It’s hard to convince anyone who uses traditional cooking methods to carefully saute onions that caramelizing them works even better. This method cuts cooking time in half, and the flavor is even better for those who love adding onion slices to their meals. Experienced and amateur chefs alike will attest to this J. Kenji Lopez-Alt recipe, in which he has carried out different tests to find an alternative to the traditional slow cooking technique of browning onions.

To show how determined he was, Lopez-Alt used 20 pounds of sliced onions in the process and stated that caramelizing onions beats any other method. In his view, it takes about 30 to 40 minutes of regularly tossing the onions in a pan with some butter. One may add broth or any other ingredient they desire, but have to check the onions occasionally to prevent browning. To reach the desired taste, one has to spend a lot of time by the pan.

According to the chefs’ findings, cooking time can be drastically reduced if one chooses to caramelize their onions by adding a pinch of baking soda to the onion slices and cranking up the heat. To ensure the onions are not charred in the pan, cook them on a slow heat. However, if one chooses to increase the heat, occasionally add a splash of water when they threaten to burn up. A few tablespoons of water even out the cooking to ensure a smooth process without any charred onions, which changes their taste.

Since baking soda increases the browning rate of onion slices, moderation is key in avoiding the final product having a baking soda taste. Then, it’s essential to ensure the amounts used are minimal to maintain the flavors in the onions. Once the onions are done, they can be served over soup, sandwiches, or one’s favorite snack to add a twist to the flavor. 

Occasionally, cooking hacks tend to alter the flavor and give a dish a completely different taste. However, that’s not the case with caramelized onions, which seem to be the opposite seeing as caramelization adds great flavor to the onions. It is a useful cooking trick that anyone can use at home to reduce cooking time while also resulting in tremendous flavor, so long as they are moderate when adding the baking soda.