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Buttered Onions Another Way

Watch our historic foodways staff cook this recipe, then try it at home

Eighteenth-century cookbooks sometimes listed a mother recipe followed by several variations. Here, the original recipe was simply called “Buttered Onions.” This one combines onions and apples which sweeten while they cook. Serve it as a side dish with roasted chicken or over pork chops as a chutney.

18th Century

Slice some Apples, and mince your Onions, but more Apples than Onions. Bake them with Bread, tying a Paper over the Pan: When baked butter them, adding Sugar and boiled Currants. Serve them on Sippets, and strew over them fine Sugar and Powdered Cinnamon.

— “Adam’s Luxury and Eve’s Cookery: Or, The Kitchen-Garden Display’d . . .To Which is Added the Physical Virtues of Every Herb and Root.” pg.150

21st Century


  • 3 medium Granny Smith or other baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh currants or dried currants plumped with boiling water
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1-2 tsp. cinnamon
  • toast points, for serving


  1. Combine the minced onions, apples, currants, sugar and cinnamon in a buttered ovenproof pan with lid. Dot the top with butter. Bake covered in a 375-400°F oven for 15—20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Serve hot with toast points.

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Historic Foodways