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How to Make Creamed Onions Using Pearl Onions

Fully illustrated, easy directions

Creamed onions are a tradition and favorite in my family and you like them, then here's an easy recipe for you! Following these directions ANYONE can make creamed onions for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any occasion! And if you can't get pearl onions or want an even easier version, here is the same recipe using regular sweet onions (like Vidalia or Peru Sweet Onions ).

Ingredients and Equipment

Yields about 5 servings

  • Frozen, peeled pearl onions2 lb fresh white pearl onions, left unpeeled; you can get frozen, peeled pearl onions at Trader Joe's (if you use these, start at step 2, and of course, you don't ned to peel them or cut the ends off)
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pint cup milk, heavy cream or half-and-half (I prefer the fat free half and half, to cut calories, fat and cholesterol, but retain the body and flavor)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
  • Cornstarch - about 4 tablespoons
  • Large pot or saucepan


  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Step 1 - Prepare the onions

Cut off both ends of the onions, just a piece the size of a nickle (1/2 inch, 1.5 cm). This will help the onions to cook and when cooled, it will be easy to simply squeeze the cooked onions out of their skins.

pearl Onions, simmeringStep 2 - Cook the onions

Simmer the onions, still with their skins on, just the ends cut off in a large pot (say 3 to 6 quart) of boiling water until tender through, about 20 minutes.

Step 3 - Cool the cooked onions

Drain the onions in a sieve, but save the liquid!

Put the drained onions to a bowl of ice water to stop them cooking and cool them.

Step 4 - Now squeeze their innards out

Well, that's what my boys call it! In other terms, you simply squeeze each onion in your fingers and the skins will remain in your fingers, while the insides will squirt out. If you used the already peeled onions then you skip this step.

Step 5 - Reheat the onions

This time, put the onions in the pot and add 1 cup of the saved onion juice, enough to fill the pot halfway up the onions.

Heat the mix to a gentle boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper, and if you desire 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Step 6 - Mix the cornstarch in the half and half

Whisk the 4 tablespoons of corn starch in the half and half, milk or cream.

Step 6 - Add the cream

Add the half and half or cream / cornstarch mixture to the boiling onoins/water mixture while stirring continuously. It should start to thicken almost immediately. If it is not a thick as you like, you can blend a couple more tablespoons of cornstarch in milk, cream, or half and half then add it to the gently boiling mixture. As soon as you reach the desired thickness, remove from the heat.

Step 7 - Season to taste

Stir in pepper, and any nutmeg or paprika that you like. I like just the pepper, sometimes, just a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, too.

Older recipes use a butter / flour mixture, called a "roux" (French, pronounced "roo"), but I preferr cornstarch since it does not have the pastey, flour taste, and cuts fat and calories, and thickens more reliably, too. So... if you are accustomed to the taste of the butter, you can add 3 or 4 tablespoons of butter now, just for taste.

Now, you are ready to serve!

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