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Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

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Caramelized onions are made so easy with the Instant Pot.  They’re ready in about 45 minutes, start to finish, with minimal hands on time.

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions
Do you love caramelized onions but hate all the hands on time they take to make?  They can take up to 40 minutes on the stove top with almost constant stirring so that they don’t burn.  Who has the time?  Well the Instant Pot has changed all that.

With the Instant Pot you can have richly flavored caramelized onions with minimal hands on time.  The instant pot does most of the work with 20 minutes of pressure cooking.  

Once the pressure cooking is finished, the onions cook on the sauté function for about another 20 minutes to allow the extra liquid to evaporate and to get that lovely golden brown color.  This only requires occasional stirring from you.

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

The really great thing about these onions is that they are freezer friendly.  I like to freeze them in zip-loc bags in 1/2 cup portions.  That way I can easily pull out just the right amount that I need for a recipe.

By having caramelized onions in your freezer ready to go, there are so many recipes that you can make in a fraction of the time they’d normally take.  These are some of my favorite recipes that come together in no time with the pre-made onions:

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

Don’t have an Instant Pot of your own to give these delicious onions a try?  The good new is that I’ve teamed up with some other bloggers to give away an Instant Pot!  You can find all the details and enter to win below.

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Instant Pot Giveaway!

One lucky person is going to win an awesome 6-Quart Instant Pot Ultra. If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet, you’re missing out. This device is 10 appliances in one! Yes seriously, here’s what it can be used as:

  • Pressure Cooker
  • Slow Cooker
  • Rice Cooker
  • Cake Maker
  • Yogurt Maker
  • Egg Cooker
  • Steamer
  • Warmer
  • Sauté
  • Sterilizer

The 6-Quart Instant Pot Ultra set includes a steam rack, recipe booklet, serving spoon, soup spoon and measuring cup. Here are some of the new features:

  • altitude adjustment
  • cooking indicator
  • steam release reset button


Yield: Approx. 2 cups

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

Instant Pot Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions are made so easy with the Instant Pot.  They're ready in about 40 minutes, start to finish, with minimal hands on time.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 3 lbs yellow onions
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Peel onions, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into thin strips crosswise.
  2. Melt butter and two tbsp olive oil on sauté function in the Instant Pot.
  3. Add onions, tossing to coat in the fat.
  4. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the top of the onions.
  5. Cover and set for 20 minutes on the manual function.
  6. When finished, quick release the steam.
  7. Remove cover and turn on the sauté function.
  8. Cook, stirring every few minutes for an additional 20 minutes, until liquid has evaporated and onions are a deep golden brown.
  9. Store tightly covered for up to a week in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 2 months.


If your freezing the onions, I recommend dividing them in to 1/2 cup portions and freeze in plastic freezer bags.


Instant Pot Giveaway

This giveaway has been organized by Juggling Act Mama and sponsored in part by the following bloggers:

Official Rules and Conditions: One winner will receive a 6-quart Instant Pot Ultra. No cash value. Open worldwide to adults 18+. One (1) winner will be chosen. Prize must be claimed within 48 hours of announcement or a new winner will be drawn. Prize will be delivered electronically. All entries will be verified. This giveaway is in no way associated with Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Rafflecopter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. Giveaway ends 12/17/2018. Enter using the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Christmas Sweets and Treats

We’ve got a lot of yummy dessert recipes on the blog, but these are some of our most favorites for Christmastime:

Be sure to check out all the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

Click to Enter More Giveaways


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Saturday 1st of May 2021

Gosh...they look like mush. Do people enjoy the taste and texture this way? I'm going to try the slow cooker method. Any one done both ways? Slow cooker vs. Pressure cooker?


Saturday 27th of February 2021

Terrible, turned my onions to mush! Should have cooked for less time in instant pot.

Ken Weiss

Sunday 13th of December 2020

Hi Lisa,

I tried your recipe and it was amazing and super simple. I added 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar while the butter is melting. This gives the onions a dark brown color without having to sauté them for hours, and enhances the flavor.


Monday 28th of September 2020

Thanks for sharing this recipe. Your pictures just drew me in. I was very excited to try this recipe as I was looking for recipes in which to use some of the obscene amount of onions I had purchased. I used exactly 3 lbs of peeled yellow onions, which was about 13 small-medium onions. There was no need to add any liquid (some cooks said you needed some liquid when using the pressure cooker) because onions rendered a lot of liquid on their own.

Please revise the recipe for two items: 1. At what point do we add salt? I added salt during the sauté phase. 2. Please indicate at what setting to sauté, HIGH or LOW? I sautéed at a low setting not wanting to get a burn notification, but after 16 minutes, my onions were not getting a caramelized color. So I canceled the low setting and sautéed another 5 minutes at high to more or less get that warm color we want. However, that calls for constant stirring to avoid burning. I got a tasty 2 cups of product (is that the amount I’m supposed to have?), but it took a lot of stirring. Please advise how to do this more efficiently with the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus.


Sunday 30th of August 2020

I don't know how you could possibly freeze some for later; I made 3 lbs of onions and the recipe only yielded 1/2 cup of caramelized onions. Because I had to transfer to a pan after the pressure cook, the whole process took me 1 hr and 20 I don't think it saved me any time.

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