How to Grill Onions: 3 Ways

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Do you feel like your burger is missing something?! It’s probably begging for grilled onions.

Besides avoiding heating your house during the hot summer months, grilling onions on the BBQ, whether it be red, yellow or white, also adds a smoky flavor and added texture to many dishes like burgers, salads or all on their own.

Let’s go over how to grill onions step-by-step including wedges, rings and in foil packages:

Grilled, sliced red onions in bowl.

How Long to Grill Onions?

Onions are grilled perfectly when slightly charred and softened. The time it takes to achieve this will depend on the cut (wedges, slices, whole), the temperature of the grill, etc. Slices and wedges will have a similar cooking time (about 20 minutes) but it will take longer for a whole onion (about 40 minutes).

Are Grilled Onions Good For You?

Onions are packed with vitamins and minerals, but low in calories. Some of these nutrients include vitamin c, b vitamins and potassium. They are high in antioxidants that may help lower the risk of heart disease as well as cancer-fighting compounds. Raw onions contain more sulfur compounds than cooked, but cooked still provide health benefits. Not everyone can handle eating a raw onion, so cooking the onions can make them easier to digest.

Before You Begin

White onions and a bowl of salt on a wooden cutting board.

To get started, make sure you grab whatever types of onions you would like to grill: red, white or yellow. You will also need some basics like olive oil, salt, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, and BBQ sauce, depending on the method you choose. Check out all 3 ways below:

How to Grill Onion Wedges

Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Tools

  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh thyme or your favorite fresh herbs (optional)
  • Tongs

Step 2: Peel & Trim the Onions

White onion wedges on a wooden cutting board.

Remove the outer layer of each onion and trim off the tops. Leaving the bottom intact will help keep the wedges together.

If you want to cut the bottom of the onions off, use a grill mat to place the wedges on when cooking. This will keep them from falling through the grates.

Step 3: Cut into Wedges

White onion wedges on a wooden cutting board.

Cut the onions in half, then cut each half into quarters. Cut the quarters in half to create 8 wedges per onion.

White onion wedges on a wooden cutting board.
White onion wedges on a wooden cutting board.
White onion wedges on a wooden cutting board.
White onion wedges in a pan.

Step 4: Heat the Grill

White onion wedges on the grill.

Charcoal Grill: preheat to medium-high heat. Put the coals on one side of the grill to create an indirect heat zone.

Gas Grill: turn half of the burners on to medium-high heat to create an indirect heat zone.

Arrange the onions on the indirect-heat side (no flame underneath), but still close to the fire.

Step 5: Grill the Onions

White onion wedges on the grill.

Brush them with olive oil, cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until softened and slightly charred.

Step 6: Remove From Grill

Grilled white onions in wooden bowl.

Place them on a plate and drizzle with some olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh herbs, to taste.

How to Grill Red Onion Rings

If you’re looking for grilled onions to top your burgers or brats with, these red onion rings are the way to go. You can use yellow or white onions with this technique as well. The balsamic dressing is optional.

Step 1: Prep the Ingredients & Tools

Red onions on wooden background.
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh rosemary leaves, optional
  • Small bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Tongs
  • Pastry brush

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Step 2: Slice the Onions

Sliced, red onion on wooden background.

Peel the outer layer of the onions off. Trim off the tops and bottoms. Slice onions into ½ inch rings.

Sliced, red onion on wooden background.

Step 3: Make the Dressing

Olive oil and herbs on wooden background.

Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and rosemary leaves in a small bowl.

Olive oil and herbs on wooden background.
Olive oil and herbs on wooden background.

Step 4: Transfer Onion Rings to Baking Sheet

Grilled, sliced red onions on metal baking sheet on grill.

Arrange the onions on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with some of the oil/vinegar mixture, reserving the rest to serve with later.

Note: If you aren’t using the balsamic dressing, brush the tops of the onions with some olive oil.

Step 5: Grill the Onion Rings

Grilled, sliced red onions on metal baking sheet on grill.

Place the baking sheet on the preheated grill (medium heat). With the grill open, cook for about 8 to 10 minutes per side. You want them to caramelize a bit and soften.

Step 6: Remove From Grill & Serve

Grilled, sliced red onions on metal baking sheet on grill.

Remove the onion rings from the grill to a serving bowl. Toss with some of the reserved oil/vinegar mixture and serve!

Grilled, sliced red onions in bowl.

How to Grill Whole Onions in Foil

Step 1: Gather Ingredients & Tools

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp. BBQ sauce
  • Freshly chopped parsley, optional
  • Foil

Charcoal Grill: preheat to medium-high heat. Put the coals on one side of the grill to create an indirect heat zone.

