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Pearl Onions in Cream Sauce - A delicious side dish that's perfect for any special occasion or a holiday meal.

Pearl Onions in Cream Sauce is a dish that we typically prepare around the holidays, but this would be a great side dish for any special meal.  This delicious recipe serves the tender pearl onions in a really scrumptious cream sauce flavored with mellow garlic, bay leaves, parsley, and nutmeg – a combination that perfectly complements the delicate sweetness of these small onions!

Pearl Onions in Cream Sauce - A delicious side dish that's perfect for any special occasion or a holiday meal.

Although frozen, pre-peeled pearl onions could just as well be substituted in this dish, we prefer fresh pearl onions for their flavor.  The instructions below in the recipe provide an easy method for peeling the onions by blanching them first, then cutting off the ends and simply squeezing the onions out of the skin.  This little bit of extra effort is rewarded with wonderful flavor in the finished pearl onions with cream sauce dish!

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Pearl Onions in Cream Sauce - A Family Feast

Pearl Onions in Cream Sauce

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


A creamy and flavorful sauce with pearl onions – perfect for any special meal.


  • 30 ounces raw unpeeled pearl onions
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed but not chopped (they will be removed from the sauce before serving)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch, as needed


  1. To peel the onions, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add onions (including skin).
  2. Bring back to a boil and boil for three minutes. Drain and immediately plunge onions into an ice water bath. Drain and cut the root end off of each onion; then pinch the other end and the onion will pop right out of their skins. Discard skins.
  3. Place onions in a 4 quart pan along with cream, bay leaves, parsley, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Over medium low heat, cook covered for ten minutes stirring a few times during the cooking process. Mixture should be somewhat thickened.
  4. Remove cover and add in chicken stock and simmer for five minutes or more until the mixture has thickened and onions are tender. (Note: If the mixture is not thick enough for your taste, however the onions are fully cooked, mix a tablespoon of corn starch with 2 teaspoons of water and slowly add to hot onion mixture until desired consistency is achieved. This step is only necessary if you like a thick cream sauce.)
  5. Discard the smashed garlic and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve immediately.

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  • Rick Wright wrote:

    Can I make this ahead and refrigerate or freeze? Thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Rick – We wouldn’t recommend freezing it – a cream sauce like this will likely separate when thawed after freezing. You can certainly make it a day or two ahead of time and keep it refrigerated, then reheat in the microwave. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Martha wrote:

    Thanks Mary Ann!

  • Lee wrote:

    These look delicious. Would cooking time increase to double or triple the recipe? We have a large family and don’t know how many are coming. This is a great tip for peeling onions.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lee – It probably depends on the size of pan you are using. The cooking time should be the same if your pan is large and wide (to accommodate more onions) – but if you have smaller pan that is filled to the brim, it may take longer to bring all of the onions up to temperature. (Hope that makes sense!)

  • VICKI HUBER wrote:


    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the suggestion Vicki. I think to do so, you would just print the page versus using the print button from the recipe. It will also give you our full post leading up to the recipe, but otherwise, I’m not sure how else you can print the comments along with the recipe. Hope that helps!

  • Courtney wrote:

    Making again this year!

    • Martha wrote:

      Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Baba wrote:

    Thank you for all the wonderful recipes — yum!!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome! 🙂

  • Diane wrote:

    Love your recipes and their presentations but was wondering if there is a way to print off the recipe WITHOUT the picture of the food. I typically don’t save it and it is a waste of ink. I couldn’t find that option and other recipe sites do offer that.
    Thanks for your time!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the feedback Diane! Unfortunately the recipe plugin I use doesn’t give that option… I’m sorry for the inconvenience – you can copy and paste the recipe into a Word document in the meantime (I know that’s an extra step for you) and hopefully the plugin will give the no photo print option sometime soon. Thanks so much for visiting our site! Martha

  • Meredith wrote:

    Can these be made ahead of time and reheated?

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes – definitely Meredith!

      • Betsy wrote:

        If making the creamed pearl onions a day ahead, how long would you bake them and at what temperature?

        • Martha wrote:

          Hi Betsy – Not sure you had a chance to read through the recipe yet but they are not baked. You can make the entire recipe the day before and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

  • Sue – My Cooking Pots wrote:

    What a fantastic recipe. I love onions and in this cream sauce they would be delicious. I will have to try this!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Sue – hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Aurelia wrote:

    This sounds such a delicious side dish! I love pearl onions but, being from England originally, I’ve only ever had them pickled. I’ll have to give this a try though, and with fresh onions as they’re so easy to peel – who knew! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the recipe Aurelia! Thanks for writing to us!

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