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Caramelized Onion Risotto

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4 to 6

Onions are often used in risotto, but not usually as the main ingredient. In this soothing dish, you get a bite of beautifully browned, sweet, soft caramelized onions in every forkful. Aged Gouda gives the risotto a slightly toasty butterscotch flavor, but the more traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano is also delicious.


  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. yellow onions (about 4 medium), halved through the root and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 oz. finely grated aged Gouda or Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 cup on a rasp grater)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 440
      Fat Calories (kcal): 160
      Fat (g): 18
      Saturated Fat (g): 7
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
      Cholesterol (mg): 25
      Sodium (mg): 140
      Carbohydrates (g): 59
      Fiber (g): 3
      Protein (g): 12


  • Heat the olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the onions and reduce the heat to medium. Cook without stirring until the bottom of the pot begins to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and stir with a wooden spatula. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot frequently and adjusting the heat as necessary, until the onions are well browned, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a 3-quart saucepan, combine the broth with 2 cups water and set over medium heat until steaming hot.
  • Transfer the onions to a small bowl, cover, and keep warm. Add about 1/2 cup of the broth mixture to the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot with the wooden spatula until any stuck-on bits are released. Pour the liquid back into the broth mixture. Wipe out the pot.
  • Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in the pot over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring gently, until glossy and translucent around the edges, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute. Ladle enough broth over the rice to just cover (about 1/2 cup) and simmer, stirring often, until most of the broth has been absorbed (test by running a spoon through the rice; no broth should pool on the pot bottom). Continue to add the broth in this manner, stirring often, until the rice is tender but still has a bit of resistance when you bite into it, 20 to 30 minutes. (You may not need all of the broth.)
  • Stir in the remaining 2 Tbs. butter, the cheese, and all but 1/3 cup of the onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, topped with the remaining onions.


Rate or Review


  • SarahOwens | 11/21/2015

    I made this for the first time tonight and we loved it. We'll definitely be making it again and again. The flavors are perfectly blended in this recipe and it's written very well, even for a novice risotto maker. I didn't need to use the last 1/2-3/4 cup of broth. I also used the Parmiggiano-Reggiano and I'm very glad I did. It took me an hour to make this, so some will say it's time consuming, but for me it's time well spent. I love to cook, and this was a pleasant break from a hectic week. Thank you Fine Cooking.

  • CookAMH | 10/27/2015

    We loved this. I think the key is in getting the onions nicely caramelized for deep flavor. I like to get the onions all slightly softened over medium high heat and then cover and turn to low for at least a half an hour. I then uncover and turn to medium to allow color to develop, stirring occasionally. I can't not add an aged balsamic to the onions any time I make them, and did so again this time.I only had Gruyere on hand so I used that, and loved it. Topping the serving of risotto with remaining onions was very good! I'd definitely make this again. I'm tired and pregnant with my fourth child but it was worth standing over the stove for this.

  • NeonDials | 01/27/2015

    Simply delicious. I used parm-reg, ended up using all of the broth mixture. Absolutely wonderful flavours.

  • lde2727 | 10/06/2014

    One of the best risottos I've made the sweetness of the onion is amazing

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