Caramelized Onion Pizza


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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.

caramelized onion pizza in eight slices with a hand reaching for one slice

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.

a close shot of two slices of white pizza topped with cheese, caramelized onions, and rosemary

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.
grated gruyere cheese on a cutting board next to a cheese grater

How to Caramelize Onions

  1. 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.)
  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter (use about 1 tablespoon of each per pound of onions).
  3. Add the onions to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.)
caramelized onions in a cast iron skillet


How do you store caramelized onions?

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).

Can I freeze this pizza?

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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a white pizza sliced on a marble slab and topped with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, and rosemary sprigs
4.50 from 4 votes

Caramelized Onion Pizza Recipe

Caramelized Onion Pizza is a white pizza that is brushed with olive oil and topped with caramelized onions, fresh rosemary, and rich Gruyere cheese. The unique flavors combine to create a pizza that can be sliced super thin and served as an appetizer or served with a salad as the main event.
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 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.


Onions – Depending on the thickness of the onion slices and the type of onions, it can take 25 to 45 minutes to caramelize onions. This can be done up to 5 days ahead, so it’s a great idea to caramelize the onions ahead of time and refrigerate them until you’re ready to make the pizza.
Pizza Dough –  Pizza dough is great if made ahead and aged in the fridge. Make it up to 5 days ahead and refrigerate it in a bowl or plastic bag with a generous coating of olive oil. Try it with this No-Knead Pizza Dough.


Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 961mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 329IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 305mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $9.00
Calories: 434
Keyword: flatbread, homemade pizza, kid-friendly, vegetarian meal, weeknight-friendly
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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    1. I think this holds up well to a lighter red like maybe a Pinot Noir! It feels like a fresh, minerally white would be good too, but I think with the savory richness of the onions, a lighter red is the best. Just my opinion though, wine pairings aren’t my strongest skill, but I know what I like. 😉