Grilled Onions

5 from 1 vote

Learn how to make perfectly grilled onions every time with this easy-to-follow recipe! Grilled Vidalia onions go great on burgers, and taste amazing!

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Smoky grilled onions make the perfect addition to any bbq and especially hamburgers! The char from the grill paired with the subtle bite and sweetness of a Vidalia onion is a flavor combination that can’t be beaten.

Grilled onion slices and grilled onion chunks on skewers served on a white plate with parley garnish.

Onions are a quintessential part of summer cuisine. Whether you’re grilling salmon burgers and hot dogs, a juicy steak, or preparing a delicious salad, onions add flavor and depth to any dish. But slicing and grilling onions can be tricky – they often fall through the grill grates. In this recipe, I’ll share some tips and tricks for how to grill sweet onions perfectly every time!

why you’ll love these grilled Vidalia onions

  • Perfect for burgers. Grilled onions add another layer of flavor to your burger. The sweetness of the onion pairs perfectly with the savory beef burger and salty cheese.
  • They’re easy to make! With just a few simple tips, you can grill onions like a pro.
  • They’re versatile. You can enjoy them as a side dish or add them to your favorite recipe.
  • Grilling brings out the flavor of the onion. The high heat of the grill caramelizes the sugars in the onion, resulting in a sweet and savory flavor.

Ingredients you need to make grilled onions

  • Onions!: Vidalia onions are my personal favorite, but you can use any type of onion you like. I recommend going for a sweeter variety of onions, such as a Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Maui onion.
  • Olive oil: This will help prevent the onions from sticking to the grill grates.
  • Spices: A little bit of salt and pepper goes a long way in bringing out the flavor of the onions.
Two whole onions, oil, salt and pepper for recipe.

How to grill onion rings/Slices

If you want to make grilled onions for burgers, then slices are the way to go!

Prep The Onion slices

  1. Lay the onion on its side on your cutting board, and cut the onions into thick slices.
  2. Carefully slide the metal skewers through the center of the onion rings, while holding down the rings with your other hand.
  3. Use a brush to spread the olive oil and seasoning all over the onions on both sides.
3 image collage preparing onions for grilling by cutting into rings and placing on skewers, and then brushing with oil.

Grill Onion Rings

  1. Preheat the grill. Place the onion skewers directly on the grill.
  2. Flip the onions and cook until they easily release off the grill and have softened.
2 image collage showing onion rings on skewers being grilled then flipped to show grill marks.

how to grill onion chunks

Grilled onion chunks go great with grilled steak, grilled marinated chicken, or anything else you might be throwing on the grill!

Prep Onion chunks

  1. Cut the onion in half vertically.
  2. Carefully slide the metal skewers from the smaller part of the onion chunk through to the larger side.
  3. Use a brush to spread the olive oil and seasoning all over the onions on both sides.
3 image collage preparing onions for grilling by cutting into chunks and placing on skewers, and then brushing with oil.

Grill Onion Chunks

  1. Place the onion skewers directly on the preheated grill.
  2. Cook until they easily release off the grill and have softened.
2 image collage showing onion chunks on skewers being grilled then flipped to show grill marks.

Tips for grilling onions

  1. Use sweet onions. While this recipe works well with any type of onions, sweet ones like Vidalia get the best caramelization on the grill.
  2. Repurpose leftovers easily. Grilled onions are delicious fresh off the grill, but for some reason, they are just not as appealing the next day. So I love to throw them in a pot with other vegetables to make an easy marinara sauce or soup like tomato soup or creamy vegetable soup.
  3. Freeze them. Yes, you can actually freeze grilled onions! Just place them in a freezer-safe bag and use them within six months. They’re great to have on hand for last-minute meals or when you’re short on time.
  4. Use the skewers. It may be tempting to just place the onion rings or chunks directly on the grill, but I find that skewering them makes it much easier to turn and cook evenly without losing them through the grates.

popular substitutions & additions

  • Marinate your onions. If you want to add even more flavor to your grilled onions, try marinating them in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and your favorite herbs.
  • Add some spice. If you like things spicy, try adding a few dashes of hot sauce or cayenne pepper to the mix.
  • Make it cheesy. Grilled onions are delicious on their own, but if you’re looking to take them to the next level, try adding some cheese. A few slices of cheddar or Swiss cheese would be delicious!

what to serve with your grilled onions

Plate with grilled onion chunks on skewers served with grilled tomatoes and grilled potatoes.

how to store & reheat grilled onions

Grilled onions can be stored in the fridge. To reheat, simply place them in a pan over medium heat until warmed through.

how long will grilled onions last in the fridge?

Grilled onions will last in the fridge for up to four days.

Can you freeze grilled onions?

Yes, grilled onions can be frozen! Simply place them in a freezer-safe bag and use them within six months. They are great in soups! They will not hold their crunch and may be a little soggy, but the flavor is still there, making them perfect for soups.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best onions for grilling?

The best onions for grilling are sweet onions like Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Maui. You can use red, white, or yellow onions, but they won’t be as caramelized.

Can you grill onions without oil?

No, it’s best to use oil to prevent the onions from sticking to the grill grates and to help them caramelize.

Do you have to peel onions before grilling?

For this recipe, I do recommend peeling the onions, but if you’re in a pinch, you can leave the skins on. Just make sure to give them a good rinse before cooking. You don’t want the skins igniting.

Turkey burger without top bun showing grilled onion ring.

So there you have it – everything you need to know about grilling sweet onions! I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful the next time you fire up the grill. Enjoy! Do you have any other tips or tricks for grilling onions? Share them in the comments below! Happy grilling

More grilled vegetables:

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Grilled Onions

Learn how to make perfectly grilled onions every time with this easy-to-follow recipe! Grilled Vidalia onions go great on burgers, and taste amazing!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 6
Course Side
Calories 77
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 22 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 sweet onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley to garnish

Instructions

  • Peel off the outer layers of the onions and discard. Leave the root end intact to make it easier to cut the onions.

For grilled onion slices:

  • Lay the onion on its side on your cutting board, and cut the onions into ½ inch thick slices. Cut off the root and discard. You should get about 4-6 rings per onion. Carefully slide the metal skewers through the center of the onion rings, while holding down the rings with your other hand.

For grilled onion chunks:

  • Cut the onion in half vertically. Make three vertical cuts into each half and then slice them in half crosswise. Cut off the root and discard. You should get 12 chunks per onion. Carefully slide the metal skewers from the smaller part of the onion chunk through to the larger side. Add as many onion chunks that can fit on a skewer (3-6)

Grilling Instructions:

  • Drizzle the onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Use a brush to spread the olive oil and seasoning all over the onions on both sides.
  • Preheat the grill or grill pan to medium heat and oil the grates or pan. Place the onion skewers directly on the grill. Cook for 5 minutes, then try to flip (if sticky, keep on for 1-2 more minutes) and cook for 5-7 more minutes until they easily release off the grill and have softened.
  • Serve immediately with fresh parsley, if desired.

Notes

Tip: When grilling onion slices or chunks don’t leave out the skewer. It really makes a difference and will keep more onions on your plate than down in the grate! 

Nutrition

Calories: 77kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 14mg, Potassium: 131mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Grilled onion slices and grilled onion chunks on skewers served on a white plate with parley garnish.

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