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Instant Pot Caramelized Onions | Quick and Easy

These Instant Pot Caramelized Onions are the perfect example of sometimes you’ve gotta take the easy way out. Keep reading to find out why.

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

When I started my clean eating diet way of life, one of the challenges was to make everything taste great. I didn’t want to be serving my family blah, bland food just because I was cutting a bunch of stuff out. (Check out my Free PDF of Top 10 Foods to eat and avoid!)

If you’ve ever cooked caramelized onions before, then you know they elevate the taste of any dish. That golden brown, buttery, rich flavor adds depth, flavor, and sophistication to all kinds of meals like French onion soup, roasted vegetables, or caramelized onion flatbread.

But here’s the problem. Traditional caramelized onions take a long time to make. And a fair amount of babysitting. I needed a fast and more efficient way to make them. Instant Pot caramelized onions to the rescue! I particularly like them tossed with my Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings. (Talk about elevating the taste of a dish! Wow!)

How Do Onions Caramelize?

Caramelizing onions is an interesting scientific process. As the onions heat up, they release the sugars naturally found in the onions. Then the sugars and softer onion go through a process called the Maillard reaction, which leads to browning. This results in that rich, sweet flavor associated with caramelized onions.

Onions Unpeeled Vertical

But this process takes time. So I experimented with my pressure cooker and discovered that Instant Pot caramelized onions could produce lovely tender and flavorful onions that I could use on burgers, pizzas, and all kinds of dishes.

Are Instant Pot Caramelized Onions as Good as Traditional?

As with most things in life, there’s a bit of give and take here. Instant Pot caramelized onions are so much faster and easier than the traditional method. But… they lack a bit of the deep brown color often associated with caramelized onions.

However, they taste amazing! You get that same soft, tender texture. That same sweet richness. And the lovely luxurious feel that you get with traditional caramelized onions.

In fact, I did a blind taste test with my family. Eyes closed, I had them try the Instant Pot caramelized onions and the traditional ones. No one could tell a difference. Everyone loved them!

Instant Pot Caramelized onions sliced onions ingredients

So the only difference is that deep color. I attempt to make up for that in this pressure cooker caramelized onions recipe by adding a bit of balsamic vinegar and a bit of brown sugar. It certainly helps with the color but does fall a bit short. You’ll get a slightly deeper color, but not quite the depth you’ll get with the stovetop onions.

The trade-off is worth it for me. I can have delicious Instant Pot caramelized onions done in about 10 minutes. And that’s a lot better than spending an hour babysitting them on the cooktop.

How Long Do You Pressure Cook Caramelized Onions?

It’s all about the speed. This is why make Instant Pot caramelized onions! They only pressure cook for 4 minutes! That’s right – 4 minutes. Then a quick sauté and you’re done.

So instead of spending an hour standing over your cooktop stirring and stirring onions, you’ll toss them into your Instant Pot, secure the lid, and pressure cook them for just a few minutes, followed by a quick pressure release. And presto! You’ve got delicious, sweet, rich, caramelized onions.

Ingredients in Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

  • Two Pounds of Yellow Onions – you can also use Vidalia onions for more sweetness (see full recipe below)
  • Cooking Oil – olive oil or avocado oil work well
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper – to taste
  • Optional Ingredients – butter, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar (or coconut sugar). These are not necessary for taste, but add to the richness of color.

How to Make Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

  1. Peel the onions. Slice each onion lengthwise, then into thin half circles.
  2. Add the oil, onions, salt, and pepper to the Instant Pot inner pot.
  3. Secure the lid and turn the valve to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes then immediately release the pressure.
  4. Drain the onions into a colander and wipe out the pot. Place the pot back into the Instant pot and turn on to saute.
  5. When the pot is hot, add the onions and butter, brown sugar and vinegar (if using) back to the pot. Saute 2-3 minutes or until the onions turn light brown.
  6. Remove and serve in your favorite recipe.

So, yes, I have decided that sometimes it’s ok to take the easy way out. This Instant Pot Caramelized onions recipe is a quick and easy way to elevate your cooking game. You don’t need to tell anyone just how easy it is!

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Instant Pot Caramalized Onions

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions are a quick and easy way to elevate your cooking game. Ready in about 10 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds yellow onions (approximately 3-4 large onions)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • ¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel the onions. Slice each onion lengthwise, then into thin half circles.
  2. Add the oil, onions, salt, and pepper to the Instant Pot inner pot.
  3. Secure the lid and turn the valve to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes then immediately release the pressure.
  4. Drain the onions into a colander and wipe out the pot. Place the pot back into the Instant pot and turn on to saute.
  5. When the pot is hot, add the onions and butter, brown sugar and vinegar (if using) back to the pot. Saute 2-3 minutes or until the onions turn light brown.
  6. Remove and serve in your favorite recipe.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 109Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
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