Braised Onions

Pearl onions braised with butter and chicken stock, great side dish for roast beef or stews.

  • Yield: Serves 4.



  • 1 pound pearl onions, about 1 inch in diameter
  • Butter
  • Chicken stock or water (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar (for brown-braised onions)


1 Blanch the onions in boiling water for one minute. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Slice off the ends; slip off the skins.

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If you are using frozen pearl onions, defrost and drain them before the next step.

2a For "white-braised" onions:
Put onions in one layer in a saucepan with chicken stock or water coming up halfway. Add 1 Tbsp butter, season lightly, cover, and simmer slowly 25 minutes, or until tender.

2b For "brown-braised" onions:
Before braising, sauté peeled onions in one layer in butter until lightly browned. Then add liquid, salt, and 1 teaspoon of sugar; cover and simmer slowly 25 minutes, or until tender.

3 Uncover, boil off excess liquid, and fold in another Tbsp of butter if you wish. For "creamed" onions add some heavy cream to white-braised onions when they are just tender. Simmer several minutes until thickened, basting.

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  • Larry

    Elise, I finally got around to trying this recipe. I’ve never had brown braised onions and they definitely piqued my interest…they were so good! I was definitely surprised :). can’t wait to try the creamed version, as I’ve never had creamed onions, either. thanks!

  • Tim

    I made this for my boyfriend with a few other recipes from this site–incredible! He is not a fan of onions, but a few bites in, he was in love.

    Highly recommended for anyone who wants a nice, warm dish!

  • joant

    Braised onions!

    At the very end…I added a drop of white wine and reduced it. Yummy.

    So now…let me see…Elise’s braised onions OR Elise’s caramelized onions.

    Braised or caramelized; Caramelized or braised.
    What’s a girl to do?

    Me thinks I have to caramelize some onions as well this week, Elise. Both are winners. :)

    Now…if I could only stop eating chocolate…I’d lose some weight with all these vegetable dishes of yours.

    Thanks for another goodie.


  • Megan

    These look delicious! I’m wondering if you think this could be adapted to a slow cooker / crock pot. I’d like to have these as a side for a vegetarian meal I’m preparing, but I fear that all of the burners will be taken. Do you think they’d turn out alright if the braising was done in a slow cooker? Thanks!

    I don’t see why not. Sounds like a good idea! ~Elise

  • Nancy

    I am trying the beef bourguignon and will add the braised onions also. What else would you suggest to go with this meal?

    Potatoes, either mashed or boiled, and a green vegetable. ~Elise

  • Lindsay

    Made these as a side to go with Mother’s Day T bone steaks. Also used the frozen variety. Delicious!

  • samantha

    Hi Elise, I am getting into cooking and love all your recipes. I have a real novice question. I have seen references to “blanching” vegetables. What is this and how do I do it?

    Hi Samantha, great question. Blanching means dipping into boiling water from anywhere from a few seconds to a couple minutes. The idea is not to cook through, otherwise that would be called boiling. ~Elise

    • Michele W.

      After dipping into boiling water for needed amount of time you will place what you are blanching into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. I bet explaining that “The idea is not to cook through, otherwise that would be called boiling” side-tracked her and the ice bath was just an oversight. I hope this comment is not taken to be inappropriate as that is not my intent. I will definitely be fixing these for my hubby, he loves all veggies.

  • Anna

    My husband and I made the onions on New Year’s Eve as a side dish with Filet Mignon. They were so tender and delicious. We really loved this recipe!! We will most certainly make this dish again.