We love the crispy crunch of fried onions. Fried onions add nutrients, fiber, and flavor to your dishes. In fact, it is not uncommon for most people to eat an entire batch before they even make it to the table.
If you are wondering whether you can fry onions and then freeze them in order to have enough to top your next dish, the answer is YES! Find out how to freeze onions, as well as a few ideas for the best ways to use frozen onions.
Can You Freeze Onions?
Freezing onions provides an excellent way to stock your kitchen, save time and money as well as extend the shelf life of your onions. Whether you have red onions, white onions, or sweet onions, frying and freezing them is a great way to save time and money.
Freshly fried onions store quite well, especially when freeze-dried. In addition, these onions contain a high moisture content, which makes them ideal for freezing. Stashed in ice cube trays, frozen fried onions can go a very long time without going bad.
How Long Do Fried Onions Last in the Freezer?
You can store fried onions in the freezer for a lifetime. Just make sure to store them in airtight containers or resealable bags immediately after cooking and cooling down. If left to stay at room temperature for long periods after cooking, they may harbor harmful bacteria.
That said, it is generally recommended for frozen vegetables to be eaten within 8 months for the best quality. Once frozen solid, transfer them from the ice cube trays into a storage bag and then put them in the freezer.
Alternatively, if you do not want to freeze onions, they can be made 2 to 3 days in advance and stored in zip lock backs in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
Why Freeze Fried Onions?
To Avoid Food Waste
Freezing fried onions helps you avoid food waste. If, for instance, you fry more onions than you need, freezing provides a great way to preserve them to use later.
To Save Money
Wasting food is akin to wasting money. Oftentimes, it is cheaper to buy onions in bulk than singletons. So freeze the extras and spend less money.
Chopped onions that have been fried are often more convenient to use than fresh ones since they are recipe-ready. Freezing fried onions is ideal for having your onions on hand when you need only a small amount for a recipe. In addition, they provide a quick way to add flavor, fiber, and nutrients to your recipes.
How to freeze caramelized onions?
Freezing fried onions is ideal for having onions on hand when you need only a small amount for your recipe.
What You’ll Need
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Reusable freezer bag / airtight containers
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Whole onions
- Cooking oil
- Food processor (if you need to make a big batch of fried onions)
Step One: Preparation
Select fully mature onions and peel off the outer papery skin. Scrub the onion clean with a vegetable brush under cold water.
Step 2: Chop Into the Desired Size
Chopped or sliced onions are quite universal for a lot of recipes. Ensure to slice your fresh onions into thin layers. This really helps with the crunch. Onions that are too thick will turn into onion rings, which, although delicious, are not fried onions. To slice onions:
- Sit outside in an area with a flowing breeze to protect your eyes from the onion sting that causes you to cry a river.
- Peel the onions and place them on a chopping board.
- Slice the onions thinly
- Place the diced onions on a plate
Alternatively, you can throw them into a food processor for some grinding or mincing. To decide whether to chop, slice or mince your onions, think about what you use them for most often and then chop or slice accordingly.
Step 3: Fry
- Take a large pot, like a soup pot, and heat. ( A large pot works well as it reduces spattering.)
- Fill the pan to about 1-2 inches deep with your preferred frying oil. (For best outcomes, choose an oil with a neutral flavor and a high smoke point)
- Heat the oil to 350 degrees over medium heat.
- Start frying your onions in small batches until they turn golden brown. (make sure to stir every now and then until they soften)
- Remove the properly fried onions from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
- Repeat the above steps until all onions are fried. Add salt to taste and mix the onions slightly when they are all fried.
Properly cooked onions will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. To further extend the shelf life of your cooked onions, consider freezing them.
How to Store Fried Onions?
After frying your onions, wait for them to cool down to room temperature. This step is crucial as it helps prevent condensation in the container during freezing.
- Once cooled, use a clean and dry paper towel to squeeze out any excess moisture once cooled gently.
- Place them in ziplock bags in a thin layer. The onions will freeze best when frozen as individually as possible.
