Onion Confit

© 2012 REMCooks.com

OK, I can hear some of you now asking Onion What???? Why in the world would you confit onions?

Well, onion confit is a wonderful dish and a basic building block of French cooking. You see, onion confit is simply onions with a little water and lots of butter cooked at low temperature for several hours. The result is very tender, deliciously sweet onion slices that will last in your refrigerator for about a week. Contrary to many people’s opinions, however, onion confit is not caramelized. I will feature onion confit in the post on Thomas Keller’s Quiche Loraine and in Almejas con Mojo de Ajo y Cebolla Confitada (Steamed Clams with Garlic Salsa and Onion Confit).

There are all sorts of onion confit recipes around. Typically, these onion confit recipes use additional seasonings and some vinegar making the onion confit more akin to onion marmalade than an onion confit. Nonetheless, these versions of onion confit are perfect for use as a delicious condiment served on top of pizza or a slice of baguette; as an accompaniement with cheese, pate and foie gras; or as a topping for meats such as beef, pork, lamb or duck. In fact, onion confit works beautifully in sandwiches. As with many basic building blocks, the uses of onion confit are limited only by your imagination.

This confit is a straight up onion confit with a hint of herbs from a sachet garni. This preparation is simply all about the onions, the deliciously tender, sweet aromatic onions.


  • 2 large Spanish white onions, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 sachet garni


Warm the water in a large pot over low heat. Add the butter and whisk gently to melt.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add onions, salt and sachet garni. Toss to coat onions with butter.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Prepare and place a parchment paper lid on top pressing it firmly down on onions to allow the steam to escape but protect onions so that they can cook low and slow.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

After 30 minutes check onions and stir. If the pot swallows the onions, you may want to move them to a more appropriately sized pot. Also, if there is a lot of liquid remaining in the pot, you may want to increase the heat for the onions to cook a little more rapidly.

Continue to cook onions over low heat for another 1-1/2 hours stirring them every 20 – 30 minutes replacing the parchment lid and pressing down on the onions each time. Toward the end you may be stirring the onions a little more frequently. You do NOT want them to brown.

After roughly 2 hours, the onions will have softened but should not be falling apart. There may also be a small amount of liquid remaining in the bottom of the pan. Remove the onions from the heat, discard the sachet garni, and allow the onions to cool in their liquid.

When cool place in a plastic container and refrigerate until needed for up to 1 week.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

NOTE: A sachet garni is what many people consider to be a bouquet garni. A true bouquet garni is made with the leaf of a leak holding the other herbs together. A sachet garni is simply a piece of cheesecloth (I use muslin) that holds the herbs, bay (leaf, thyme, parsley).

© 2012 REMCooks.com

12 thoughts on “Onion Confit”

    1. Hi, Cat. Thanks for your nice comment. This recipe is killer and the onions are oohhh sooo sweet and tender but they still have body and are not mushy. The Quiche Loraine (the real reason I made these) is in the fridge but is on the menu for dinner tonight. It should be posted with photos tomorrow and I’ll let you know just how good these little beauties were. I tried the filling for the quiche and it was indescribably delicious, so if the rest of it is nearly as good it will be other worldly.

    1. Thanks, Alice. Once you make these onions, there is no problem finding uses or them. There is an upcoming post where we used them in a clam dish. Simply fabulous! As for the quiche, it was remarkably good. 🙂

  1. Thank you for this post, Richard. Having a container of these onions in the fridge would be like sitting on a gold mine. I need to give this a try. If things go awry, I’ll just take a turn into caramelized onion territory. I really can’t go wrong. 🙂

    1. Hi, John. These onions won’t last long once you make them. They go with so many things, if you don’t eat them by themselves. 😉 I don’t think you have anything to worry about insofar as things going awry.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Richard. This is the first time I see a parchment paper lid being used in a way that makes sense for me. The onions must be divine! Can’t wait for the quiche…

    1. Hi, Stephan. Thanks for your comment. I agree with you on the parchment lid. In this application it really does make a difference. Hopefully, you will give these a try as they really are divine.

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