12 Hour Braised Onions

There are moments when the Universe throws a distinct pattern into my online adventures.  Take the day that I saw Barb at Vino Luci Style’s post about French Onion Soup. In the post she provided a Sur laTable recipe for slow braised onions.  Then over on Twitter, SmithBites was also talking about her love of the very same braised onions.  In my world, two things make for a pattern.  I know it’s not empirically sound, but it works for me.

So I heeded the Universe’s pattern, bought a boatload of onions, and got to braising.  As I type this, my onions are still doing their thing in the crockpot. It’s been almost 12 hours since I started them.  Clearly, while this is an easy recipe it’s far from quick.  But the beauty is that it makes enough braised onions to use for soups, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, or whatever you can imagine.

Actually, I raided the crockpot a few hours ago and pulled out a bunch of onions to add to the chicken casserole I was making for dinner.  After slicing up about a dozen onions, I had no desire to chop up another one.


In the time that this post has been sitting in my ‘draft’ folder, I have started making braised onions on a regular basis.  Every other week or so I tie the crock pot up for day so that I can have a steady supply of these.  I have found that I use them interchangeably in recipes where onions are called for.  These onions go so quickly that they have evaded my camera lens.  The picture at the top of the post was some other recipe entirely, but it was the only photo of onions in my library.  Deb at SmithBites has some lovely pictures of them in her post.  So maybe you can mosey on over there and take a look.

Butter Braised Onions

Adapted from Sur la Table’s Gifts Cooks Love

BAH Note: Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, or have onion goggles, I recommend using a mandolin to slice the onions.  I give a range of how many onions to use.  Start with the least amount and see how much space you have left in your crockpot.  If you’ve got room for more, by all means add them.  I didn’t think about this and came very close to having more onions than my crockpot could accommodate.  Thankfully, the lid is somewhat domed so I was able to cram them all in.  In hindsight, perhaps that’s why it took mine over 12 hours to braise.

  • 8 to 12 onions –  sweet, red, or a combination, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • kosher salt

Slice the butter into tablespoons and place them on the bottom of your crockpot insert.  Add the onions and thyme.  Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, stir the onions.  Replace the cover and cook on high, without stirring, for another 6 to 8 hours until the onions are tender.  If you still have a lot of liquid in the crockpot, remove the lid and cook on high for an additional 1 to 2 hours or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Turn the crockpot off and let the onions sit uncovered for 1 hour to cool.

Transfer to quart jars or plastic containers and store in the refrigerator.

{printble recipe}