- Label the freezer bags or containers with the freezing date.
- Place the packages flat in the freezer. This helps the fried onions to free faster. It also makes it easier to break off sections as needed.
Pro Tips # Express out as much air as you can and place the onions on cookie sheets or metal pans until they are frozen solid.
How to Freeze Fried Onions in Small Manageable Amounts?
To freeze fried onions in small, easy-to-manage amounts, use muffin cups. Line the muffin cups with plastic wrap. Let the onions cool completely before packing them into the tins. Place in the freezer until solid.
Additional Tips for Freezing Dried Onions
Now that you know the right way to freeze fried onions, here are some additional tips that might come in handy:
Pro Tip 1: Use Thick Freezer Bags
Do not use freezer sandwich bags to freeze your onions. Instead, go for thicker freezer bags. These bags will help keep your onions in good shape, as well as the risk of onion odor leaking in the freezer. this is recommended to avoid the spread of the pungent smell of onion into other foods in your freezer.
Pro Tip 2: Date the Containers
Make sure to label the bags with the date you’ll be putting them in the freezer.
Pro Tip 3: Minimize the Strong Onion Odor
Frozen fried onions always come in handy when you like to whip up a quick dinner or some quick onion recipe.
How to Defrost Cooked Onions?
One of the main reasons why we love frozen fried onions is that you do not need to thaw them every time you want to use them. Since the onions are already cooked, you can simply toss them straight from the freezer into your recipe.
This is why it is recommended to freeze them in small batches. This way, all you need to do is to take out the amount you need without worrying about any leftovers.
Where to Use Frozen Onions?
The best part about homemade frozen onions is that you can chop them to your preferred sizes. The main downside is that freezing may change their texture, making them not suitable for fresh dishes like salsa and salads.
That said, most recipes call for the use of fried onions as a flavorsome ingredient for sauteing. Here are some delish recipes that you can use with your frozen fried onions;
French Onion Soup: Frozen fried onions give this stew extra flavor. Pair this savory soup with French bread for a filling meal.
French Onion Chicken: Chicken breast slathered with French onion broth makes a sumptuous weeknight meal.
Mexican Meatball Stew: Mexican meatball stew is your perfect bet if you are looking for comfort food. Plus, the blend of sweet and sour from the tomatoes and corn will truly delight your taste buds.
Fried onions FAQs
FAQ 1: Are Sauteed Onions the Same as Caramelized Onions?
Caramelized onions are onions that have been cooked over a long period of time in oil. On the other hand, Sauteed onions do not take too long on the heat. The goal is usually to get them to soften and brown while still retaining their sharp onion odor and flavor.
FAQ 2: How Do You Keep Fried Onions Crispy?
To maintain the crispiness of fried onion:
- Take a clean freezer bag or an airtight container and scoop the freshly fried sweet onions into it.
- Dry freeze them, only taking them out when you need to use them.
- Scoop out only the amount needed for your recipe and put the remaining frozen fried garlic back into the freezer.
FAQ 3: Which Onions Are the Best for Frying?
The aromatic and oh-so savory sweet onions, also known as Vidalia onions, are the perfect candidates for making delicious and crunchy fried onions rings. Sweet onions have a uniform color throughout and the perfect amount of sugars. Like yellow onion varieties, sweet onions are also versatile making them great for meat roasts, ground beef, and roasted vegetables. That said, you can use any type of onions, be it white, red, yellow, or sweet onions. Just make sure they have thin layers for that crispy frying.
FAQ 4: How Long Can Your Store Fried Onions?
Cooked onions should be stored in airtight containers or zip-lock sandwich bags and frozen. When properly frozen, cooked onions can last indefinitely.
FAQ 5: Are Frozen Cooked Onions Good for Consumption?
Frozen fried onions are perfect for use in stews, soups, sauteeing with veggies, and generally just about any cooked dishes. The best part is that you don’t even need to thaw them. Not, however, that freezing onions change their texture. Therefore, we do not recommend using them in fresh dishes like potato salad or salsa.