How to Dry Roast Onions




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Dry Roasted Onions is about as elemental as it gets when it comes to a delicious side dish.  These beautiful red onions literally bloom in the high heat of a 400 degree oven, and come out tender and delicious!

I was all set to make red onion rings for you today.  The big thick juicy kind.  But over the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading articles about problems associated with using oils at high heat levels.  The old wisdom of choosing an oil based on its smoke point isn’t enough anymore.  And all of the oils we associate with high heat cooking undergo unhealthy changes when heated.  Some claim that only coconut oil, clarified butter, and lard are safe at high heat.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the subject, and we’re at that unsettling point where the old ‘facts’ are being debunked, but there’s no solid agreement on an alternative.  At any rate is seems like a complete overhaul of my cooking oil cabinet will be in order very soon now.

So for the moment, lets not use any oils at all!  Instead of the onion rings I’m going to dry roast these luscious red onions in a hot oven.

Take  your onions, either red, white or yellow, and cut them in quarters almost, but not quite, all the way through.  My onions were on the large size, if yours are smaller, just make one slice.


Pry the onions apart a little bit and set them in a foil lined baking sheet or pan.

Roast them at 400F for about 2 to 2 and a half hours.  The kitchen will smell amazing for that entire time.

Luckily there is no controversy about the fact that onions do very well with high heat.  They will blossom and get all caramelized.  Bon Appetit recommends drizzling the finished onions with browned butter, but I used my best olive oil and a generous sprinkling of one of one of my Spice Blends.

This is such an elemental way of cooking.  It’s basically the equivalent of throwing the onions into the embers of your hearth fire and letting them roast away.  It’s nice to know that while science is dithering over smoke points, trans fats and free radicals, we can still eat like kings.

If you’re interested in the subject of healthy fats and oils, here are a few articles to check out.  This list isn’t complete, just a random sampling —

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Hana
    March 4, 2015 at 5:01 am

    This looks gorgeous!
    Would you eat these as a snack or what would you serve these with to make a complete meal?
    thanks

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 4, 2015 at 6:42 am

      I use them as a side dish, Hana. They go really well with steak.

  • Reply
    Matgalen
    March 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    That onion looks so cool when it´s spread like a rose, great stuff.

  • Reply
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    March 7, 2013 at 5:56 am

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  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    March 7, 2013 at 2:28 am

    I am also loving the coconut reprieve! I’ve been having some shredded coconut on my morning Greek yogurt lately.

    Gorgeous onion shots! Give me onions every day – love them!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    March 6, 2013 at 3:00 am

    It hasn’t been that many years ago that we were told not to touch coconut oil with a 10 foot pole. Now it’s the new wonder food. My son just bought me a bottle at Trader Joe’s and I’m eager to try it. Excellent post, Sue.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      March 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks Cathy, I learned a lot reading up on the subject. I think the lesson I’m beginning to take from it all is that you can’t take any scientific study as gospel, you have to use common sense when it comes to your food.

  • Reply
    bellini
    March 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    A very interesting point about oils. Deep fried foods don’t readily agree with me so dry roasting onions sounds delicious.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      March 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      I have to admit I was on a deep frying kick for a while, once I discovered I could do it in just a couple of inches of oil. I guess that guilty pleasure had to end sometime :)

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    March 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    ask anyone in my family and they will tell you my go to side is onions! charred, broiled, grilled, sauteed. you name it I love it and I LOVE YOUR DRY ROASTED ONIONS! I must try this method next time

  • Reply
    Brigitta Huegel
    March 5, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Thank you for all those informations – and the wonderful recipe! I added you to my Facebook account too, never to miss your interesting meals. (I translated ‘Leon. Baking and Puddings’ for Germany’s well-known DuMont Verlag. Just out of sheer interest (no proposal, because other people hunt the new books): Have you already written a cook book?

  • Reply
    Christina Conte
    March 5, 2013 at 4:22 am

    I’m so glad I am not the only one in an “oil quandary!” My mother said she heard/saw/read that canola oil is “bad,” which is what I’ve been using. So I tried grapeseed oil, and hated it for deep frying. Now what?

