Boiled Onions

November 10, 2017
Whole onions simmered until fork-tender, surrounded in a simple milk-and-butter broth, Boiled Onions is a simple classic New England dish that serves up big flavor.

Boiled Onions image ~ Whole onions simmered until fork-tender, surrounded in a simple milk-and-butter broth, Boiled Onions is a simple classic New England dish that serves up big flavor.

Everyone has those classic Thanksgiving dishes that grace their tables every year, right?  You know, the ones that are just such a tradition that the table just doesn't look right without them?

Well, for my Mom growing up, the New England classic Boiled Onions were that dish.  Whole onions simmered until fork-tender, surrounded in a simple milk-and-butter broth ... they were a dish my grandmother made every Thanksgiving without fail.

It's a tradition my Mom continued for our own Thanksgiving dinner when I was a kid.  And I absolutely loved them.  It's amazing that such simple ingredients ... just onions, milk, butter, salt, and pepper ... can come together to create such deliciousness.  But they truly do.

My favorite part?

The broth.  The milk broth picks up a subtle oniony flavor from the onions that just tastes so good.  I could gobble up just that with a spoon.

Several years ago, our Thanksgiving boiled onions tradition was replaced with a baked Creamed Pearl Onion Gratin that I adore, too.  But boiled onions will always hold a very special place in my heart.

So last week I whipped out Mom's old recipe and boiled up a batch for dinner.  They delivered up all the wonderful flavor I remember from my childhood.  Admittedly, our 7-year-old Little Miss H. was not a fan.  But as a kid, I sure loved them.

 Boiled Onions photo

Boiled onions are quite easy to prepare.

Simply peel onions and leave them whole, taking care to not cut into the layers beneath the skin as you peel.  Place the onions in a pot along with enough water to cover, and bring them to a boil.  Then allow them to simmer gently until fork-tender and soft, and but not broken and falling apart.

How to Make Boiled Onions photo

Drain the onions in a colander, and then return them to the pot along with some milk and butter.  Warm the milk and, finally, season with a little salt and pepper to-taste.

How to Make Boiled Onions image

That's it!  Quite simple, indeed.

Serve the onions in individual bowls with a little milk broth spooned over them, and a little sprinkle of salt and pepper on top.

Now if you're like me, you'll want a little extra of that delicious broth.  To me, that's the best part!

Check out these other super tasty onion dishes:
Boiled Onions picture
Thank you for stopping by The Kitchen is My Playground. We'd love to have you back soon!

onions, onion recipe, boiled onions recipe, how to make boiled onions
Side Dishes
Yield: about 6 servings

Boiled Onions

Whole onions simmered until fork-tender, surrounded in a simple milk-and-butter broth, Boiled Onions is a simple classic New England dish that serves up big flavor.
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 50 Mtotal time: 65 M


  • 12 small-to-medium-sized yellow onions
  • 2 ½ c. milk
  • 2 T. butter
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley {optional}


How to cook Boiled Onions

  1. Peel onions, leaving them whole.
  2. Place peeled onions in a saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until onions are soft and tender but not falling apart (about 45 minutes, depending on size of the onions).
  3. Drain onions in a colander.
  4. Return drained onions to the pot and place over medium heat. Add milk and butter. Heat until butter is melted and milk is warm, but do not allow to boil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Serve in individual bowls with some of the warm milk poured over the onions. Sprinkle each serving with chopped parsley, if desired.
  1. Onions may be cooked ahead of time and reheated with the milk broth. Cook and drain onions, as directed. Refrigerate in the pot. When ready to serve, add milk and butter to the pot and reheat over medium heat, being mindful to not let the milk boil.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Affiliate links are included in this post. I receive a small amount of compensation for anything purchased from these links, at no additional cost to you.


  1. never heard of boiled onions what you use boiled onions for??

    1. You eat them as they are, much like eating a soup or stew. It's a classic New England dish!

  2. Same here.First time I'm seeing a boiled onion.I think it will be tasty as well as healthy.I love onions.I make salads for dinner regularly.Now i think I should try this and can substitute this instead of my regular salad.Will let you know once after trying it.

  3. My family has always had boiled onions, but never with the broth. We quarter them and boil until tender. Going try this way with the broth! Sounds delicious.

  4. Got this recipe back in November, 2021, from a Florida friend who was a Mainer until age 14. Family always had these for Thanksgiving side. She only told me what goes into it for ingredients, not any measurements. So, Pinterest to the rescue and your recipe/picture just go saved. Am boiling the little onions as I type. 😊

  5. Fabulous tasting!!!! These boiled onions will become a staple side dish on my table!!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. You made me smile. I really love hearing stories about readers fining a recipe. We hope you enjoy!


I love your comments ~ I read and appreciate each and every one. When you choose to leave a comment, we collect and display your name, as provided by you. Clicking "publish" to submit your comment indicates your explicit consent for name collection. If you click the "notify me" checkbox {which is optional}, your e-mail is also collected. Clicking the "notify me" checkbox indicates your explicit consent for e-mail collection. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground!

Blog Design: Powered by Blogger.