Caramelized Onions and Fennel // Tasty Toppings

Today, I have a super simple recipe to share with you. Caramelized onions and fennel is a fennel and onion lover’s dream come true. Full of deep, rich flavors from a long and slow caramelization, this simple combo has a rich and complex flavor profile. I lazily stirred this to soft perfection on a Sunday morning. I plan to spruce up my simple meals with it all week long. My brain can’t even process how delicious this is going to be on toast with cream cheese in the morning. A batch of caramelized onions and fennel in your fridge is like an ace up your sleeve. Suddenly, your poached egg and polenta looks and tastes mighty impressive when topped with this flavorful mixture. Fancy up your usual chicken breast, pamper your pork chop.

This recipe is so easy. Even an absolute beginner can master it. Throw everything into a pot, and stir occasionally. That’s it. Maybe you can catch up on your favorite TV show while your home fills with the delicious aroma of bubbling onions and fennel. Or you could do something productive like start on the spring cleaning. Really though, who am I kidding. I’ll definitely be doing the first one. Or did…past tense. I’ve already eaten this. Blogging is weird like that. Food from the future, or the past. I need coffee.

See that beautiful shimmer? That’s butter. Yep. Deliciousness always follows a butter shine. Paula Deen, eat your heart out.

Make sure to save your fennel fronds! The little feathery bits are edible and delicious. Finish your dishes with the chopped fronds instead of parsley. Waste not.

If you’ve never had fennel, you should really give it a try! It’s a relatively new addition to my repertoire, and I’m in love. It has a subtle anise flavor to it that’s unmistakable. Not overwhelming on the anise front, but definitely present. The smell is divine. It’s in season now, and readily available at my local market.

It’s going to look like you have an insane amount of onions. An entire 6 quart pot full. They cook down to about 2 cups. Not so insane.


  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (thin sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar (helps the onions to brown)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat.
  • Add the onions and fennel, toss to coat them in oil and cover. Reduce the heat to very low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes. They don’t need your attention through this process.
  • After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar.
  • Cook onions, stirring semi frequently for 60 to 70 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown.

The garnish is a fennel frond. Doesn’t it look just like fresh dill? So pretty.

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This topping would also be fantastic on a goat cheese gallete. Super fancy pants.


7 thoughts on “Caramelized Onions and Fennel // Tasty Toppings

  1. I love caramelized onions and caramelized fennel but have never combined the two. Seems like a good way to stretch that amazing fennel flavor!

  2. Delicious! Fennel bulb is yummy – not sure about the leaf though, it has too much of an anise kick for me. Eating fennel always takes me back to my youth – there were masses of wild fennel not far from my house and we used to play there.

    • That sounds absolutely lovely! I can’t imagine how glorious that must have smelled. You’re right, the leaf does have a really strong anise kick. As a lover of black licorice, I may be biased.

  3. Pingback: Poached Eggs with Polenta and Caramelized Fennel | Happy Good Time Blog

  4. Fennel has to be the most underrated vegetable of all time. If there’s someone going around rating vegetables, that is. I’m a huge fan of it raw but I may have to try this out! Looks ridiculously good.

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