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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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  • Liz wrote:

    How far in advance can you peel the onions? Looking to do a lot of prep work ahead of time. Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Liz – You can peel them a day or two ahead of time. Just keep them in the refrigerator once you peel them.

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