Tender, sweet grilled charred onions make a delicious condiment or side dish and are a snap to make using a grill basket. Little effort, big return.
Big return (!) especially if you’re an onion lover. Of course they make a great burger topping, but grilled onions are also excellent in burritos, quesadillas, scrambled eggs, salsas, quinoa or rice dishes or as a side for chicken or meat. Hey, they would even be amazing in our Super Easy Potato Knishes.
You do need a grill basket for these onions because you start with thinly sliced onions which would slip through a grill otherwise. I use my inexpensive non stick basket several times a week in the summer. If you don’t have a grill basket, you can poke holes in the bottom of a tin foil tray (purchased or shaped from tin foil). Make sure you spray it with oil.
If you need some quick facts on onions – which to use, how to store them and how to cut them – check out our post on Onions: The Bare Essentials.
The recipe is simple. Just slice the onions, place them in the grill basket, toss with a bit of oil, salt and pepper, then grill slowly on medium low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. That’s pretty much it. I like to add a pinch of sugar to speed up the caramelization process, but that’s optional. Grill the onions to achieve as much char and tenderness as you like. Feel free to add a teaspoon of oil or butter at the end and any additional seasonings to your taste.
Here’s a guideline for how much to make: one large onion will create 1/2-3/4 cup grilled charred onions. Two large onions should be enough for about 4 as a side dish or 6 as a condiment.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Toss with a tablespoon of BBQ sauce or Balsamic vinegar at the end of grilling.
- Add additional seasonings such as smoked paprika or chili powder.
- Toss some chopped fresh or dried herbs such as thyme, oregano or rosemary with the charred onions after grilling.
Make Ahead Grilled Charred Onions
- Definitely. Make ahead and serve at room temperature or warm the onions for 30-60 seconds in the microwave. I often grill meat or chicken beside them on the gas grill as it’s easy to adjust the grill at different settings if needed.
Grilled Charred Onions Recipe
- 2 large onions I use sweet onions and/or red onions
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt, pepper to taste
- pinch sugar (optional) helps caramelize onions
- Heat gas grill to medium, 350F-400F. Spray grill basket with oil. (no grill basket? try using tin foil poked with holes and sprayed with oil)
- PREPARE ONIONS: Thinly slice onions about 1/4 inch thick (see Notes). Place sliced onions in grill basket sprayed with oil. Drizzle onions with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and pinch of sugar. Toss to coat onions.
- GRILL ONIONS: Lower heat to medium-low on one side of grill. Place grill basket with onions on part with lower heat. Close lid. Stir every 10 minutes for about 30 minutes or until onions are soft with as much char as you like. Increase heat to get more char if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings. (You can grill something else on the other side of the BBQ at the same time.). Serve warm or at room temperature as a side or condiment.
Other simple recipes using a grill basket that you might like: