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Cipollini Onions Recipe with Balsamic Glaze

Cippolini onions with a balsamic glaze are made with naturally sweet onions that melt in your mouth when cooked. This taste experience is only enhanced by the beautiful caramelization and the sweet and savory balsamic glaze they’re served with. This easy special occasion side dish is sure to impress!

serving balsamic glazed cipollini onions

These fall harvest Italian-style onions are a treat for holiday dinners atop roast prime rib, alongside a turkey breast, or as a side dish for pork chops. Pronounced Chip-OH-lee-knee, they are sometimes referred to as the classy onions! This elegant side dish would be a memorable addition to any festive menu.

Today’s simple recipe for balsamic glazed onions is a part of Fall Flavors Week. The onions were gifted to me by Melissa’s Produce, I was thrilled to work with Melissa’s Produce because they are already a staple in my kitchen. All opinions are my own. Melissa’s Produce, along with several other sponsors have generously donated prizes for a giveaway. Be sure and check them out below!

Why this recipe works

  • While the cooking process can take time to make these onions, you can make them ahead and just warm them up when you are ready to serve them
  • This recipe is a great way to have more vegetarian recipes on your table for the holidays or special occasion meals.
  • The natural sugar from the mild onions is heightened by the balsamic vinegar for a rich, yet low calorie recipe.

Melissa’s Produce

I’ve used Melissa’s Produce for years because they are in all of the grocery stores in California. They are the largest distributor of specialty produce. Their website has many unique recipes for their produce and has a way to order direct from them. Not only do they have fruits and vegetables, they also have many nuts and seeds that are super interesting, be sure and look for them in-store and on their website.

Be sure to enter the giveaway in the rafflecopter just above the recipe card! You can also see all of the other delicious recipes from #fallflavors week there too!

This cipollini onions recipe is very easy to make, but it does take time to cook on the stove. It’s the perfect side dish for holiday gatherings and other special occasions, so if you’re looking for a great accompaniment to dinner that’s a little different than your regular side dish, this is it!

bowl of cipollini onions

What are Cipollini Onions?

They are from the same family as regular onions. They are an heirloom variety, used often in Italian recipes. The literal translation in Italian means, little onion. Cipollini onions are smaller and flatter, as well as sweeter, milder, and have thinner skin than regular onions.

They used to be hard to find except in gourmet grocery stores and at a farmers market, but now you can pretty much find them year-round in most markets. Be sure to look for the Melissa’s Produce label at your local grocery store to know you have the freshest and best produce!

What to look for when buying them at the grocery store

Look for papery skins that are not bruised or wet. They should smell fresh and slightly sweet-smelling( they are easiy to smell because of their thin skin. I usually look for Melissa’s Produce Brand because I know they always produce good…well, produce!

ingredients for balsamic glazed onions

Ingredients for Italian Cipollini Onions Recipe

  • Cipollini onions – This recipe makes about 2 lbs, but you can easily double the recipe. It’s always a good idea to make more than you need because you can use what you don’t use on pizza, in salads, on a sandwich, you name it.
  • Sugar & Water – Caramelizing the sugar will be the base of the glaze and provide delicious sweetness.
  • Butter – Adds richness to the glaze, providing a silky smooth texture.
  • Fresh rosemary or fresh thyme – Balsamic is a sweet and savory vinegar that pairs well with fresh herbs, especially rosemary, and thyme.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – Use GOOD, high-quality vinegar. When planning to make a dish this special, it’s worth the extra effort to find the good stuff. Look for one that’s been aged at least 12 years and doesn’t have any additional ingredients like caramel, coloring, flavorings, or a blend of other vinegar. In a pinch you can use red wine vinegar, but the coloring will be different.
  • Bay leaves – A dried herb that is meant to infuse a ton of herbaceous flavor to the glaze, along with the thyme or rosemary, before being removed from the pan.
  • Chicken broth or vegetable stock – This gets added before the long-simmering time so that it provides enough liquid that will reduce to a thick syrup along with the balsamic and caramelized natural sugar.
  • Sea salt and black pepper – To taste!
step by step peeling the cipollini onions
Cutting onion tips to pop out the insides

