Caramelized Onions and Bell Peppers

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Caramelized onions, sweet caramel-colored ribbons, mixed with sautéed bell peppers are delicious with steak or spicy Italian sausage.

caramelized onions

Eaten raw, bell peppers are sweet and crunchy yet when cooked, they become tender, luscious and – in this case – ever so slightly charred.  The same goes for the caramelized onions, which, when raw, start off sharp and pungent but transform into sweet caramel-colored ribbons. Try this dish with steak, spicy Italian sausage or on top of a bowl of hot and creamy polenta.

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Caramelized Onions and Bell Peppers

Caramelized onions, sweet caramel-colored ribbons, mixed with sautéed bell peppers are delicious with steak or spicy Italian sausage.

Servings: 4
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 4 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, salt and pepper.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are caramelized and the peppers are tender and slightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. If a brown coating forms on the bottom of the pan during the cooking process, add a few tablespoons of water and stir; repeat as necessary.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar and thyme and turn the heat down to low. Cook for a few more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Made this tonight for a burger. Outstanding! Thank you!

    • — Barbara M on September 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Very enjoyable! I found I needed to cook it for more than the time period suggested, but maybe I cut the peppers and onions too thickly. Covering might also help accelerate cooking time within the parameters originally proposed in this recipe.

    Separately:

    1. I found, in relation to quantity of peppers and onions in this recipe, that I needed more salt, but that’s just me.

    2. Consider making this recipe with a lot more pepper than prescribed. I did so, almost by accident since I used nearly the prescribed quantity of pepper for only 1 pepper and 1 onion, but it was terrific nonetheless and very (but no excessively – almost though) spicy.

    • — Alex on September 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • I had some peppers that were not crunchy enough for salads so I sliced them up and then wondered what to do with them. I use a few for chicken tacos, but not enough to use up 8 peppers.

    Searched for a recipe and found this one. Tried it out with baked salmon.

    It was amazing, and my 13 yr old who still doesn’t like vegetables ate it without a word. My husband and I loved it and there was almost none left from a very large batch and only 3 people.

    • — Liz on September 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve tried other recipes for this dish that were overly complicated and stuck with them because they were delicious…not anymore. This dish pulls off complex flavors with very few ingredients. It’s delicious and easy. The balsamic vinegar is a great choice! Replacing my old recipe as we speak…

    • — Kristen on July 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    I cooked this tonight to go with spare ribs – delicious.
    I used two white onions, and mini peppers, two each, red, orange and yellow, and served with brown rice and mange-tout. A very pretty meal.
    Thank you, Val (UK)

    • — Val on June 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • Was very good for my 1st time. will do again tomorrow. can I use butter instead of balsamic vinegar and which do you think will taste better?

    • — Edward garcia on April 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed this! I’d stick with the balsamic vinegar as it adds a nice depth of flavor.

      • — Jenn on April 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this the other night to have with your middle eastern chicken and it was fabulous! I used breasts as opposed to kebabs and per your suggestion added 1.5 the amt of lemon zest and no juice. I also saved some of the marinade for dipping, yummy! The peppers and onion provided just the right amt of crunch and sweetness! Thank-you again for yet another dinner!!!

    • — Diana on September 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • Had these last night with turkey burgers. So delicious! Added so much flavour to the burgers. Will be making often.

    • — Victoria L Peck on June 26, 2019
    • Reply
  • Perfect with Prime Rib Roast. I opted not to add the balsamic vinegar and we really enjoyed the flavor. This is a simple and easy side that would compliment any barbecued meal.

    • — Ty on June 24, 2019
    • Reply
  • Has anyone tried freezing recipe for future use? Thanks in advance.

    • — Alexandra Caruana
    • Reply
  • Excellent and easy! I’ll make this again.

  • I buy a 3-pepper blend, frozen, in Kroger. Can your recipe be frozen safely and used as needed? I use it to make omelets. Thanks!

    • Hi Paul, I’ve never frozen these, but I think it would be perfectly fine.

  • Having a party and would like to know how far in advance that this can be made or keep in the fridge once made? Thank you.

    • These would be good for 2 – 3 days if stored in the fridge. Hope you enjoy!

  • Thanks. I have used this recipe multiple times since I happened upon it. I often eat this with grilled lamb – either backstraps or loins, and a good Mediterranean salad that has to include olives and feta. If you can add some good homemade hummus, even better. Cheers.

  • Holy delicious! I put this on a chicken burger with guacamole and it was amazing.

  • I have been wanting to try a pepper, or capsicum as they are called here in New Zealand, recipe forever- I’m so glad I tried this one. So good!! Already planning when I can make it again. Just working my way through the whole site since every recipe Jen does is the bomb. Thanks for doing what you do!

  • I added garlic and poblano to this and it was gorgeous! I also drizzled with olive oil after which gave it a wonderful fresh pop.

    Love it! Thank you!

  • Having the best year ever for my garden – lots of peppers. Love the bright colors & flavor of this dish. We enjoyed it with some grilled chicken – perfect summer meal. Just can not beat the fresh flavors of home grown!

  • So simple and so good.

  • I had this last night with Grilled Salmon. What a Treat..Just right and pleasing to the eye as well as the palett

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