Fennel Infused Onions

Fennel Infused Onions - Layers of onion slices, fennel fronds, and olive oil wrapped in foil or parchment and cooked on the grill or stovetop. @mjsktichen


The things I love about this recipe:

It’s so easy to make and the cleanup is even easier.
It goes with just about anything – meats and vegetables.
It uses some of those fennel fronds leftover once the fennel bulb is gone.
Its versatility allows you to adjust the flavors by replacing the fronds with different herbs.
It can be cooked on the grill or stovetop.
It’s healthy and oh so good.

Even if you don’t like fennel, you’ll love these onions and if you really, really don’t like fennel or want to change the flavor profile to better complement the rest of the meal, see Kitchen Notes for alternatives.


Fennel Infused Onions Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Serves:  2
Prep and Cook time:  15 minutes


½ large onion, sliced (I use sweet onions when I have them)
Several fennel fronds
Sea salt
Olive oil


  1. In the center of a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment make 3 layers of onions by starting with a few pieces of fennel fronds.  Top with a layer of onion, then a few fronds and a little sea salt, another layer of onion, fronds, and a little more sea salt.  One more layer of onion topped with more fronds and a touch more salt.  Drizzle with olive oil (as shown in the picture).
  2. Place another sheet of aluminum foil over the onion stack and fold all of the edges to create a sealed aluminum envelope.
  3. Place on a hot grill or hot griddle. Cook for 5 minutes, turn and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. When you serve, discard the fronds.


Kitchen Notes

You can easily double or even quadruple this recipe.  Just make a wider stack but keep the number of onion layers limited to 3 so all of the onions cook evenly.

Herbs that can be used in place of fennel fronds.

Fresh dill weed
Sweet basil or Thai basil
Thyme or lemon thyme (Used this last night with grilled lamb chops – yummy!)
Your own personal favorite herb or herb combination

Cooking on the grill – We usually make these onions when we grill ribeye or T-bone steaks. We place the onion package on the grill next to the steaks using the same cook time as the steaks.  When we turn the steaks, we turn the onions.  There is some flexibility in cook time so regardless of whether you’re going for medium rare or medium, just cook the onions the same as the steaks.  If you’re going for well-done on your steaks, then the onions will be well-done as well, so you might take them off the grill a couple minutes earlier.

Cooking on the stovetop – You can also cook this on the stovetop.  Just prepare as instructed and then place on a hot, heavy griddle or skillet over medium heat.  Top with a domed lid to concentrate the heat around the “onion package”.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 5 minutes per side.

When you buy a fennel bulb always try to buy it with good looking stalks and fronds intact.  Use the bulb for another dish.  Need an idea?  Try my Suppertime Pileup.  Save the fronds for a variety of uses during the week. There are so many things that you can do with them – add them to soups, use them like you would rosemary to fill the cavity of whole fish or chicken, or use them in the above recipe – Fennel Infused Onion (of course).  For more ideas on how to use fennel fronds, check out a great discussion on ChowHound – What to do with fennel fronds? Lots of wonderful ideas.  If you have some ideas of your own, please let us know in a comment.


This fennel infused onion recipe has been shared with the following blog hop.  Click on the link to see more fabulous recipes!  Just Another Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Around My Family Table, Made From Scratch Monday, Traditional Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Gluten-Free Fridays, Hearth and Soul, Mix It Up Monday, Made With Love Mondays, Recipe Sharing Monday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Food Frugal Thursday, Katherine Martinelli’s Onion Hop


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61 Responses to “Fennel Infused Onions”

  1. Laura @ Frugal Follies October 9, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Looks delicious! Thanks for linking up to Frugal Food Thursday, and come on by and check out my cheap recipes!

  2. The Wimpy Vegetarian October 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    Fabulous idea!! I love fennel, and always end up throwing away so much of the fronds. This is a wonderful use for them. I think I’ll make them this weekend. Thanks so much for posting this!!

