Caramelized Onions and Bell Peppers

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

Fork grabbing caramelized onions and bell peppers.

There’s something magical that happens when you cook onions and bell peppers. Raw bell peppers are sweet and crunchy, but sautéing them makes them tender, luscious, and slightly charred. The onions, too, go from sharp and pungent to sweet and caramelized. This side dish pairs perfectly with steak, spicy Italian sausage, or over a bowl of hot, 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


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 4 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)


  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.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 108
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 298 mg
  • Cholesterol: 9 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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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  • Hi Jenn – I made these and they were fanrastic. I have a wood fired pizza oven and used these as a topping with fontina cheese and my homemade pizza sauce. I made three different pizzas that night and my guests all agreed that the one with the onions and peppers was the best.

    • — Fabrizio on July 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made it last night and it was the best peppers and onion recipe I have found.

    • — Jerry Mercola on June 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • Making this for the second time to go with the Moroccan chicken tangine. They are great together.

    • — Elizabeth on November 25, 2022
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  • Made this for dinner tonight and it came out delicious! Made it exactly how the recipe calls for . Will be making more of your dishes . A+

    • — Miguel on August 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Had high hopes for the recipe but although it was okay, it didn’t excite me. Only change to the recipe was I added mushrooms. Adding chopped macadamia nuts to leftovers tomorrow.

    • — Crispy on July 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can I use sweet Vidalia onions instead of yellow onions? The yellow onions bring too much water to my eyes.

    • Sure, Mindy, that’s fine. Enjoy!

  • Really easy to make and tastes great

  • Excellent recipe, simple yet super delicious!

  • Thank you Chef Jen😉
    I used them to make philly steaks. They tasted delicious! The aroma filled my house and poured through the neighborhood. My kids came in for dinner being proud. Mmmwwwah, Perfecto!!!

  • This was sooo good! I have made the classic peppers and onions over the years and it was nothing special. This recipe nails it!

    • — Pamela Oconnor
    • Reply
  • Very simple recipe for inexperienced cooks! It worked great. My recommendation for anyone else looking to use this recipe is to consider using some sort of stock or broth — I used chicken broth — instead of water when it comes to lifting the brown coating on the pan. I feel like only using water is a wasted opportunity for flavor, but that’s just me!

    Additionally, if you are someone who is currently pursuing a caloric deficit for weight loss, the recipe will still work with 1/2 of the recommended oil (I actually use little to none). It won’t crisp up as well nor have that subtle, delicious fat that professional cooking relies on, but I think it’s pretty great even with less oil than prescribed!

  • Great recipe! I added thinly sliced carrots along with the pepper and onion. We had left over cooked steak, that I thinly sliced as well and added right before adding the balsamic and thyme. Delish! My husband raved about the flavor. We served it over left over roasted potatoes.
    Thanks so much for your recipe! Definitely a keeper!!

  • I made this this evening and I really liked it! I didn’t get the browning i was looking for on my onions and bell peppers but I think that’s on me. Anyways I loved this recipe and will make it again

  • These are excellent! I’ve been looking for a recipe for bell peppers for a long time – this is it!

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

  • 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.


    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.

  • 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.

    • Good idea with salmon, will try it tonight, thank you

      • — Cindy Wilson on January 12, 2023
      • 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…

  • 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)

  • 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?

    • Glad you enjoyed this! I’d stick with the balsamic vinegar as it adds a nice depth of flavor.

      • I made this recipe and found it a gem! I typically use some sugar, like turbinado for the richness and sweeter taste Now balsamic is my go to ingredient for extra flavor!!

        • — Jacki on November 9, 2022
        • 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!!!

  • Had these last night with turkey burgers. So delicious! Added so much flavour to the burgers. Will be making often.

    • — Victoria L Peck
    • 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.

  • 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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