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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Thanksgiving balsamic glazed pearl onions recipe


Thanksgiving illustration.

Thanksgiving is a time for good food, appreciation, and loved ones. This week, I would like to share the balsamic glazed onion recipe that exists within my family with you. 

Now, you may be skeptical that I chose such a seemingly bland or insignificant dish to share with you. How could a dish such as this one be passed down for generations within my family? Well, the dish comes with a bit of a story.

One Thanksgiving, mid 2000s, my mom asked her mother, my Nana, what she could bring to Thanksgiving dinner. My Nana, still dubious of my mother’s cooking abilities at that point, assigned my mother to cook the most bland and forgettable dish at Thanksgiving dinner: boiled onions.

My mother, slightly offended, took this assignment as a challenge. She vowed to make a dish so bold that no one at Thanksgiving dinner could forget. She wanted to present a dish that would shock and dazzle. With these unique and tangy onions, she succeeded.

This recipe serves 8. It appeared in the BJ’s Journal in 2008, which cites the recipe of being courtesy of Melissa’s Produce (www.melissas.com


  • 2 ½ lb pearl onions

  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar

  • ½ cup water

Utensils and Cookware:

  • Large pot

  • Colander

  • Large skillet

  • Slotted spoon

  • Platter or large bowl


  1. Blanch onions in boiling water for 3 minutes and then drain, cool and peel them.

  2. Heat oil over moderately high heat in a large heavy skillet until hot but not smoking.

  3. Add onions and sauté until lightly browned (about 5 minutes).

  4. Reduce heat and pour balsamic vinegar and water over onions. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender (15 minutes).

  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onions to a platter.

  6. Increase heat slightly and simmer until liquid is reduced to about ½ cup and is thick and syrupy.

  7. Spoon over onions. Best served at room temperature.

Chef’s note: Glazed onions can be made up to two days in advance. After step 5, place the onions and liquid in separate, covered containers and refrigerate. To serve, warm the onions in the liquid and follow steps 5-7.

Dish Review: Though I know I may be biased, seeing as I’ve been raised on these onions, I figured I would try to give an objective opinion just so people would know what to expect before deciding to prepare this dish. In my experience, balsamic glazed onions have been voted a repeat dish all across different sides of the family. Individuals of all ages and preferred tastes enjoyed these flavorful veggies. The onions have a tang to them due to the complementary nature of the onions and the balsamic vinegar. This combination causes the recipe to encompass both the notes of the sweet and the sour. The near bite-sized side goes well with green beans, cranberry sauce, and rolls.

As far as preparation goes, these onions are easy enough for even a beginner chef like me to tackle. This dish is also a great one to volunteer to bring to your Thanksgiving dinner because they are quick to make. The onions are also relatively cheap, as the recipe requires very few ingredients that you can pick up just about anywhere. Finally, these onions will surprise your friends or relatives, who likely forego dishes such as onions for others. This dish is bound at least to get a few people to ask you where you got your recipe!