Balsamic Glazed Pearl Onions

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  • Some people look at me funny when I tell them I like serving onions as a side dish. The honest truth is that they are amazing if cooked properly, like with these Balsamic Glazed Pearl Onions!

    bowl of glazed baby pearl onions with scallion garnish

    Cooked Onions

    There are so many varieties of onion and they all carry a very distinct flavor profile with some being super onion-y and others more mild.

    How you cook them also makes a big difference. Caramilized onions take on a sweet note while quickly sauteed will have a little more onion bite. Some dishes even rely heavily on the base flavors for all of the seasoning.

    baby onions in a saucepan pan with a spoon

    Furthermore, some are onions only, like this dish or my French Baked Onions (basically onions that taste just like French onion soup).

    Mini Glazed Pearl Onions

    The pearl onion has many names, some depending on geographic location. Other names are button onions, baby onions, creamers and in French, oignon grelot.

    frozen pearl onions in a bowl with blue linen

    Popular in soups and stews, these little onions have a milder flavor profile more reminiscent of a leek. When cooked they release their flavors and softens lightly so the outside is tender but the inside has a little tooth to it.

    White Pearl onions are crunchy and mild with firm, juicy, and crisp flesh. Perfect for an onion-centric dish. This is a purely glazed pearl onion recipe.

    spoon full of glazed onion side dish recipe

    Frozen vs Fresh

    I am generally all about fresh foods… unless we are talking about pearl onions. I’ve bought fresh before to make Beef Bourguignon and let me tell you- they are a pain in the butt to peel!

    Little cuts under my nails from the papery skin and it burned. Ugh. You can’t cut off the tops and bottoms like you would to peel a regular onion because then they just fall apart. What a mess. So for these glazed pearl onions, I use frozen.

    balsamic glazed pearl onions in a serving dish

    So now I buy the frozen kind. Don’t diss frozen veggies! If frozen correctly, they actually retain nutrients really well. And here, they save you oodles of time.

    The Sauce

    The sauce here is a blend between a balsamic glaze and cream based sauce commonly made for onions.

    ingredients for pearl onion recipe

    Brown sugar helps to caramelize balsamic vinegar into a syrup while butter makes it rich and creamy. Dijon mustard adds some pizzazz.

    PRO TIP: When using dried herbs, rub it together between your palms to activite natural oils.

    I use dried parsley for my balsamic glazed pearl onions, but you can also use freshly, chopped parsley. Use about 1 tablespoons of fresh.

    balsamic glaze for pearl onions

    Next you just let it all dissolve before adding frozen onions. Simmer until onions are warm and sauce as reduced. The extra water from frozen onions will loosen it a bit, but after simmering, it will thicken.

    Make Ahead & Storage of Glazed Pearl Onions

    Glazed baby onions can be made up to 2 days in advance. Simply make the whole recipe and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve. Heat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

    Onions will stay good for up to a week in the fridge.

    close up of glazed onion recipe

    This recipe can also be frozen and thawed for a later occasion.

    More Delicious Holiday Side Dishes:

    Monday Holiday Side Dish Recipes:

    balsamic glazed onions for pinterest
    Overhead bowl of cooked pearl onions
    Print Recipe
    4.5 from 16 votes

    Balsamic Glazed Baby Onions

    These EASY Balsamic Glazed Pearl Onions are great for a simple side dish. Elegant enough for the holidays, but also for weeknight meals!
    Prep Time5 mins
    Cook Time20 mins
    Total Time25 mins
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: pearl onion recipe
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 84kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola



    • In a small saucepan, combine unsalted butter, light brown sugar, Dijon mustard, Kosher salt, parsley flakes and balsamic vinegar, bring to a low boil.
      balsamic glaze for onions
    • Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until sugars have dissolved and sauce has thickened.
    • Add frozen onions, tossing to coat. Continue to cook on medium heat until onions have thawed.
      pearl onions in sauce
    • Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
    • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!


    Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 108mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
    balsamic glazed pearl onions
    image of jessica formicola

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