Caramelized Onion and Cheese Canapés

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When looking for an elegant appetizer try this caramelized onion and cheese canapé recipe. They are ideal for a small party or holiday gathering.

Caramelized onion and cheese canape on a serving platter.


You only need seven ingredients to make this impressive appetizer. 

  • French Bread Loaf
  • Goat Cheese
  • Red (Bermuda) Onions
  • Butter
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Parsley

I’ve made this appetizer for years. I found it in one of my favorite cookbooks – Savor the Moment: Entertaining without Reservations from the Junior League of Boca Raton. 

Some of my other favorite recipes from this cookbook include:

  • Strawberry Streusel Muffins with Key Lime Glaze
  • Toffee Coffee Cake
  • Viennese Coffee Cake
  • Filet Mignon with Shallot Sauce
  • Herbed Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Wine Sauce
  • Roast Prime Rib with Horseradish Crust
  • Baby Carrots with Brown Sugar and Mustard
  • Deep Dish Caramel Apple Pie

I could go on and on but I won’t bore you. 

I have a fairly large collection of cookbooks and a good number of them are from Junior League’s around the United States. I find Junior League cookbooks to have some of the best recipes because they are from real people.

Savor the Moment – Entertaining Without Reservations has many beautiful photos with recipes that work.

The cover of the ocokbook Savor the Moment

When my family and friends gathered to celebrate my Moms 80th birthday, I served this appetizer because it’s easy and delicious. The goat cheese offers a bit of a bite while the caramelized onions pop with flavor from balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.

I show how to properly caramelize onions in another post on the blog. Onions sliced more thinly, such as what’s called for in this recipe, they will caramelize more quickly. They will also burn more quickly so watch them like a hawk.

Sliced red onions in a frying pan.

Tips and Substitutions

With only seven ingredients, I don’t have too many ideas for suggestions. If you have some, please leave me a comment below.

  • If you don’t care for or want to buy goat cheese, an acceptable substitute is another creamy variety such as cream cheese.
  • These are served at room temperature. Once you toast the French bread slices, you can spread the cheese on them while the onions caramelize.
  • You can substitute a sweet onion for the Bermuda onion. Sweet onion varieties include Maui, Vidalia, and Walla Walla.

Onion cheese canapé being held.

Can I do Prep-Work in Advance?

Absolutely! By doing some tasks ahead of time, this caramelized onion and cheese canapé appetizer is easier to prepare.

  • Slice the French bread ahead of time. Keep it in a zip lock bag. Don’t do this too early though, a day at the most.
  • Slice up the red onion and store it in a ziploc bag or covered plastic container.

Caramelized Onion and Cheese Canapé Twitter image.

What Wine Can I Serve with this Caramelized Onion and Cheese Canapé recipe?

I am always an advocate for serving what you enjoy drinking. My top picks to go with this appetizer are:

  • Sauvignon Blanc – typically earthy with notes of grapefruit and other citrus with a fresh crisp finish.
  • Chardonnay – usually very oak forward with a smooth buttery finish.
  • Rosé – the fruitiest choice often with notes of strawberry, cherry and raspberry with a bright, crisp finish.
  • Sparkling (Prosecco, Cava, Champagne) – especially nice when celebrating a special occasion.

Caramelized Onion and Cheese Canapés

When looking for an elegant appetizer try this caramelized onion and cheese canapé recipe. They are ideal for a small party or holiday gathering.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Appetizers and Snacks
Cuisine: French
Servings: 24 pieces


  • 2 large red onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 loaf thin French bread sliced ¼ inch thick into 24 slices
  • 12 ounces goat cheese softened
  • Chopped Italian parsley for garnish


  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, saute onions in the olive oil for 15 to 20 minutes or until light brown.
  • Add the brown sugar and saute for 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and saute 1 minute longer.
  • Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Toast lightly in the oven.
  • Spread the cheese on the bread and top each with some of the onion mixture. Sprinkle chopped parsley over each crostini before serving.

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