How to Peel Cipollini onions

This is the biggest struggle for most people. But I have tested a ton of ways and found the easiest way on Melissa’s product packaging. They have a simple diagram to follow but is basically as follows:

  • Bring a large pot of water to boiling.
  • Boil the onions for 30-60 seconds.
  • Remove from heat, use a spider strainer to lift the onions out, and place them into a cold water bath in a large bowl for a couple of minutes to stop them from cooking.
  • Remove the onions from the cold water and dry them gently with a paper towel.
  • Cut off the end of the onion, the one that does NOT have the paper at the top.
  • Then, use your fingers to squeeze out the onion from the paper layers.

How to Make the Glaze

  • Add sugar and water to a heavy bottom pan and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium high heat until it turns to a dark golden brown color. Do not stir. The edges may turn a rich brown color and that’s ok.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add in the butter and 1/2 cup of balsamic. After you melt the butter and stir place the pan back on medium heat and whisk until everything has melted together.
  • Add peeled onions, bay leaves, broth, and sprigs of rosemary or thyme.
  • Simmer for approximately 90 minutes until the onions are tender and the glaze is thick and syrupy. Stir occasionally.
  • Remove the onions from the pan to a serving dish. Take out the bay leaves and sprigs and season the glaze with salt and pepper.

How to Serve It

Drizzle a couple of tablespoons over the onions in the serving dish and place the remaining glaze in a separate dish on the table for everyone to help themselves should they want a little extra.

Cippolini Onions Pinterest image

Other Ways to Serve Cipollini onions

Commonly Asked Questions

Are Pearl onions the same as Cipollini onions?

They are both smaller onions, but pearl onions are smaller than cipollinis. They can be used interchangeably in most recipes, however, there is more sugar in the Cipollinis so they are a little sweeter. 

How to store it?

The entire dish can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days, covered in an airtight container. I recommend storing the extra glaze separately and reheating them both gently on the stove when you’re ready to serve it again.

Can I make the balsamic glazed onions ahead of time?

Yes! These mild onions are great for prep ahead sides. Make them up to 2 days ahead of time to save time on the day you wish to serve them. Warm them on low to moderate heat in a sauce pan.

Main Dishes to serve these sweet mini onions with  

Welcome to #FallFlavors where more than 25 food bloggers are sharing recipes with favorite Fall flavors. Our sponsors, Millican Pecan, Dixie Crystals, Melissa’s Produce, Taylor & Colledge, Nairn’s, and Republic of Tea, have furnished participating bloggers with complimentary product to use in their recipe creations that they will be sharing this week. These same sponsors have generously offered prizes for our giveaway so be sure to enter and share with your friends so they can enter too. Be sure to follow our Fall Flavors Pinterest account for more inspiration.

Prize 1: Texas Pecan Candy Basket from Millican Pecan

Millican Pecan Texas Shaped Gift Basket

The Millican Pecan Texas Pecan Candy Basket is loaded with a variety of pecan gifts. Includes 6 Milk Chocolate Pecan Clusters, 6 Milk Chocolate Caramillicans (similar to Turtles), 6 White Chocolate Caramillicans, 6 Pecan Pralines, and a 1/2 lb. Bag of Flavored Pecans! Every bit DELICIOUS! A $75 value.

Prize 2: Williams Sonoma Cleartouch Nonstick 6-Piece Bakeware Set from Dixie Crystals

Bakeware set

Perfect for the occasional baker, our entry-level collection features a sturdy nonstick silicone coating at a great value. Aluminized steel, the material of choice for professional bakers, provides excellent heat transfer for even baking, so food turns out beautifully and releases easily, every time. 6-Piece Set includes: Half-sheet pan, 12-cup muffin pan, round cake pan, square cake pan, rectangular cake pan, loaf pan. An $80 value.

