How to Cook Fresh Boiling Onions


Preparing one full-size onion may make you cry -- literally, because of its pungency. So if you’ve spotted a bag of tiny boiling onions at the store, calculated the risk and passed them by, make a U-turn. Cooking boiling onions is delightfully simple and -- with a surprising turn at the end -- downright fun. Although they come in red and yellow varieties, boiling onions are usually white and about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, making them ideal for a soup spoon. But don’t limit these little gems to soups and stews. Once cooked, boiling onions enhance any dish, including meat and pasta entrees, casseroles and vegetable medleys.

Things You'll Need

  • Bag of boiling onions (about 20 or 25)
  • Pot
  • Salt
  • Bowl
  • Colander
  • Paper towels
  • Paring knife
  • Bring a pot of boiling water to a full boil. Add a little salt to the water, if you like. Drop the onions inside the pot. Let the onions boil for about 2 minutes.

  • Fill a large bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes. Set it aside.

  • Drain the water from the pot into a colander set in your sink. Immediately transfer the onions to the cold water so that they stop cooking. Let them sit in the cold water for 5 minutes.

  • Remove the onions from the water and lay them on paper towels. Take one boiling onion at a time and slice off the root with a sharp paring knife.

  • Make a small cross mark -- it should look like the addition sign in math -- about 1/4-inch deep, at the root end of the onion. This step ensures that the onion stays in one piece when you add it to your favorite dishes.

  • From the other end, the stem, squeeze the onion gently with your fingers. The onion should easily pop right out of its skin to reveal a shiny, flavorful ball.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose boiling onions with dry, paper-like skins.
  • Store onions in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place until you’re ready to cook them, but away from potatoes. Onions and potatoes work well when cooked together, but they will go bad faster if you store them together.

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