Pressure Cooker Caramelized Onions Recipe

Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

Why This Recipe Works

  • The pressure cooker cooks at a higher temperature to produce onions that are caramelized in a fraction of the time of a traditional recipe.
  • Baking soda speeds up the Maillard reaction.

Due to reader complaints and further testing, we no longer recommend this method for caramelizing onions. For a quick method that yields better texture and flavor, try our 15-minute caramelized onions. For best results, however, we strongly recommend caramelizing onions the traditional way, low and slow.

Recipe Details

Pressure Cooker Caramelized Onions Recipe

Active 10 mins
Total 35 mins
Serves 16 servings
Makes 2 cups caramelized onions


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces; about 90g)

  • 3 pounds yellow or mixed onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick (1.4kg; about 4 to 5 large onions) (see notes)

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking soda

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Melt butter in an electric or stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat. Add onions and baking soda and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onions slightly soften and start to release liquid, about 3 minutes. Seal pressure cooker and heat to high pressure (12.5 to 15 psi). Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. Release pressure by allowing steam to vent, then remove lid.

  2. Continue cooking with lid off, stirring constantly, until liquid inside has completely reduced and the onions are deep brown and sticky, about 5 minutes. Caramelized onions can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or frozen for several months.

Special equipment

Electric or stovetop pressure cooker


Yellow onions are your best all-purpose bet for caramelized onions, but a mix of yellow, sweet (e.g., Vidalia), and red onions, as well as shallots, produces an even more complex flavor.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
78 Calories
5g Fat
9g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 78
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 155mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 143mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)