Grilled Onions – Perfectly tender and ridiculously sweet, these grilled onions are so delish that if my grill is lit, they’re going on it. Serve them as a side or atop your favorite burger, and watch the compliments roll in. This is just one more recipe proving you don’t need fancy ingredients to make a showstopping meal. 🤩
Seriously, who would have ever thought you’d want to chomp into an onion? But I guarantee that even onion skeptics will rave about these grilled beauties. The deep, sweet caramelization and the just tender texture are incredible, especially when served alongside other grilled meats and veggies.
There are lots of ways to grill onions, but I think I’ve perfected the process with this recipe. I’ve got all the best tips to help you keep your onions intact while grilling, avoid burning or drying them out, and get the absolute best flavor out of this highly underrated vegetable. Get ready to get grilling! 🙌
What Kind of Onion Is Best for Grilled Onions?
So without a doubt, the best onions for grilling are Vidalia onions. They have a milder flavor and a higher sugar content. This means you get amazing caramelization, and the overall taste of the finished product is rich and sweet. If you can’t find Vidalias, just go for any sweet onion. The higher the sugar content, the better, IMO.
Full disclosure, though: you can grill any onion. I like to maximize the caramelization with sweet yellow onions, but you could use a white or red onion if you want to with the same cooking techniques. Just know each kind of onion will have its own unique flavor once grilled.
- Onions – Two large onions should do the trick to serve anywhere from 4 to 6 people.
- Olive Oil – Brushing the onions with olive oil gives them a beautiful golden hue and a richer flavor profile. 😋
- Seasonings – Salt and pepper are a definite, but I also include a tablespoon of my favorite steak seasoning. Optionally, you can season them with minced thyme too.
- Balsamic Vinegar – This is another optional ingredient, but it sure ups the fancy. If you are a balsamic vinegar fan, drizzle your freshly grilled onions with some once they are cooked.
How to Grill Onions
Prep the Onions
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. (375℉-450℉).
- Slice Onions – Cut each onion into a few thick slices. (Photos 1-2)
- Season – Brush the slices with olive oil, and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper on both sides. Optionally, sprinkle them with steak seasoning and add some minced thyme. (Photos 3-5)
Grill the Onions
- Grill – Place the onions on the preheated grill and let them sizzle for 3-4 minutes (until they have grill marks). (Photo 6)
- Flip – Use tongs to flip the onions and sizzle for another 3-4 minutes (until cooked through and tender).
- Serve – Once the onions are cooked, remove them from the grill. Serve them hot, and enjoy!
- Serve grilled onions as is, or drizzle them with balsamic or red wine vinegar.
- Swap up the seasonings. Consider these onions a blank canvas to paint with your favorite flavors. Feel free to use any seasoning mix you love.
Tips and Tricks
- Use a grill tray or basket to keep the onions from falling through the grill grates.
- Slice the ovens into even slices so they all cook at the same rate.
- Don’t crank the heat up to high. If you do, your onions will burn before they get tender. Patience pays off here. 😉
If you’re making these as a side, definitely make them fresh! There’s no substitute. However, if you want to have some grilled onions on hand to top your burgers tomorrow night or toss them into a salad for lunch, they’re great to make ahead of time.
Refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can use them cold on salads or reheat them in the microwave or a skillet.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve grilled onions hot off the grill. Drizzle them with a little balsamic vinegar before serving if you’re feeling a little extra. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
You can repurpose them in so many ways, cold or reheated – think tacos, pizza, fajitas, sandwiches, and the list goes on. You can reheat them over medium heat in a skillet or give them a few seconds in the microwave. Just be sure to use them up in 3-5 days.
Not exactly. Caramelized onions are usually cooked on a stovetop very slowly until they are a deep rich brown color. Many caramelized onion recipes add a tad of sugar. It’s a different technique with a different result than grilled onions.
You may have cooked them a little too hot. Low and slow is key to getting nice caramelization and tenderness. Each grill cooks a little differently, so if you set it to medium-high heat and still have this problem, try setting it to medium heat instead.
Easy fix! Use wooden skewers and run them through the onion slices to keep the pieces together as they cook. Soak your skewers in water for a couple of hours before you use them to keep them from catching fire. You can also cut the onion rounds thicker to make them easier to handle.
What Goes With Grilled Onions
Grilled onions are perfection with just about any grilled meat, but I love them most with grilled beef. Try them with a grilled ribeye or atop a tasty burger. You could even make a grilled onion cheddar burger, which is simple yet delicious. 🤤
Grilled onions also work great in other dishes. Try them in chicken fajitas or a salmon salad, for example. Once you try a few things, you’ll be surprised how many uses you can come up with for these gorgeous grilled onions.
More Scrumptious Grilled Sides to Try
- Grilled Pineapple
- Grilled Bread
- Smoked Baked Potatoes
- Smoked Asparagus
- Smoked Sweet Potatoes
It’s really that easy to make, my friend. I’m so excited to find out how you like these grilled onions. And if you’ve already made them, please drop your favorite ways to serve grilled onions in the comments below! I always love seeing how you use these recipes.
- 2 large onions, sliced into thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon steak seasoning (or your favorite seasoning)
- 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, optional
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. (375-450℉/190-230℃)
- Brush the onion slices with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with salt and seasoning on both sides. Add salt, pepper, and minced thyme (optional).
- Place onions on the preheated grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until they have grill marks and are tender. Use tongs to flip the onions halfway through cooking.
- Once the onions are cooked, remove them from the grill and serve them hot, as is, or drizzle with balsamic vinegar.