The $8 Ingredient That'll Make Any Savory Dish Taste Better

The $8 Ingredient That'll Make Any Savory Dish Taste Better

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Jancee Dunn
Nov 19, 2018
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

I love the sweet-savory taste of roasted onions, but who has time to make them? (Okay, maybe I do actually have the time, but sometimes I get lazy — or, more likely, hungry and impatient.)

Fortunately, I have discovered a life-changing pantry ingredient that delivers the same umami deliciousness with a flick of the wrist: granulated toasted onion powder. Created by dry-roasting fresh onions until they reach a rich brown hue, it amps up the flavor of any dish and immediately makes it more complex — less thrown together, more I labored over this. Hear me out on this one.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Half a teaspoon of this magical powder (maybe we should call it something zippy, like G-TOP) equals 1/4 cup of fresh onions. The beauty is that because it's dried, it lasts for a long time — about a year — so you can shake with abandon, without worrying that it will spoil quickly. (Although I roll through the large 2.5-ounce jar every couple of months.) It comes in mince toasted as well, but for whatever reason, I like the smaller, more discreet texture of the powder.

My go-to brand is Penzey's — because they specifically make G-TOP. Plenty of other brands (like McCormick, Spice Islands, Badia, and Stop & Shop) carry regular onion powders, which are lifesavers, but they're not toasted. Morton & Bassett carries toasted onion pieces, but it's not granulated. I like granulated, because you don't have to reconstitute anything.

The stuff is a natural for so many dishes. It lends a deeply satisfying, French onion-soup-y bouquet to pork roast, beef, or roast chicken. It gives tuna salad a haunting, I can't tell what this is, but my god, it's incredible taste. It will amp up virtually any soup — white bean, tomato, lentil, and (of course) French onion. Sneak some onto the mac and cheese of your children to quietly train their palates away from bland food. Mashed potatoes will sing. And you have to put it on burgers! Just trust me on this.

Honestly? It's just the best back-pocket item ever — especially when you're ransacking your fridge in a panic, wondering why you didn't buy more onions when you were at the grocery store. And because you're not chopping onions, no tears — unless, that is, they're tears of joy as you gobble down your newly savory dishes.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

What's your go-to secret ingredient? Tell me in the comments!

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