Gluten Free/ Slow Cooker/ Vegetables/ Vegetarian

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions ~ After you do the work of cutting all the onions, let your slow cooker do the real hard part of caramelizing them. Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions ~ The Complete SavoristDo you love caramelized onions? I surely do. I hate making them though. 45 minutes standing at the stove stirring more than frequently, but not quite constantly is tedious (unless I am listening to an audiobook.)

I have read about and seen on Pinterest that they can be done in the slow cooker.  To say that piqued my interest would be an understatement.  I filed it in the back of my mind and went about my business.

You might have notice I haven’t been posting regularly and in quantity. I went through a major burn out with blogging. It’s a lot more work than you might think. I let February go on by with minimal effort and got my head back in the game for March. Illness came in March and working with a sick kiddo was hard.  Also I decided to do some major house cleaning on my site (on the inside, stuff you can’t see) and with my social media. I have almost finished that stuff, as it has taken longer than I ever imagined. Then there’s the new venture I will be doing along with my blog (more on that later.) But the past two weeks I have gotten back in the kitchen and have been writing recipes again.  YAY!!!

Talk about taking the long way to a point…well anyway, I have been writing recipes and several have caramelized onions as key ingredient. I knew I did not want to go through the process of making them for each recipe. Nor could I do a huge batch at once in my pan because we all know it takes a mountain of raw onions to get a molehill sized amount of caramelized onions.

Then I remembered the mighty slow cooker sitting in my cupboard.  Why not? I could do a HUGE batch, have enough for all the recipes (and subsequent munching that would inevitably occur by virtue of just making them) and not have to stir for nearly an hour. Win-win.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions ~ The Complete Savorist

I pride myself on not crying when I cut onions, but my contact prescription has expired and I have been wearing my glasses 24/7. Well, after 4 pounds (6 large onions), I was weeping like I had just seen Goose die for the first time on Top Gun. (Know that reference?) So when you make this, prepare to cry or wear your contacts.


After the onions were cut, smooth sailing. I left them utterly alone for 6 hours. I put them on before I went to bed, and when I woke, I stirred them.  Do not stir them before the 6th hour. Hold out until hour 7 or 8 if your low setting on your slow cooker is actually low. Mine is not low, so I needed to stir. At hour 8, I stirred again and left the lid slightly open so the water that released during cooking would evaporate. Hours 10 through 12, I just left it alone, peaked in throughout the clear lid and restrained myself from sampling. At hour 12 I got distracted and came back close to hour 13 and turned it off, gave it a final stir and let it cool. Perfect!

I did not do anything to these, no herbs, no pepper, no sugar, or balsamic. You’re free to do any or all of these things, but since I was using these in different recipes, I wanted plain unseasoned onions. This made a bit over 2 cups of cooked onions, it might have made more, but as I mentioned, there was some snacking along the way.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions ~ The Complete Savorist

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Author: Michelle


  • 4 lb (6 large) onions; sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter; melted
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  1. Slice the onions and add them to a large bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in the slow cooker (or however)
  3. Add the olive oil, a bit at a time to the bowl of sliced onions along with a bit of salt at a time and mix well by hand.
  4. Continue until all the oil and salt has been mixed into the onions and all the onion pieces are separated. Cover.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours; stir well and replace the lid
  6. If there is a significant amount of water, keep the lid slightly open, allowing the moisture to escape.
  7. Cook for a total of 12-13 hours.
  8. Serve as needed.

Recipe Notes

Additional add-ins;
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions ~ The Complete SavoristThe onions ~ The Complete SavoristSpooned up, Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions ~ The Complete SavoristSlow Cooker Caramelized Onions ~ The Complete Savorist



Thank you for sharing!

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  • Reply
    allie @ Through Her Looking Glass
    April 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    These are so gorgeous. I will have to bribe my husband to cut the onions for me. Maybe a steak and cheese hoagie with caramelized onions? That should do the trick. Love these are done in the crockpot, genius. Love your site!

    • Reply
      April 13, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you Allie. Whatever you can use to bribe your hubby, I’d do it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sandi Gaertner (@sandigtweets)
    April 13, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    These look heavenly. I totally understand how burn out can happen blogging. I missed all of the yumminess, so I am glad you are back in the kitchen 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
    April 14, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I love doing this! Caramelized onions add so much to just about any dish you are making!

    • Reply
      April 14, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you Kristen and I agree.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Love this idea of just throwing onions in the crock pot! Thanks for posting, keep up the great work with your blog! 🙂

    • Reply
      April 14, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Thank you for the encouragement Josie!

  • Reply
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      July 18, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Just wondering. I don’t use oil of any kind in my cooking. So you think I could use a veggie broth instead of the oils and it still work? Thank you.

      • Reply
        Michelle De La Cerda
        July 18, 2016 at 9:33 pm

        Do you use butter? If so, use only butter, otherwise, I would try the beef broth. They’d have a bit of a “beefy” flavor, but I know I’d still love that.

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