A recent New York Times reboot of the classic French Panade (Samin Nostrat) looks ever more appealing as our local temperatures plummet to freezing. But who can afford the time to stand an hour or more above the stove to prepare the chief ingredient for this dish – caramelized onions?

Caramelization requires constant vigilance over low heat to transform the onions into sweet nectar. This is time that we don’t have on the weeknight. This is where the slow cooker comes to the rescue. While the purist might still find fault with the result, most of us would agree that there is little difference between slow cooker caramelization and the traditional stove top method. Some, even, might say the slow cooker is better.


  • 4 – 5 large onions sliced into crescents
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ Teaspoon salt


Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and toss to coat the onions. Cook low for 8 – 10 hours. Stir occasionally if around.

There are many uses for caramelized onions. From French soup and panades to toppings for burgers or addition to a salad, let your imagination be your guide.