The Simple Addition For Making Caramelized Onions When You're Pressed For Time

bowl with caramelized onions
bowl with caramelized onions - Liudmyla Chuhunova/Shutterstock

Caramelizing onions turns these veggies' raw, sharp taste into a flavor that's instead mild, sweet, and delightful. While you may not want the harshness of uncooked onions in your dish, caramelized strands make the perfect accompaniment to pasta, burgers, and hummus. But as tasty as it may be, this ingredient isn't always the quickest one to whip up. Cooking these sweet onions can set you back almost an hour, since you generally need to heat them low and slow over the stove.

But one simple ingredient (if it can even count as an ingredient) can significantly speed up your time spent sweating in the kitchen: water. The main reason you can't crank up the heat when caramelizing onions normally is that they can burn easily, which kind of ruins the golden-brown sweetness you're going for. But if you add a little water to your pan, it's much harder for the sliced veggies to burn, so you can turn the heat up a few notches and shorten your cooking time. Plus, the water will mix together with any moisture leaking from your onions, which creates a sugary liquid that can allow the flavors to evenly disperse in your pan.

Read more: 13 Unexpected Ingredients To Elevate Lasagna

Steam Or Scrape Your Way To Quick Caramelized Onions

spatula in caramelized onions
spatula in caramelized onions - Adefinlay/Getty Images

While adding water to your pan can significantly shorten your cooking time, you'll still want to keep a close eye on your onions, just like you would with the regular caramelizing method. There are two directions you can go in here. One involves essentially steaming the onions, so you'll want to add about half a cup of water to your pan along with everything else at medium-high heat. Then you'll cover your pan when you see bubbles in the water, and take the lid off to stir and let the water evaporate when the veggies are soft.

However, you can use less water by adding two tablespoons in an uncovered pan every time the onions seem close to burning. You have leeway to use high heat with this method, but again, watch your veggies to make sure you deploy water frequently enough. After pouring it in each time, scrape any brown bits off the bottom of your pan to avoid any charred flavor making it into your final product. And if you want to amp up the flavor of your veggies here, feel free to sub in your favorite broth or wine instead of water for this technique. In about half the time of the regular cooking method (or possibly even less), you'll end up with soft strands of sweet onions.

Read the original article on Tasting Table