  3. Viviane Bauquet Farre October 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Mmm what a unique ingredient recipe, MJ. With nice, delicate onions and some pungent fennel this must be a scrumptiously balanced side dish. Looking forward to photos of your new kitchen!

  4. ray October 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Ooohh, I think I like the one cooking it on the grill next to that thick, juicy, and tender rib eye steaks. Kitchen redo is really a big task. Last two kitchen redo that I did, we ended up selling the house the year after. I told my wife, this third hopefully was the last one and I’m holding on to the house, hehe. Have a good weekend, MJ! 🙂

    • mj October 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      Thanks Ray! I like it most next to that juicy steak as well! 🙂 This is only our second redo. The first was after living in the house for 16 years, then getting to live with the new kitchen for only 5 years. One would have driven me nuts! We’ hoping this is our last redo and that we get to enjoy it for years and years to come. 🙂

  5. peachkins October 5, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    I’ve never thought of onion as a side dish like this!

  6. Adora's Box October 5, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    I wish I was had a kitchen redo as an excuse not to cook. This is a great idea, MJ. We always have onions with barbies but have never added anything to it. Love dill and that’s the first I’m gonna try. Will send you a fork via post (sorry, cake’s finished).

    • mj October 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      Thanks Adora! Darn — I was afraid that cake was going to go fast!

  7. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings October 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    Oooh! Can’t wait to see your new kitchen!

  8. The Squishy Monster October 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    What a mighty interesting concept—I can’t wait to give this a try, I bet it’s so refreshing and just wakes up your taste buds!

  9. Asmita October 4, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    A few months ago was the first time I cooked with fennel. I actually love the flavor of it. I like the way you have used the fronds.
    Am really looking forward to trying out this recipe!

  10. cquek October 4, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    i love onions… that is something interesting. i must try it asap

  11. Javelin Warrior October 4, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I love fennel and I’m always looking for ways to use the fronds (because mostly I use the bulb). I also enjoy roasted onion, so while this more of a steamed onion, I’m sure I’d still enjoy with the infusion of fennel… Thanks so much for sharing, MJ!

  12. Hotly Spiced October 3, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    I love fennel salads and this looks simple but delicious. What lovely clean flavours. Fennel is plentiful at the moment and very cheap so I must make this while the timing’s good. I do hope your new kitchen is finished soon xx

  13. kitchenriffs October 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    Sorry to hear your kitchen isn’t quite done. Things always take longer than estimated, don’t they? But soon you’ll be enjoying it – and we’ll be enjoying the pictures! In the meantime, this is a wonderful recipe. I don’t use fennel enough in my cooking, and this is a simple but flavorful looking way of preparing it. Really nice – thanks.

    • mj October 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks John! Yes, it always takes longer! At least I’m seeing an end to all now. 🙂

  14. Soni October 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I just love Fennel and this is such an easy recipe and would go well with anything!!
    Cannot wait to see your finished kitchen MJ !!!You must so excited 🙂

  15. Katerina October 3, 2012 at 4:25 am #

    Simple and delicious! Perfect as a side dish!

  16. Sanjeeta kk October 3, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    Aah..bang on recipe…easy, quick and looks so yum! Don’t get fennel bulbs here..but would hunt for it in specialty stores. Waiting to see the pictures of your kitchen, MJ

  17. Debra October 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    I can’t wait to see your new digs. And, I can’t wait to try this recipe on the grill.

  18. Nancy/SpicieFoodie October 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Hi MJ,
    I can’t wait to see your finished kitchen. As I’m sure you’re anxious to get back to cooking in it:)

    Fennel is a recent discovery for me and I just love the taste. This is a really great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Ramona October 2, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    I’m so excited to see your kitchen when it’s done. I don’t know what I would do if my kitchen was “under construction”…. I practically live in it these days. 🙂 This looks like such a nice light and healthy dish. I love onions… YUM! 🙂

  20. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb October 2, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    Can’t wait to see your new kitchen MJ! That must be so exciting for you. My husband was suggesting to take down that wall which is making my “kitchen” a 3 m² hell, but honestly I am fed up and tired of works and mess in my house. ifrst we had to renew the whole roof because it was leaking in, then the veranda was renewed then a huge cupboard was build in the house and every single time this workers would destroy something or make a whole.