Gas Grill: turn half of the burners on to medium-high heat to create an indirect heat zone.

Step 2: Add Onion to Foil

White onion in foil on wooden background.

Peel the outer layer of the onion off. Cut the top and bottom off. Place it on a piece of foil, large enough to wrap completely around it. Add the BBQ sauce and parsley.

Grilled onion in foil on wooden background.

Step 3: Wrap the Onion in the Foil

Grilled onion in foil on wooden background.

Wrap the onion up in the foil, creating a foil package.

Step 4: Place the Foil Package on the Grill

Grilled onion in foil on the grill.

Place it on the grill over the indirect heat, close the lid and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until softened all the way through.

Step 5: Serve!

Grilled onion in foil on wooden background.

Carefully open up the foil package; it will be hot. Slice and serve, topped with fresh parsley, or as desired.

And there you have it: grilled onions 3 ways. Which way did you like best? Let us know in the comments and please share this recipe!

Grilled, sliced red onions in bowl.

How to Grill Onions

Joss D
We will go over how to grill onions step-by-step including wedges, rings and in foil packages.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 11 kcal

Ingredients
  

For Onion Wedges:

  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh thyme or your favorite fresh herbs - optional

For Onion Rings:

  • 2 medium red onions
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt - to taste
  • Fresh rosemary leaves - optional

For Whole Onion in Foil:

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp. BBQ sauce
  • Freshly chopped parsley - optional

Instructions
 

For Onion Wedges:

  • Remove the outer layer of each onion and trim off the tops. Leaving the bottom intact will help keep the wedges together.1
    2 medium yellow onions
    White onion wedges on a wooden cutting board.
  • Cut the onions in half, then cut each half into quarters. Cut the quarters in half to create 8 wedges per onion.
    White onion wedges in a pan.
  • If using charcoal, put the coals on one side of the grill to create an indirect heat zone at medium-high heat. If using gas, turn half of the burners on to medium-high heat. Arrange the onions on the indirect-heat side (no flame underneath), but still close to the fire.
    White onion wedges on the grill.
  • Brush them with olive oil, cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until softened and slightly charred.
    White onion wedges on the grill.
  • Place them on a plate and drizzle with some more olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh herbs, to taste.
    Grilled white onions in wooden bowl.

For Onion Rings:

  • Preheat the grill to medium heat. Peel the outer layer of the onions off. Trim off the tops and bottoms. Slice onions into ½ inch rings.
    2 medium red onions
    Sliced, red onion on wooden background.
  • Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and rosemary leaves (if using) in a small bowl.
    3 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    Olive oil and herbs on wooden background.
  • Arrange the onions on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with some of the oil/vinegar mixture, reserving the rest to serve with later.2
    Grilled, sliced red onions on metal baking sheet on grill.
  • Place the baking sheet on the preheated grill (medium heat). With the grill open, cook for about 8 to 10 minutes per side. You want them to caramelize a bit and soften.
    Grilled, sliced red onions on metal baking sheet on grill.
  • Remove the onion rings from the grill to a serving bowl. Toss with some of the reserved oil/vinegar mixture.
    Grilled, sliced red onions on metal baking sheet on grill.
  • Serve!
    Grilled, sliced red onions in bowl.

For Whole Onion in Foil:

  • Charcoal Grill: preheat to medium-high heat. Put the coals on one side of the grill to create an indirect heat zone.
    Gas Grill: turn half of the burners on to medium-high heat to create an indirect heat zone.
  • Peel the outer layer of the onion off. Cut the top and bottom off. Place it on a piece of foil, large enough to wrap completely around it. Add the BBQ sauce and parsley.
    1 medium yellow onion, 2 tbsp. BBQ sauce
    White onion in foil on wooden background.
  • Wrap the onion up in the foil, creating a foil package.
    Grilled onion in foil on wooden background.
  • Place it on the grill over the indirect heat, close the lid and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until softened all the way through.
    Grilled onion in foil on the grill.
  • Carefully open up the foil package; it will be hot. Slice and serve, topped with fresh parsley, or as desired.
    Grilled onion in foil on wooden background.

Equipment

Outdoor grill

Notes

  1. If you want to cut the bottom of the onions off for the wedges, use a grill mat to place them on when cooking. This will keep them from falling through the grates.
  2. The balsamic dressing is optional for the onion rings. If not using the dressing, brush the onions with some olive oil instead.
  3. The nutrition information is for 1 serving of a yellow onion.

Nutrition

Calories: 11kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 40mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.

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Looking for more grilling tutorials? Check out How to Grill Peppers

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