I know what you’re thinking: onion powder is cheap, so why bother making it at home? I will tell you why. Because homemade onion powder outperforms the commercial version in every way.
When it comes to spices, the popular saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more true.
If it is cheap, it will taste bland.
And who knows how long it’s been since that powder was made from onions.
Have you ever read the ingredients of onion powder? Among its ingredients there are always compounds that shouldn’t be or you don’t understand why they are.
There should be only one ingredient in your onion powder – the onion.
Once you make your own onion powder, you’ll never want to buy that onion powder that looks like chalk instead of onion again.
How to make onion powder.
The most complicated part is the hash and in such case you do it by hand. Even under these circumstances, it’s not terrible at all. If you have at home a culinary robot, forget it, there is nothing easier to make than onion powder. Practically, it would happen on its own.
As always when it comes to dry off food or herbs, having a food dehydrator handy is handy but not absolutely necessary. In fact, for this project, I argued that by the time you loaded up all your trays, you could have had your chopped onions on the oven racks, while sipping a glass of wine with your feet up.
The advantage of using a food dehydrator is that you have more control during the drying stage. You won’t have to turn your onions as often to know when the process is complete.
- 2 to 4 medium sized onions.
- A cutting board and a knife.
- Baking sheets with waxed paper.
- A utensil used to grind dehydrated onions.
Useful to have but not absolutely necessary:
- Food dehydrator.
- Food grinder.
1. Dice your onion.
Peel and finely chop the medium sized onions.
If you’re using a chopper, click the speed options to control the size of the onion pieces. What we want is to get a uniform size so that the drying time is the same.
If you chop the traditional way, the same principle applies.
By cutting by hand, you have more control over the size of the pieces.
2. Onion juice.
Continuing the procedure, we need to moisten our onions; We do this to reduce drying time with the benefit of getting super fresh onion juice.
Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound very tempting, but it’s a pain to have in the kitchen.
Add a tablespoon to creamy soups, sauces and spreads. Pour a little onion juice over your potatoes before mashing them to a puree. In fact, you can add onion juice to any preparation where you want the onion flavor to come out without adding the onion itself.
If you want to avoid “onion eyes”, use a wooden spoon to squeeze the juice out of the onion.
Put the chopped onion in a colander and place a bowl under it. Firmly press the onion with a wooden spoon. Or, if you’re one of those who can take it, use your hands. Take a good portion of onions and squeeze them hard. Once you have extracted the juice, you can put the onion pieces on the baking sheets with their previously placed wax paper.
If you’ve used your hands and the onions are really hard, you’ll probably end up with rivers of tears streaming down your cheeks.
You will have between a quarter cup and a half cup of freshly squeezed onion juice when you are done with this part. Put it in a clean container and store it in the fridge. Use it for up to two weeks from the day you put it away.
4. Spread the squeezed onion evenly on the baking sheet.
What you want is a nice, fine, even coat; It’s perfectly fine if the onions are in contact with each other, but it’s important to keep them from clumping together in one place.
5. Dry the onion to flakes.
Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven at the lowest temperature possible. If your oven temperature does not drop below 175°C, use a cork (from wine bottle corks) to keep the oven door ajar.
Check every 30 minutes.
After the hour, stir the onion flakes a little.
From now on, you’re going to want to check them a little more often. About every quarter of an hour, stir the onions and break a few pieces. The onion is ready when it crumbles easily. It will have a nice golden color.
6. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the onion to cool completely before grinding.
Dehydrated onion flakes ready to be ground into onion powder.
Grinding the dehydrated onion is really easy. It practically collapses on its own.
What do we grind with?
A mortar and pestle works great for dried onion flakes. A coffee grinder can also be used to grind dried herbs.
If you use a coffee grinder, I recommend that you only use it for this purpose.
Otherwise, if you use it again to grind coffee, the essential oils in the coffee will take on the flavors of whatever you ground (be it onions or other herbs). And frankly, onion coffee doesn’t look very appetizing.
And speaking of rice… Add a few grains of uncooked rice to your onion powder. This will be our anti-caking ingredient.
You can keep your onion powder fresh by storing it in a small glass jar. Alternatively, I like to store the spice jars with the salt shakers when empty and reuse them.
7. Store your onion powder for several months.
As we talked about, you can keep your onion powder for around 6 months, although it probably won’t last that long 😉
Add to mashed potatoes, rice, sautéed pumpkins, imagination in power. You will be delighted with the difference in taste.
Next thing you know, you’ll find yourself going through your closet, wondering what else you can do yourself.