How To’s – Making Translucent Onions

Preparing and Sautee Transparent Onions 10
How To’s – Making Translucent Onions

Translucent onions are a nice addition to any dish that require further roasting or when you want to have an onion for a condiment that is not raw yet still has some crisp to the bite.
Cooking translucent onions is very simple and you will achieve perfection in no time. I use them in my Chicken Vesuvius plus many other recipes we will cover in future posts.

Once you master this “How To” of the perfect translucent onion you will not know why you never did this before 🙂 When you cook onions down to translucent you are eliminating some of the onion acidity yet still keeping the taste you love.

Key Note;
Translucent is not like Frying onions which adds that caramel color to onions and that is NOT what you are doing here. Remember!!!! If you are getting color to your onions, TURN DOWN THE HEAT!!

What You Will Need:
1 Cutting Board
1 Serrated Knife or Sharp Chef’s Knife (I prefer serrated since you have more control on thin slicing)
1 Large Fry Pan (I do not use non-stick for this since it will cause the onions to wilt to fast)
1 Pair of Tongs
Bowl (if making ahead of time – with tight fitting lid to store)


  • 2 Large White Onions (outside skin peeled)
  • 3 Tablespoons Light Olive Oil


Preparing and Sautee Transparent Onions 1

Using your cutting board and knife take off the outside peel of the white onion also top and bottom and discard. Place onion on its side and start to cut thin rings using your knife of choice to do the work.


If using a Chef’s knife, I would suggest take a small slice of the onion off one side as shown below (be sure to cut that as well and include it) lay the onion on the side you just cut so it is level and will not roll from you. Safety first 🙂 Then make your ring cuts as shown below


Preparing and Sautee Transparent Onions 6

Once you have all your onions cut into rings, separate the rings and lay them in your fry pan with no heat on the pan.

Preparing and Sautee Transparent Onions 7

Pour over the onions the light olive oil and using your tongs redistribute the oil. Turn on the heat to medium/low heat and start to sauté the onions moving them around to even out the heat. Remember you are NOT FRYING here you want to keep the heat throughout all of them, if it seems to be getting over done or getting color then turn your heat down.

Preparing and Sautee Transparent Onions 8

You will hear a shhh sound but with moving around the onions with tongs or wooden spoon it will die down fast. If you still hear that shhh while moving them around your heat is to high.

You can see by the pictures above, they are firm and raw appearing on the left picture plus they hold their shape and on the right is the perfect wilt and translucency when they are done. You should almost be able to see through them and they should wilt over your tongs when they are done. Turn your heat off and transfer them to a container to add them to your dish according to the recipe or store them after they have cooled in an airtight container for later use. Be sure to refrigerate if making these ahead of time. No need to refrigerate if using them the same day.

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