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Decadent Creamed Onions

A photo of Carolyn BinderCreamed onions are the most beloved side dish that we serve for Thanksgiving at Cowlick Cottage Farm (see also, The Search for the Best Turkey Recipe).  I would be fired from my role as matriarch if I did not serve these sweet little pearls to my family for Thanksgiving dinner.  I make a double batch every year, and every year it is gone by the end of dinner.  In fact, I think the first batch is gone before the pan leaves the stove.  People steal the onions right out of their pot.  My family thinks I am not aware of this, but like all mothers, I have eyes in the back of my head.  There are never leftover creamed onions.  The dish is rich, creamy, and it has a wonderful holiday aroma while it is bubbling on the stove.  Inhale the creamed onions!

By popular request, here is my very simple recipe.  I hope you try it, and please let me know if you like it as much as we do!

Decadent Creamed Onions 


1 bag frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 pint heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh ground nutmeg
A dash of sherry (optional, but don’t use cooking sherry—it’s too salty)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, thyme or chives to garnish


What is unusual about my creamed onions is that I do not use the typical butter, flour and milk base. I use straight heavy cream.  Because I like to be different, and I’m a little rebellious. Grab a medium-sized heavy saucepan and pour the entire pint of heavy cream into it.  Add the butter and the thawed pearl onions, including the juices that accumulate from thawing.  Over medium high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, and then lower the heat to medium, and simmer until the cream thickens to your liking.  I takes at least 15-20 minutes for the cream to really thicken into a rich, silky sauce.  I like mine thick enough to coat a spoon.  Make sure you keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally while it’s bubbling so that the cream does not scorch on the bottom of the pan.  Season to taste with fresh ground nutmeg, sherry, salt, and fresh ground pepper (I like to use white pepper if I’ve got it).  Once the cream sauce is thickened, you may lower the heat to keep the onions warm until you are ready to serve them. 

A little fresh chopped parsley, thyme or chives makes the dish especially pretty!