in my low-carb/keto French onion soup recipe.
Slow Cooker – Cooking Off The Excess Liquid
Onions release natural juices while cooking and when you use your slow cooker the liquid has no where to evaporate. As a result, over the course of the first 7-9 hours, you’ll notice the onions will be sitting in a small pool of liquid. Don’t worry, you can easily cook this off. Around the 9-hour mark, place the lid to the slow cooker slightly ajar. Let the lid remain this way for the last few hours of slow cooking to evaporate the excess liquid off the onions. Or you can just wait and strain the liquid from the onions with a slotted spoon. For the electric pressure cooker, you will have to manually drain the excess liquid as explained below.
Electric Pressure Cooker – Straining The Excess Liquid
First off, if you make this in your electric pressure cooker, it takes a heck of a lot less time to cook. Forget 10 hours, it’s done in less than 20 minutes. But there’s slightly more work than if you were to make the caramelized onions in the slow cooker. After the electric pressure cooker as pressurized and cooked the onions, you will need to strain the excess liquid and then return the onions to the pressure cooker and saute them until they’re caramelized to your liking.
Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions VIDEO:
- 2 pounds onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
- Pinch salt
- Add the onions to the slow cooker. Add oil or butter and salt. Toss until onions are evenly coated.
- Cook LOW 10-12 hours.
- Season with salt to your liking.
Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)
- Add onions and oil/butter to the pressure cooker.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set manual, high pressure to 5 minutes. When done, quick release pressure.
- Strain liquid from onions. Add onions back to the pressure cooker. Turn on the sauté mode and cook the onions, stirring constantly, until they’re caramelized, approx 5 minutes.
- Season with salt to your liking.
Refrigerate covered for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
See notes about removing excess liquid when using the slow cooker.
This recipe is for plain-Jane basic caramelized onions. You can add in ingredients like a tsp of balsamic vinegar or brown sugar.
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