    I haven’t had fennel in ages! My husband isn’t much into that herb, so most probably I would try it with sweet basil, rosemary or thyme. But I can imagine that itwould go well in a salad as well or as you mentioned with meat and potato dishes. Somehow I never know otherwise what to do with fennel but now I have this superb idea of yours. thanks for sharing!

    • mj October 2, 2012 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks Helene! I know what you mean about being tired about the mess! This is the second house that my husband and I have totally renovated so I feel like “mess” is just a way of life. 🙂 We’ve decided that this it is. We’re finishing up ALL of the remodel on this house within the next year and we’re done. We’re going to sit back and enjoy it rather than looking forward at our next project. 🙂

  21. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles October 2, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    I like all the elements in this recipe and I can well imagine how aromatic it must be. I love when a recipe delivers gorgeous flavour without all the fuss… perfect! It sounds like you are in the final steps of the renovation MJ – how exciting! – hang in there; I have no doubt that the result will have been well worth the temporary disruption.

  22. LinsFood October 2, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    You got me there, I refreshed my page a couple of times because I kept seeing May 2011! I love onions with so many things, I must try this. Really great that you’ve got alternative herbs as I don’t cook with fennel that often. It’s salmon and mash for dinner tonight and as we’ve got rosemary in the garden, I think I’ll make these onions to go with the fish!

    • mj October 2, 2012 at 9:04 am #

      That’s funny. Sorry about the confusion with the date. 🙂 I hope you got to try the onions. Let me know how they turn out and thanks!

  23. Treat and Trick October 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I love onion but never tried with fennel. It looks easy and flavorful!

  24. France @ Beyond The Peel October 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    2 fabulous flavors! Congrats on your kitchen almost being done! I bet you can’t wait.

  25. ChgoJohn October 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    My family has always used fennel fronds when they prepare porchetta. They never cooked the fennel, though. That was served raw, sort of like crudités. I’ve cooked it, surprising some of the Old Timers of the family. 🙂
    I bet the combo of onion and fennel would taste very good together. And I’ve got some fennel fronds. I see this dish in my immediate future. Thanks for sharing!

    • mj October 2, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      Thanks John! Now I need to go look up porchetta! Love learning about a new dish! I, too eat the bulb raw, sliced very thin. It’s great with apples. I love cooking it too. Glad you were able to surprise the old Timers. 🙂

  26. Choc Chip Uru October 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    I love the flavourings in this my friend it looks stunning 😀

    Choc Chip Uru
    P.S. Come check out my international giveaway for my Blogiversary 🙂

  27. Tessa October 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    What a wonderful combination of flavors! I love that it is easy too!

  28. Angie@Angie's Recipes October 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    We love onions! This is quick and delicious.

  29. Jane October 1, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I love onions, and this sounds so good with the fennel! Good luck finishing your kitchen – I can’t wait to see the pictures! I’m sure it will be fabulous and worth the wait!

  30. Nami | Just One Cookbook October 1, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    Wow MJ, do you know how excited I was to see this recipe? I am a huge fennel bulb fan and often use it for soups and stews. However, I didn’t know what to do with the top part (which I didn’t know the name until I see your post – fronds) so I threw away! This recipe is wonderful! I get to use most of fronds with this recipe. 🙂

    • mj October 2, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Thanks Nami! BTW – Sometimes I just throw the stalks and fronds into the soup while it’s cooking, then remove them at the end. It works great! Hope you get to try this!

