Beer-Charged Caramelized Onions

January 30,2013 by 6 Comments

Bitch Creek ESB
It doesn’t always take a growler-full when cooking with beer. Sometimes just a dash will do. A small amount of the “secret ingredient” can leave your guests mystified and delighted. What IS that!?

Sriracha anyone?

This recipe only uses 1 tablespoon of beer but it turbo charges caramelized onions. Yes, caramelized onions. Those brown delicious wormy things that go well on just about everything from fajitas to burgers to pancakes.

Here is a simple recipe for beer caramelized onions:

  • 4 medium sized yellow onions
  • 1 tbs beer (see below)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Slice the onions about 1/4″ thick. Reader tip: If you slice a lot of veggies, especially onions, I highly recommend a V-Slicer. I was able to cut all 4 onions to a perfect size in under a minute. The possibilities are endless with this thing.

Melt the butter and oil in a non-stick skillet over high heat. Stir in the salt and brown sugar. Add the onions and stir often for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for at least 40 minutes. Yes it takes that long but it’s worth it!

Onions in a skillet

Before the magical transformation...

Caramelized onions in a pan


When the onions are fully browned, pull the skillet off the heat and stir in the beer. Don’t add so much beer that it turns into a sauce, but don’t skimp on it either. I found 1 tbs to be the sweet spot but a little more wouldn’t hurt.

All done!

Let’s talk about the beer for a sec. I went with Bitch Creek Extra Special Brown as seen in the picture above. It’s a great beer and added some nice toasty flavors to the onions. It’s a more bitter brown ale so you might want to use something more balanced towards the malt, but since I didn’t cook the beer it didn’t make the onions overly bitter.

The finished product

The finished product

I decided to eat the onions with pork chops made with homemade bread crumbs. It’s a great combination, but you the onions will go well on many things. How about getting really hard-core and putting them over beer brats?

You can even store them in the fridge for about a week.

Now go make some beer caramelized onions and eat them as you watch the Ravens win the Super Bowl this Sunday (note: If you read this after the Super Bowl and the Ravens lost, well, that is embarrassing).

About Billy Broas

He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

6 responses to “Beer-Charged Caramelized Onions”

  1. Whoa. Delicious. I know exactly what I’m going to do with those.

    And, Go Ravens. I guess. I’m a huge Packers fan so there’s no way in hell I’m rooting for the 49ers.

    • Billy Broas says:

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend!

      Glad you like them Maggie, and now that you’ve hinted at it, what is your plan for these bad boys?

  2. Oh–they’re going in a French onion soup à la Julia Child. I’ve been wanting to figure out a way to get beer in the recipe. If it shows up on the blog, I’ll be sure to link back to you.

    Have fun watching the Super Bowl!

  3. James says:

    Great recipe, though I might up the beer flavor component by de-glazing the pan partway through with more beer….especially if we were talking beer and brats. The bits that adhere to the bottom of the pan is full of flavor, so make sure and get it all off and incorporated back into the dish when you de-glaze!! Nicely done…cheers!

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