Sweet and savory Instant Pot® Caramelized Onions – www.instantlydelcious.com – Instantly Delicious

Instant Pot® Caramelized Onions - www.instantlydelicious.com

One of the first recipes I shared on Instantly Delicious was a recipe for Instant Pot® Caramelized Onions.  It was a popular recipe, but I received a lot of comments that people had problems.  I did a quick test and one time it worked, another it didn’t.  I decided that since I didn’t have time to work on the recipe, I would just take it down until I could fix it.  Since then, I have received several emails asking where the recipe went.  In my haste, I deleted the post without saving my work (story of my life), so I had to start again.  I am kind of glad that I did, so I wouldn’t continue testing something that wasn’t working.  I did a lot of reading and revisited the Serious Eats post for Instant Pot® caramelized onions, which I originally read to see if I could learn why my method wasn’t working.  However, there were mixed reviews for that recipe, too.  I decided I would borrow the addition of baking soda to speed up the browning process (Maillard reaction), and rethink how I cooked the onions entirely.  I am really pleased with the results and am ready to share them again.
My original recipe called for a long pressure cooking time.  I found that I lost control of the texture, and the whole thing turned mushy.   For this recipe, I only cooked the onions for 5 minutes under pressure.  Then, I sautéed the onions for 20 minutes with a pinch of baking soda, stirring every 5 minutes or so, to scrape up the bottom.  I also sliced my onions a little thicker – about 1/8 in thick.  This helped the onions to maintain some of their structure, as well.  The finished caramelized onions were sweet and soft, but still had a bit of texture.
Instant Pot® Caramelized Onions
Makes 1 1/2 cups

4 large yellow onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of baking soda


1. Combine butter, onions, salt, and pepper in the Instant Pot®. Lock the lid, making sure the valve is in the sealing position. Set to manual high-pressure for 5 minutes.  When finished, switch the valve to venting.  

2. When safe to open, remove lid, and set the pot to saute.  Add a pinch of baking soda and set a timer for 20 minutes.  Stir the onions every 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  After 20 minutes, remove from heat. When cool, store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for about a week. 



Melissa Meagor
10/21/2018 09:30:03 am

I’m so happy I came upon this recipe for the instant pot. I love carmelized onions, and this is a much quicker method. I love putting them over Bree cheese, and eating with crackers.


11/21/2018 03:36:46 pm

YAY! Over brie with crackers sounds awesome! I will have to try that.


11/11/2018 05:47:13 pm

Hi Julie,
I’m slicing onions now, and am wondering if maybe I should add a little water to the mix in my 8qt Duo? Also, what setting did you saute at? My machine will default to 30, because that’s what I used the last time I sauteed. Thank you!


11/21/2018 03:35:55 pm

I am sorry – just seeing this. You do not have to add water. Use the default setting, which I believe is medium. Hope they turned out.


12/6/2018 12:13:42 pm

Hi Julie! Thank you for posting this recipe for caramelized onions. You mentioned slicing the onions about 1/8 inch thick but the photo shows slices that seem larger, 1/4 inch to an inch wide. Could you clarify please? Thank you!


12/6/2018 02:06:53 pm

Hi Wendy,

Slice 1/8th of an inch or somewhere in between. Not sure why they look so big in the photos. I might not have been super precise when slicing.


3/1/2019 06:19:22 pm

The photo shows some onions that are still white or yellow. That is not a caramelized onion. Sorry. But they need to be much browner to be truly caramelized. Thanks for the great site, though!


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