Tennessee Onions Recipe: Delving Deep into a Southern Delight


Though humble and often overlooked, onions are a versatile staple in various cuisines. They bring depth to soups, add crunch to salads, and offer a savory punch to many entrees. But amongst the myriad of onion recipes, one stands out for its unique Southern flair: the Tennessee Onions. Let’s dive into this onion casserole and address some burning questions .

Image of a golden-brown onion casserole, bubbling with melted cheese on top. A scoop reveals layers of sweet Vidalia onions seasoned with herbs, submerged in a rich cheesy sauce, highlighting the traditional Southern comfort food known as Tennessee Onions.

What’s in Tennessee Onions?

While many might believe that a good recipe needs many ingredients, Tennessee Onions prove otherwise. Their simplicity is their strength, mainly onions, cheese, and butter. Of course, herbs like dried thyme, parsley flakes, garlic salt, oregano, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper play their part to elevate the dish, ensuring a flavor-packed experience in every bite.

If one were to compare this dish to another, the Roasted Parmesan Creamed Onions come to mind. Both words are about celebrating the onion, but the latter incorporates Parmesan, giving it a slightly different, cheesy twist.

How To Serve Tennessee Onions

The beauty of Tennessee Onions is in its flexibility. While many might pigeonhole it as a side dish, its potential continues. A scoop of Tennessee Onions will surely be a hit at your next potluck or barbecue. However, feel free to get creative.

  1. On Burgers: Like the classic combination of Fried Potatoes, Onions, and Smoked Polish Sausage, adding Tennessee Onions to burgers can offer a sweet, cheesy complement to the meaty patty.
  2. On Grilled Chicken or Steak: The sweetness of the Vidalia onions combined with the smoky cheese makes it a perfect topping or side for grilled meats.
  3. Sandwiches: Think of a cheesy onion sandwich. The Tennessee Onions could be used to craft an irresistible grilled cheese sandwich, taking the traditional version to a new level.

What Do Tennessee Onions Taste Like?

Imagine an orchestra where every instrument plays its part in perfect harmony. That’s what Tennessee Onions taste like. The sweet Vidalia onions, explicitly grown in Georgia, are the stars of this dish. Unlike the intense and robust flavors one might associate with regular onions, Vidalias bring a sweet yet subtly sharp essence to the plate.

Complementing these onions are two types of cheese: smoked gouda and mild Cheddar. As they melt, they blend into the herbs and butter to create a harmonious sauce, which brings to mind the flavors in Beef Liver and Onions, where the onions play a crucial role in enhancing the dish.

Tips for Making Tennessee Onions

When attempting any recipe, the devil is in the details. Following specific tips can significantly elevate the final outcome of the dish:

  • Even Slicing: Ensure the onions are sliced evenly into rings, approximately 1/2 inch wide. This uniformity aids in even cooking.
  • Separation: Don’t let the onion rings nest within each other. Spread them out for uniform heat distribution.
  • Onion Substitutes: If Vidalia onions are unavailable, Walla Walla and Texas sweet onions are suitable alternatives.

Remember, while the recipe might be simple, paying attention to these details will guarantee a delicious and visually appealing dish.

Why Use Vidalia Onions in a Tennessee Recipe?

Using Georgian onions in a dish named after Tennessee might seem perplexing. The choice stems from the unique flavor profile of Vidalia onions. The 20-county growing region centered around Vidalia, Georgia, has a distinct soil composition that imparts a signature sweetness to these onions. This characteristic taste makes them an ideal ingredient for this casserole, even if the geographical naming might suggest otherwise. After all, a good dish knows no boundaries, and we’re all for mixing regions if the outcome is as delightful as Tennessee Onions.

It’s time to try this dish for yourself and explore other onion-based delights while you’re at it. The world of onions is vast and full of flavor, waiting for you to dive in!

Tennessee Onions Recipe

Dive into the flavors of a timeless onion casserole that's set to redefine side dishes.
4 from 9 votes
Print Pin
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Tennessee Onions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 1/2 lb. sweet onions equivalent to 3 large onions, finely sliced (1/4-inch thickness) and separated into individual rings
  • 1 tsp. Each of the dried thyme parsley flakes, and garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Each of the dried oregano and dry mustard
  • A pinch 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup of salted butter sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 4 oz. each of shredded mild Cheddar and smoked Gouda cheese approximately 1 cup of each


  • Prepare the Oven: Set your oven to preheat at 350°F. Use cooking spray to lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  • Mix the Ingredients: In a spacious bowl, take the sliced onions. Season with thyme, parsley flakes, garlic salt, oregano, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper. Ensure a gentle mix to coat the onions evenly with the seasonings.
  • Set the Base: The seasoned onions uniformly in the greased baking dish.
  • Cheesy Layering: Strategically place butter slices over the onions. Followed by generously sprinkling both Cheddar and Gouda cheeses.
  • Initial Baking: Shield the dish using aluminum foil. Place in the oven and let it bake till the onions turn soft and the plate gives a bubbly appearance on the sides. This should take around 40 minutes.
  • Crisping Finish: Take off the foil. Continue baking for another 30 minutes until you achieve a golden-brow


1 Comment

  1. Jackie Hodge

    Love your recipes but sometimes have a hard time getting them ??

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