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Creamed Pearl Onions

Mom made it every year – still can’t quite make it like her!

Growing up, our mom made this dish every year for Thanksgiving. And maybe a couple other occasions throughout the year, but we always associate creamed pearl onions with Thanksgiving, and we also have to reconcile ourselves with the fact that we just can’t quite make them the way mama does! Although, we’ve coaxed the recipe out of her and are really honing in on the famous flavor she’s known for. If you haven’t tried them before, pearl onions are a small variety of onion – that we always buy frozen instead of fresh, to save us the hassle of having to peel them – that get served with a thick, creamy sauce that highlights the onions’ natural sweetness. Yum….

While the onions are clearly the star of the show, they get a little flavor boost from nutmeg, mustard powder and garlic powder. Butter and half-and-half start things off, so we’ve got a nice, rich base to kick start things, then the onions and seasoning, then the chicken broth, plus a cornstarch slurry if you want a slightly thicker dish. This stuff is so, ridiculously tasty. One thing to note though: this dish is definitely its best right when it’s made. Prep all the other things you want before a dinner or before your friends come over, but throw this together right before eating and you’ll be in business!

Serves 4-6

25 minutes

Rated 3.5 out of 5
Rated by 20 reviewers
  • 20 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 1 2/3 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, optional
  • 1/4 cup water, optional
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, whisk together pearl onions, half-and-half and butter over medium heat.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, nutmeg, mustard powder and garlic powder, then cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened.
  3. Stir in chicken broth and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until absorbed and thickened.
  4. Optional: whisk cornstarch into 1/4 cup water to create a slurry, then stir into mixture and cook for another 5 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve hot and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from A Family Feast

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