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Frying pan of caramelized onions

Caribbean Style Caramelized Onions

Learn how to caramelize onions and cook them up Caribbean style
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Caribbean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 46kcal
Author Charla


  • 1 large Spanish onion or 5-6 regular onions, yellow, red, white etc..
  • 1 tablespoon dairy free butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 4 sprigs thyme stems removed
  • 2 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon homemade browning sauce optional and see recipe for link
  • ½ teaspoon pink salt
  • hot sauce to taste


  • Peel the onion(s), slice in half and make vertical slices on both onions halves

  • On medium heat melt and coat the bottom of a shallow skillet with the dairy free butter and oil.

  • Add your onions to the pan and proceed to saute them

  • Evenly distribute the onions in the pan and let them sit for a few minutes before stirring them again. If your stove top cooks quite hot then you may need to adjust the heat to medium-low

  • After 10 minutes, sprinkle in some pink salt and a splash of browning (if you are using it).

  • Let the onions cook for about 40 minutes or until they take on a rich brown hue, stirring every few minutes allowing the onions to stick a little so they brown and using a spatula to scrape off that caramelization. If the onions seems like they are burning then replenish with a splash of water and repeat this cycle.

  • Once the onions have caramelized add the tomatoes, thyme leaves, black pepper, hot sauce. 

  • Let the onions cook down further for another 5-10 minutes


  • Cut the onions vertically as they will hold their shape much better.
  • Make sure the onions are not sliced thinly as they are more likely to wilt and burn very quickly. About ⅛ inch or slightly thicker is desirable.
  • Use a combination of butter and oil. Butter tends to burn a lot quicker, using both is a healthy balance with a high smoke point.
  • Don't overcrowd the pan because you run the risk of producing more water which will steam your onions making them take longer to caramelize. My 28cm skillet manages to hold one giant Spanish onion.
  • Keep the temperature constant where possible, avoid high heat. The heat should be medium or medium low depending on how hot your stove gets. You don't want your onions to burn.
  • Make sure to de-glaze your onions with water if they look like they are burning and re-hydrate them if needed.
  • Don't remove the onions from the pan too early, allow them to soften and caramelize for at least 30 minutes, try to resist the urge to cut corners.


Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg