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Make Ahead Brown Sugar Glazed Onions

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Sweet meets savoury in this fabulous holiday side dish.

Brown Sugar Glazed Onions! It might sounds strange, but oh my goodness are they ever delicious and it’s something a little different for your next Holiday meal.

Pearl Onions,  cooked in butter, stock and Thyme coated with a delicious brown sugar and apple cider glaze.  Honestly, how can you not want to eat these?

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter all come to mind, they pair really well with Ham and Turkey, which is what I normally serve, but they would be excellent with any Beef or Chicken Roast as well.

Make Ahead Instructions:

These glossy little gems of deliciousness are also totally prepaheadable! I love this for Holiday dinners which so often have me running around the kitchen at the last minute.

Make these Brown Sugar Glazed Onions up to 3 days ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator until needed. Then you have to options.

  1. Reheat in a pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes just before serving time.
  2. Place in an oven proof casserole or oven to table dish. Cover with foil and heat for 20-30 minutes until bubbly.
Brown Sugar Glazed Onions
Brown Sugar Glazed Pearl Onions

Fresh or Frozen Pearl Onions?

Now I’m not going to lie, using fresh pearl onions, instead of the frozen onions, is a little  more fussy and time consuming as you have to peel the onions.  In my opinion it’s worth the extra effort, and because these can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, it  isn’t a big inconvenience.  You decide, I’m not judging and I certainly won’t tell!   

How to easily peel pearl onions

If you have decided to use fresh pearl onions, here are some tips on how to make the task just a little easier!

  1. With a paring knife trim off the root ends of each onion
  2. Place all cleaned onions in a heat proof bowl
  3. Bring enough water to boil to cover the onions, and let sit 30 seconds
  4. Fill a large bowl with ice. Using a slotted spoon remove onions from boiling water and place in bowl with ice.
  5. Using your fingers, pinch the root end of the onion, the outer skin should peel off, allow the peeled pearl onion to “pop” out. If this doesn’t work use a paring knife to cut off the root end and remove the outer peel.

Come, let me show you how easy it is to make these delicious Brown Sugar Glazed Onions…

Brown Sugar Glazed Onions

Make Ahead Brown Sugar Glazed Onions

Brown Sugar Glazed onions are sweet and savoury. They make an excellent and different Thanksgiving Side Dish #loveonaplate #onions #thanksgivingrecipe #thanksgiving
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Make Ahead
Servings 2 cups


  • 2 cups pearl onions fresh peeled or frozen
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar


  • In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium low heat until it just sizzles.  Pour in onions, add thyme and saute about 4-5 minutes until they begin to brown.  Add chicken stock and let simmer until reduced about half.  It should be a bit syrupy.
  • Add brown sugar, and apple cider. stir and mix to coat well.  Pour into small casserole dish and serve immediately, or cover with foil and set aside for later.
  • To reheat place in a 350 oven, covered with foil for about 20-25 minutes.


To peel fresh pearl onions, trim off root end and place onions in a large heat proof mixing bowl.   Bring enough water to cover onions to a boil.   Pour over onions, and let blanch for about 30 seconds, using a slotted spoon transfer onions to a bowl filled with ice.
With you fingers, pinch the root end of the onion, which should slip off the outer peel.  If not, use a paring knife to remove.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

While we’re on the subject of Thanksgiving side dishes, I highly recommend you try my Instant Pot Southern Dressing.  It’s another dish you can make ahead, saving time and reducing stress on the big day.

By on October 11th, 2018
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Lara Brooks

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