Roasted Red Onions with Butter and Thyme

Whole red onions and peppers mix on table. Roasted red onions to come!
photo by sereszny, c/o

A good side dish for roast meats and other foods is roasted onions because this type of cooking makes them sweet and tasty. Roasted red onions work really well with these dishes and when thyme and butter is added, add something a little luxurious to the dish. This is a great version from Jamie Oliver which I’ve used from his first book called ‘The Naked Chef‘. It was one of the first books that got me cooking about 30 years ago when it first came out.

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Serves 6



  • 6 red onions of a similar size, medium to large will do nicely
  • salted butter
  • sprigs of thyme – the leaves are either pounded in a pestle and mortar or chopped finely.


  1. Prepare the onions by removing the papery first layer of skin.
  2. Produce a flat base for the onion so that it stands upright by cutting off the base.
  3. Make 2 cuts in the top of the onion like a cross. The cut goes half way down but must not fully cut it otherwise the onion is quartered.
  4. Place some pound up or chopped thyme and a good pinch of salt fully into the gap. Jamie advocates making sure the salt is deep in and this always made sense because it does then infuse right into the onion’s flesh on cooking. Seal with a small amount of butter.
  5. Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6
  6. Cook the onions on a tray or better in an earthenware pot on a layer of sea salt if they are being cooked separately. They usually get placed around any roast meat such as a chicken or pork during the roasting process but only after I’ve checked how the meat is going. Any longer and they are burnt to a crisp so they need to go in when the roast ahs been going for awhile.   Cook for between 30 and 35 minutes. They should come out slightly dull red and be soft. Some of the outer layers can get blackened but these are scraped away if needs be.
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