    Your onions look gorgeous, and I never thought I’d ever write that!

    Sue, I must tell you that my mother and I spent a good 20 minutes perusing your blog, and your incredible photos and inspiring recipes yesterday, oohing and ahhing the entire time. You are such an incredibly talented cook, photographer, writer, food stylist…need I go on? I can only hope that at some point my blog and photos will be half as good as yours! Christina @ Christina’s Cucina

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    March 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Gorgeous onions!! The literally definition of a blooming onion! I dont eat onions but if I did, these would be the ones!

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    March 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    but what do they taste like? I love onions but not sure what these would be like… I guess i’m going to have to try them… great for dipping in garlic mayo I suspect!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      March 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      They taste like the onions you’d get in a long cooking stew, only they aren’t mushy and slimy, they are caramelized, chewy and crisp, if that makes any sense. They have a heightened onion flavor with a little bit of the char taste. I liked them a lot.

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    March 4, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I have made these..a hit..but from Food and Drink ..LCBO..

    We liked them very much..w/ balsamic if I recall..I will have to find my post..I’ve only made them twice..pity because they are so pretty on a plate!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      March 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      I like the idea of balsamic, or a balsamic reduction on them. Come to think of it these would be good with my favorite pomegranate molasses, too. I guess I better get roasting!

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    March 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    If i knew my flower types better, i would say your onions remind me of a particular flower. Which, i cannot say, but i CAN say that it’s the most beautiful onion i’ve ever seen in probably my life. I’m a total onion girl – my sister and i have been known to carmelize them and then just eat them out of the pan – so obviously i love this.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      March 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      I agree, I could just eat the onion by itself for dinner. I think it reminds me of a magnolia blossom, or a dogwood blossom?

  • Reply
    Jacquelyn Grandy
    March 4, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Hi Sue! It’s so funny that you’re writing this post today. I had a reader comment on my wheat berry and kale salad that olive oil is not good to use at high temperatures. Here I thought I was doing a good thing. Ugh! It can be so darn confusing. I have heard of using broth or water to sauté vegetables is good and even when roasting, they say you can omit oil altogether. I’m going to roast up some cauliflower and red onions tonight sans the olive oil and see how they turn out. I will let you know one way or another how they taste. Keep us posted if you find any alternatives as well. I’m not sure I will ever be comfortable using lard though as that one link suggests. Have a great day! Jackie :)

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      March 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      One thing you can do is put the oil on after you’ve dry roasted your veggies, that way you get the health benefits of the good oil and the flavor. Or, I’m going to try coconut oil too. But it sure is confusing, I hope they figure it all out soon.

    • Reply
      L Crooms
      March 5, 2013 at 12:46 am

      I do love coconut oil, and I’ve been doing the research on lard. Lard, it seems is not so simple (or tallow). To be healthy, it can’t be supermarket lard, but it needs to be organic, preferably from an organic farm. Many suggest making your own. I found a YouTube video, and one woman said she asks whole foods for the fat from the pigs and they give it to her, and from this she makes her lard. I’m not sure I want to commit to to that–since the fat kind of grosses me out, so for now, I will do coconut oil. There are some websites to purchase organic lard, but it is costly.
      I do believe much of what is making us unhealthy as Americans is the processing–those who consume diets rich in coconut and even animal fat, but without the processing (and sugar!), don’t have the same health problems that Americans face. It’s something to think about.
      I do see a difference with coconut oil, healthwise though so I’m a believer!

    • Reply
      L Crooms
      March 5, 2013 at 12:48 am

      BTW, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your recipes!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      March 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      I totally agree, it’s the processing that’s the ultimate culprit in our food problems.
      I saw lard for sale next to the butter for the first time ever yesterday! But I did read that it isn’t healthy unless it’s from organically pastured animals.

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    March 4, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks for the easy, peasy recipe. Love onions cooks any way but this sounds great. Also thanks for the links – interesting subject for certain.

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