Here’s how to make the best grilled onions, sweet and charred to perfection! They come out with incredible flavor, a fantastic side dish for summer meals.
Onions are usually back up characters in a recipe; but have you tried them on the grill? Meet one of the best summer side dishes out there: Grilled Onions! The grill does wonders to this layered vegetable: the flavor turns from spicy to sweet and a little smoky. It becomes a tender and charred version of its former self, and the bright pink color is simply vibrant! Alex and I make sure to throw in red onions with a pile of other grilled vegetables because they add incredible flavor. They’re a perfect side to grilled shrimp or burgers.
Want to grill all the veggies? Go to Best Grilled Vegetables!
Ingredients for grilled onions
Onions and the grill are the perfect pairing! Because they’re are so perfectly suited to grilling, you barely need to season them at all. When Alex first pulled these off of the grill, I kept asking “What did you put on these?” Nope, onions barely need any seasoning to taste like a revelation. Here are the 3 ingredients you need to make grilled onions:
- Red onions
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Tip: How to cut onions for grilling
Here’s the number one most important thing about making grilled onions: cut them so the root end stays intact. Here’s why:
- Keep the root intact so the layers stay together on the grill. Otherwise, the onion will separate into layers and all the layers will fall into the grates. If you accidentally do this, it’s ok! You’ll just need to use a grill basket or sheet of foil and place that over the grates.
- Cut the onion in half, then make wedges by cutting just below the root. This lets the layers all stay attached with the root end. See the photos for details!
How to grill onions
Use the right cutting technique (above), and you can grill the onions right on the grates! It’s fast and easy: just cook them until they’re charred and tender. Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):
- Preheat a grill to medium high heat. That’s about 375 to 450 degrees.
- Slice the onions into wedges, leaving the root end in tact. This lets the layers stay together on the grill.
- Toss with olive oil and salt. It’s all you need
- Grill on the grates for 8 to 10 minutes. Cook until charred and tender, turning once.
Make it into a grilled meal!
Grilled onions are a great side dish to any summer grilled dinner! Here are a few main dishes that pair well with the sweet tender goodness of red onions:
- Grilled veggie burger. Try our Best Veggie Burger, which holds up on the grill just like a meat burger. Better yet, add the onions right on top! Or go for a Portobello Mushroom Burger.
- Grilled shrimp. This Grilled Shrimp, Blackened Shrimp, Cajun Shrimp, or Grilled Scallops would make a fantastic pairing.
- Grilled tofu. Not a tofu fan? This Grilled Tofu will make you a believer.
- Grilled fish. You must try these with Perfect Grilled Salmon or Grilled Ahi Tuna.
Grilled veggies that pair well with onions
Another way we love to serve grilled onions is in combination with a few other veggies. Here are our top choices for veggies to serve along with onions:
- Perfect Grilled Peppers Peppers and onions are the perfect pair.
- Grilled Squash or Grilled Zucchini Squash or zucchini are another fantastic fit with onions: both color and flavor.
- Grilled Portobellos or Grilled Mushrooms The savoriness of the mushrooms go with the sweetness of the onion.
- Perfect Potatoes, Potatoes in Foil or Grilled Sweet Potatoes Potatoes and onions are a classic combo.
- Grilled Carrots Perfectly charred, earthy carrots are another great way to accessorize onions.
- Grilled Asparagus or Green Beans These veggies are at their best charred from the grill; add onion for a tasty counterpoint.
- Cabbage Wedges or Bok Choy Unique, but tasty!
- Grilled Pineapple Not a veggie, but this sweet fruit pairs perfectly with red onion.
- BBQ Grilled Cauliflower or Grilled Broccoli Make a big platter with these florets and grilled onions for stunning color.
This recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.Print
Here’s how to make the very best grilled onions, sweet and charred to perfection! They come out with incredible flavor, a fantastic side dish for summer meals.
- 2 medium red onions (or any variety)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Cut the onions into wedges, leaving root partially intact so the layers stay together. Place it in a bowl and mix it with the olive oil and kosher salt.
- Place directly on the grill grates and grill the onions 8 to 10 minutes until tender, turning several times.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Grilled
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Grilled onions, Grilled red onions, How to grill onions
More summer recipes
Summer is the perfect time for effortless meals! Here are some of our top recipes for summer:
- Summer Cocktails Gotta have a drink with your meal! Try our Aperol Spritz, Mojito, or Vodka Tonic.
- Summer Side Dishes Need more side dishes for the season? Try our creamy Summer Cucumber Salad, Elote (Mexican Street Corn), and more.
- Summer Salads You Need Now Summer produce is everything salads. Try this Watermelon Salad, Grilled Caesar Salad or Greek Orzo Salad.
- Summer Dinner Recipes Need main dish ideas? We’ve got you covered too, from Sheet Pan Nachos to Greek Veggie Skewers.
- Pineapple or Grilled Apples a La Mode End the meal with grilled fruit!
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.