Creamed onions and a happy Thanksgiving


My mother called Thursday night just as my friends and I were about to sit down to a huge Thanksgiving feast. In New York, three hours ahead of us, her meal was long over.

“How was it?” I asked.

“Delicious! But we forgot the green beans in the microwave, and the creamed onions on the stove. I didn’t even realize it until we were done eating,” she confessed. “Can you believe that?”

Yes, I could. This happened once before on Thanksgiving—my mother reheated the turnips at the last second when she realized they’d gotten cold. We proceeded to stuff our faces with the rest of the 7,452 sides on the table and didn’t discover the turnips in the microwave until it was time for dessert.

I got off the phone and told everyone about what just happened to my mother’s creamed onions. That’s when I realized…my own creamed onions had gotten a little tepid.

I popped the dish in the microwave. We loaded up our plates and ate until our stomachs were two sizes larger.

And then: “I need to go back for seconds,” said a friend. “I never got to try any of those creamed onions you’ve been talking about all night.”

“Oh wait,” I said. “I didn’t get any either!”

We looked at the table.

“Where are they?”


In the microwave.

Like mother, like daughter.

My Mother’s Creamed Onions
They sound disgusting, but they’re not—I promise. My mother makes these every year for Thanksgiving (as I am sure her mother did before her), and I’ve happily continued the tradition. They’ve always been my favorite part of the meal. Even Jimmy Fallon eats creamed onions on Thanksgiving.

  • 2-3 packages of pearl onions (they’re not cheap, unfortunately)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is the most basic recipe you can get for creamed onions. Feel free to embellish with bacon or parsley or thyme. I personally like them without anything else, just like my mother has always made them. For a richer rendition, use heavy cream in place of the milk.

  1. Dump the onions, skins on, into a pot of boiling water. Cook until soft.
  2. Let onions cool, and then remove outer peel of each onion. This is a good task for a kid who wants to help out, but keep a watchful eye because tiny boiled onions are REALLY FUN to play with.
  3. Make the roux. Melt the butter and stir in the flour until a paste forms. Whisk in the milk and add salt and pepper. Cook on low-med heat until thickened.
  4. Stir in the onions and bring them to temperature. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  5. Place in microwave to reheat just before serving. Forget they are there.
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About Laura Parisi

I am a writer who loves food, gardening, donuts and dogs. We tell stories to remember them. These are the food stories I want to remember.

3 responses to “Creamed onions and a happy Thanksgiving”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide says :

    It is so funny that we have so much on Turkey Day that things can be forgotten. This looks wonderful and your bird looks great too.

  2. Carole says :

    Yeah creamed onions! I remember them with joy. When I was totally vegetarian, I could easily fill up on the 7,452 veggie sides your mom provided, and barely missed the turkey. I always tried for seconds of the creamed onions. Imagine forgetting such a vital part of the feast!!

  3. ceciliag says :

    actually your onions sound really good.. ! c


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