Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Slow cooker caramelized onions – for those times when you don’t want to spend an hour caramelizing them on the stovetop – these cook while you sleep!

Slow cooker caramelized onions - for those times when you don't want to spend an hour caramelizing them on the stovetop - these cook while you sleep! Get the easy recipe on RachelCooks.com!

I’m head-over-heels in love with caramelized onions. If I’m at a new restaurant and I see a menu item with caramelized onions, there’s a very good chance that’s what I’ll be ordering. They’re like candy, so sweet and flavorful. But often, I’m hindered by the fact that they take a good 45 minutes to an hour to prepare, with some amount of babysitting and monitoring.

My neighbor and I were sitting outside discussing this the other day and we decided I would try making them in the slow cooker. Same idea, right? Low, slow, gradual process.

Onions in Slow Cooker Image

So I turned on my slow cooker before I went to bed and woke up to the smell of onions. (Possibly one drawback of this method, but I was okay with the smell.)

I also woke up to caramelized onion….soup. Okay so, we’re almost there. One of two things can happen next:

  • Continue to cook for 3-5 hours with the lid ajar to evaporate some of the liquid.

OR

  • Drain them and be done with it.

Slow cooker caramelized onions - for those times when you don't want to spend an hour caramelizing them on the stovetop - these cook while you sleep! Get the easy recipe on RachelCooks.com!

I continued to cook my slow cooker caramelized onions for about 5 hours to achieve a nice thick consistency, almost jam-like. I’m really super happy with the result! They’re not 100% the same, so if you’re a purist, this recipe might not be for you, but I used these in a recipe (coming in June!) and you couldn’t tell the difference one bit. I’ll definitely be using this method again in the future.

Used in this recipe: 

Slow cooker caramelized onions - for those times when you don't want to spend an hour caramelizing them on the stovetop - these cook while you sleep! Get the easy recipe on RachelCooks.com!

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Slow cooker caramelized onions – for those times when you don’t want to spend an hour caramelizing them on the stovetop – these cook while you sleep!

Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 onions, sliced in half moons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours (I do it overnight).
  2. If desired, cook for another 3-5 hours with the lid ajar to evaporate the extra liquid and thicken the onions. This will also result in a darker, sweeter onion. If you’re in a rush, drain the extra liquid from the onions.
  3. Store covered in fridge for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 4 months.
All images and text ©Rachel Cooks.

Verdict: I was super happy with how these turned out. I’m not giving up the traditional way of preparing them, but this is a fantastic alternative (especially if you want to make a large batch).
Husband’s take: He had these slow cooker caramelized onions in the recipe I used them in and I heard no complaints. He’s picky about his onions too, so it’s a good test.
Changes I would make: None!
Difficulty: Easy.

PS: Try the caramelized onions in this pumpkin macaroni and cheese!

Slow cooker caramelized onions - for those times when you don't want to spend an hour caramelizing them on the stovetop - these cook while you sleep! Get the easy recipe on RachelCooks.com!
When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
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9 comments

  1. This recipe couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I just received a 50 pound bag of fresh from the Georgia ground Vidalia onions. I had no idea how I was going to use the last 25 pounds I wasn’t able to hand out to my family. I know what I’m doing with them now. Thank you so much for this recipe. I can’t wait to get them cooked.

  2. Good idea! I love them too but never go to the work of making them-problem solved.

  3. sounds great

  4. These look amazing! Such a hands-off way to get great flavor :)

  5. ahhhh how I loooove caramelized onions!!!!!

  6. This is GENIUS. Where has this been my whole life?

  7. are caramelized onions not the total best!?! love this low-maintainence way of preparing them, this is a keeper Rach! xo

  8. Wow, great idea! Going to definitely try this one.
    I have an auto heat feature on my slow cooker that cooks on high for a few hours and then switches to low heat. Wondering if this may help cut down on cooking time (start them in the morning for use that night)…

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