Prize 3: 3 Month Melissa’s Produce Gift Subscription

A stunning selection of the most delicious produce will be delivered once a month for 3 months. At Melissa’s, the produce is selected at their peak of perfection and packed by hand to ensure safe arrival. A $124 value.

Prize 4: A Red Dancing Leaves Teapot and a tin of Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea

Let the aroma of fresh apple and mulled cider spices envelop you as you sip this golden infusion. The crisp, lingering finish will leave you wanting more! A naturally-caffeine free blend of apples, cinnamon cloves and ginger. Reminiscent of apple cider, with the luscious aroma of cinnamon and cloves, make this cup the perfect accompaniment to the colors of the harvest season.

Embossed, windswept leaves whirl across this 20 oz ceramic teapot. Includes a stainless steel infuser. An exclusive design by The Republic of Tea. A $44 value

Prize 5: A selection of six flavors of Oat Crackers from Nairn’s

One winner will receive a box of each Nairn’s Original, Chocolate Chip, Stem Ginger Oat Grahams, Caramelized Onions, Rosemary & Sea Salt Flatbreads, and Oat Cracker. Nairn’s has been baking oats since 1896. They use simple, natural, and wholesome ingredients in their products. Minimum $25 value

Prize 6: A Selection of extracts from Taylor and Colledge.

One winner will receive a selection of extracts to include vanilla bean, almond, lemon, and lavender. In 1897, Taylor & Colledge won its first award for excellence in vanilla. Since then, the Taylor & Colledge commitment for unsurpassed quality has earned its reputation as one of the world’s finest producers of vanilla. Minimum of $25 value

a Rafflecopter giveaway Six (6) winners will be randomly selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. Bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners have 24 hours to respond once notified by email, or they forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. The #FallFlavors bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members living in the household cannot enter or win the giveaway. Entries will be verified. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter giveaway and the contest is open only to US residents. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #FallFlavors posts or entries. Thank you to our sponsors Millican Pecan Company, Dixie Crystals, Melissa’s Produce, Taylor & Colledge, Republic of Tea, and Nairn’s for providing prizes.
Yield: 6

Cipollini Onions Recipe with Balsamic Glaze

square image of a bowl of Italian cipollini onions with a glaze on them

Italian Cipollini Onions are the perfect gourmet side dish that you can make on the stovetop. Drizzled with a delicious balsamic glaze.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes


  • 2 pounds Cipollini Onions
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, salted
  • 2 Sprigs Rosemary or Thyme
  • 1/2 cup GOOD balsamic vinegar
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Boil small pan of water. Add the cipollini onions and boil for 30-60 seconds. Remove them from the boiling water and submerge them in a bowl of ice water for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove the onions from the cold water bath.
  3. Cut off the end of the onion that is the bottom, then gently squeeze from the end that is the top with the paper at the top. The onion will pop right out leaving behind the outer paper layers.
  4. In a heavy bottom pan add the sugar and water. Cook on medium heat until dark amber in color. Do not stir-- about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and the 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. Move pan back to the heat, whisking until it is all melted together. .
  6. Add the peeled onions, bay leaves, chicken broth and rosemary or thmye sprigs and let simmer.
  7. Reduce heat to low until onions are tender and the liquid is syrup-like --- about 90 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon lift onions out and place in a serving bowl. Remove the bay leaves and herb sprigs from the balsamic syrup.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. In serving bowl, spoon a couple of tablespoons over the top of the onions, then place the rest of the glaze in a side dish for each person to add themselves.
  11. Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Store the glaze and onions separately. Warm gently in a pan on low heat before serving.


This recipe was given to me by my cooking instructor Mai- at the New School of Cooking - It always is a favorite at holidays!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 348Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 279mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 19g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

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More #FallFlavors Recipes Below:

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Soups and Salads

Side Dishes

Main Dishes


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