How to Cook Red Onions

Sweet, juicy and with more than enough sulfur to make you cry, red onions add a distinct flavor to many dishes. While their sweetness makes sliced red onions a tasty topping for your hamburger, and chopped red onions a tasty raw ingredient in salsa or stuffing, you can also cook and serve red onions as a healthy vegetable side dish. A single serving of red onions, equal to about half an onion per serving, is low in saturated fat, has no cholesterol and is a good source of fiber, vitamins C and E, potassium and folate.

Steam Red Onions

Step 1.

Peel the onions and either leave them whole or slice into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a sharp kitchen knife. Arrange the onions or onion slices in a steamer basket.

Step 2.

Add about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of a steamer or saucepan, cover and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Set the steamer basket over the pot and replace the cover.

Step 3.

Steam onion slices until they are fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes; whole onions will take 40 to 50 minutes. Check the pot every 10 minutes and add more water if necessary.

Step 4.

Remove the steamer basket and empty the onions into a serving bowl.

Oven Roast Red Onions

Step 1.

Mix the oregano, parsley and black pepper in a small mixing bowl, then add the garlic and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine the ingredients.

Step 2.

Peel the onions and cut them into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the slices in a shallow baking dish and pour the seasoning mix over the slices.

Step 3.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4.

Roast the onion slices for about 10 minutes, then turn each slice using a spatula. Roast for an additional 10 minutes or until the red onion slices are fork-tender.

Step 5.

Remove the baking pan from your oven and transfer the roasted onions to a serving platter with a spatula.

Things You Will Need
  • Kitchen knife

  • Vegetable steamer or saucepan with steamer basket

  • Fork

  • Serving bowl

  • 2 tbsp. fresh or 2 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 tbsp. fresh or 1 tsp. dried parsley

  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. black pepper

  • Mixing bowl, small

  • Stir spoon

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 to 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

  • Baking dish

  • Spatula


Prepare red onions for cooking or eating by first cutting off the top of the onion. Then, peel off the papery outer skin and, if necessary, pull away any soft underlying onion layers.

Keep the sulfur compounds in red onions from making you cry by peeling onions in cold water.

You can also roast red onion slices on your grill over medium-low heat. Before grilling, insert a wooden toothpick or skewer lengthwise through each slice to ensure they do not fall apart while cooking. Baste with the seasoning mix while the slices cook for about 10 minutes on each side.


Red onions do not keep well in your refrigerator. Storage requirements include good ventilation in a dark, cool area for no more than one to two weeks.

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