  31. LIz October 1, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Mmmmm….I love onions and these sound incredible!

  32. CJ at Food Stories October 1, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    MJ … These look fabulous 🙂

  33. Sissi October 1, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    It sounds simple, good and so original! Before I read it was a grilled dish it reminded me of the Japanese onion salad I make quite often. I think we underestimate onion treating it only as a taste enhancer. I love the fact that you use fennel here. I am ashamed to admit that fennel is one of these vegetables I buy from time to time and always end up throwing away because it rots before I find a cooking idea…
    Thanks for the inspiration and thank you for reposting it. I also repost from time to time (am actually planning it now!). Some recipes are too good to be mentioned only once.

    • mj October 2, 2012 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks Sissi! Another great use for the fennel bulb is to caramelize it with onions. I do that quite a bit and then serve the dish with sausage. So Yummy! Have a great week!

  34. Suzi October 1, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Oh Mj, I am saving this recipe it sounds like my kind of side, and I cna do on the stove top too. I may switch it up with the dill or thyme unless I can find some fennel. Can’t wait to see your new kitchen I bet you are so excited and happy that it is nearly done. Have a great week my friend.

    • mj October 2, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      Thanks Suzi! Dill works great with this – I’ve tried it because I don’t always have fennel fronds. Lemon thyme is also one of my favorites! Enjoy!

  35. Alea Milham September 25, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    What a delicious combination! I would never have thought to combine fennel and onions. Thanks for sharing your recipes with the Hearth and Soul Hop. I always enjoy them!

    • mj October 2, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      Thanks Alea! You get some great recipes in your blog hop!

  36. Swathi September 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Delicious onions, love this fennel infusions. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop, really good highlighting it .

  37. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) September 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    This sounds great! I bet I could use it on top of grilled tofu! YUM! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays recipe party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂 We are building a great set of gluten free recipes so far! Its making my meal planning easy 🙂 How about yours? See you next Friday! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

  38. France @ Beyond The Peel June 19, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    I absolutely love fennel fronds. What a fun little side dish when barbequing. We will definitely make this the next time we strike up the barby! Thanks for sharing it with us at Whole Food Wednesdays MJ. http://www.beyondthepeel.net/2012/06/mostimportanttoremember.html

  39. Mary Hudak-Colllins June 5, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    What a wonderful side dish and a great way to use all the parts of fennel. We are still relatively new to the uses of fennel, but they seem to be many. I would like to invite you to share your recipe in our recipe hop that will be open until midnight Wed. It is a weekly event that begins each Sunday at 7pm. Hope to see you there!

  40. Wendy April 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    This looks delicious! I Would love to have you link up to my 2 carnivals today….http://www.aroundmyfamilytable.com/2012/04/feed-your-soul-5/ (anything food related) and http://everydaymomcakes.com/sugar-me-up-5/ (deserts only). Hope to see you around!

  41. Miz Helen April 13, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Hi MJ,
    I have fresh Fennel in the garden right now and I can’t wait to try this. Hope you are having a wonderful Spring day. Thank you so much for sharing your great recipe with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  42. Stephanie March 20, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    I’m a huge fennel fan, so it’s great seeing another use for the greenery. I usually finely chop the tender parts to add them to cabbage salads, but this is a nice alternate.

  43. Shay March 20, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Looks great! I just signed up to follow my email!


  44. Marguerite May 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    I love the look and feel of this site! The pictures are beautiful! I am going to try the onions today. Ed’s sister in law, Marguerite

    • mj May 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

      Thanks Marguerite! I hope you enjoy the onions.

  45. Nads May 6, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    This sounds really good. We love grilled onions with steak. How would this work with slices of potatoes? Have you tried it?

    • mj May 6, 2011 at 10:47 am #

      No I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work great with thin slices of potatoes! You would have to precook the potatoes to make sure they cook. We’ve served these as toppings for grilled steak, lamb chops and hamburgers. I’ve also doubled the recipe and added the leftovers to green beans and asparagus.


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