Caramelized Onion Pizza
Published Aug 07, 2023
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Caramelized Onion Pizza is a white pizza topped with savory caramelized onions and rich Gruyere cheese. Simply brushed with olive oil instead of tomato sauce, these unique flavors combine to create a white pizza that is great served with a fresh salad or sliced thin and served with charcuterie.
This pizza is such a favorite of mine that I’ve wanted to write the recipe down for years. It’s a Caramelized Onion Pizza that is subtly sweet from the caramelized onions, fragrant from a bit of fresh rosemary, and has the unique, rich, nutty flavor of Gruyere cheese on top. The Gruyere really makes it. It’s almost like French Onion Soup in pizza form.
What is Pizza Bianca / White Pizza?
Pizza Bianca in Italian means “white pizza” and covers a whole category of pizzas that are made without tomato sauce. The toppings can vary, but instead of the traditional red sauce, the surface of the pizza is brushed with olive oil. In a pizza like this you won’t miss the red sauce at all. The other flavors really shine.
Ingredients for Caramelized Onion Pizza
- Pizza Dough – Use your favorite pizza dough here. I always love the chewy / airy texture of this No-Knead Pizza Dough.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Instead of sauce, this pizza is brushed with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil before the toppings are added. The oil helps the crust to get a deep golden brown color and adds a subtle, fresh olive flavor.
- Caramelized Onions – See below for all the details on making caramelized onions. They are sweet and savory and make a super flavorful base for this pizza.
- Gruyere Cheese – The first time I had Gruyere cheese I was blown away by the rich, deep flavor of this Swiss-style cheese. It’s slightly crumbly and has a nutty, tangy flavor. It costs a bit more than mozzarella (which is more common on pizza), but seriously delivers on flavor.
- Fresh Rosemary – The savory flavor of fresh rosemary fits really well here. Be sure to remove the leaves from the stem and discard the stem (it’s too tough to chop along with the leaves). You can skip the rosemary or use another fresh herb – fresh thyme is great here.
How to Caramelize Onions
- Slice the onions into slices that are about 1/3” thick. (No need to be super precise here, but if the slices are too thin they won’t develop all the flavor that comes with the low, slow cooking process. If they are too thick, they’ll take forever to cook. Try to strike a balance.)
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter (use about 1 tablespoon of each per pound of onions).
- Add the onions to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Season onions with salt and some sugar (about ½ teaspoon of each per pound of onions). (Note: Sugar is optional here, but can help to draw out the natural sugars in the onions and speed the caramelization process along.)
- Continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are very tender and deep golden brown, 25 to 40 minutes more. (Important: If the pan starts to look dry or the onions start to burn, add a splash of water. You may need to do this several times throughout the cooking process.)
Make caramelized onions ahead of time and let them cool completely. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 5 days (often longer).
Yes. This pizza freezes well. Bake it as directed and freeze for up to 6 months. Reheat the pizza in the oven or air fryer.
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Caramelized Onion Pizza Recipe
- Sheet Pan or Pizza Stone
- Large Skillet
For the Onions:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound onions, thinly sliced (yellow, white, or red onions will work)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
For the Pizza:
- 1 pound pizza dough (use your favorite dough, store-bought or homemade)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces grated gruyere cheese
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped (substitute fresh thyme leaves)
- If you are using fresh store-bought or homemade dough that has been refrigerated, set it out on a lightly floured surface and let it rest for 30 minutes before making your pizza. (The gluten in the dough will relax as it comes to room temperature and the pizza will be easier to work with.)
- Caramelize onions: Heat a large skillet with olive oil (portion for onions) and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften. Sprinkle onions with salt and sugar (if using). Reduce the heat to low-medium and continue to cook onions, stirring often, until they are dark golden brown and super tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F / 260°C. (If using a pizza stone, make sure the stone is in the oven as it heats.)
- Prepare the pizza dough by stretching it out on a sheet pan or on the counter (if you are using a pizza stone / pizza peel).
- Drizzle the pizza dough with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Top with cheese, onions, and rosemary.
- Bake the pizza until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted, 8 to 11 minutes.
- Slice and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.