Braised Onions

Low CarbVegetarianOnionVegetables

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

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Braised onions are the side of choice with beef Bourguignon but they are also wonderful with roast beef and other stews. Trader Joe’s sells a pack of multi-colored pearl onions that cook up beautifully as braised onions.

The catch? You have to peel them, which requires blanching first, then cutting off the ends so you can slip off the peels.

Whole Pearl Onions

Blanch whole pearl onions to make the skins easy to remove

You can of course skip this first step by using pre-peeled frozen pearl onions. I can tell you that if you do choose the blanche and peel approach, it is well worth it. These onions are delicious.

You can prepare braised pearl onions two ways – “brown braised” in which the onions are first sautéed in butter to brown, or “white braised”, in which the onions are simply braised then cream is often added and reduced.

Braised Onions Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 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)

 

Method

1 Blanch the onions: 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.

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

pearl onions after blanching

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.

cooking pearl onions

3 Uncover and boil off excess liquid: Uncover, boil off excess liquid, and fold in another Tbsp of butter if you wish.

4 (optional) 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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Recipe from Julia's Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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9 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • 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.

    JT

  • 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!

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