Hey y’all, Mark here from The Dinner Dude coming at you with a super tasty and healthy recipe for “WATER LILIES” BAKED ONIONS. I know, I know – onions baked whole?? Trust me, once you try these caramelized, tender alliums, you’ll be hooked!

As an amateur chef and health enthusiast, I’m always looking for ways to add flavor using natural, whole ingredients. Onions are one of my go-to’s because they pack a ton of savory umami deliciousness. But eating them raw can be overpowering. By roasting or baking onions whole, their natural sugars caramelize, transforming them into these beautifully bronzed, mellow orbs with a jammy interior.

The name “Water Lilies” comes from how the onions open up in concentric circles like the flower after baking. Plus, I think they look so darn pretty lined up on a platter! I love serving them as a side dish, but they can also be used to top salads, sandwiches, grain bowls – so versatile.

I first tried baked whole onions years ago after my mom made them for a family barbecue. She struggled with her weight when I was younger, but got really into healthy cooking and exploring new veggie-centric dishes. Her creativity inspired me to start The Dinner Dude website and share recipes that help people lose weight by focusing on nutritious ingredients, like the mighty onion!


Trim just the ends off the onions before baking for perfect “water lily” shapes


The “Water Liles” baked onions beside being an excellent side dish, are beautiful as a presentation, you will amaze your guests.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: red onions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 150kcal
Cost: $15


1 sheet of baking paper
1 oven


  • Peel the onions, cut them into 8 wedges without reaching the end: they must remain attached to the base for about one and a half centimeter.
  • Wet a sheet of baking paper with water, squeeze it and place it in a baking pan: place the onions on top, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle each of them with oil.
  • Add rosemary and oregano to each onion “flower” and put some in the pan together with the bay leaves and sage. Pour about 1 dl of water on the bottom and cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 45 minutes.
  • Check them, if you see that the tops dry out too much, eventually cover with another sheet of wet and squeezed baking paper.
  • Serve the Water Lilies Onions with oil and possibly some more pepper.
  • This vegetable matches in an excellent way with meat and cheeses. You can flavor them with the most popular aromatic herbs such as thyme and marjoram.



In this recipe you can also use white onions and other aromatic herbs you can find in the markets of your country, depending also on the seasonal proposal and according to your taste.
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Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 32g
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Cooking Tips for “Water Lilies” Baked Onions

When sliced open, the onions reveal pretty concentric circles that resemble water lily flowers.
  • Choose the right onions – Yellow, white or red onions all work well. Go for larger onions over smaller shallots to yield perfect onion “petals.”
  • Trim just the ends – Leave the skin on and root end intact so the onions hold their shape. Simply trim off the stem and root ends.
  • Use a baking sheet – Line it with foil or parchment for easy clean-up. Space the onions out evenly.
  • Flavor as you like – Before baking, brush or drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on herbs, spices, salt and pepper. Get creative!
  • Bake low and slow – This gently caramelizes their natural sugars. I go for 375°F for 60-90 minutes.
  • Check for doneness – Insert a paring knife into the center. It should slide in easily when done.
  • Broil at the end – For extra color, broil for 2-3 minutes. Watch closely to avoid burning.
  • Serve warm or room temp – The onions taste amazing fresh from the oven but still have great flavor at room temperature.

Delicious Ways to Serve “Water Lilies” Baked Onions

Baked whole onions caramelize beautifully when roasted low and slow in the oven.
  • As a side dish – Serve the baked onions alongside grilled meats, chicken or fish. They pair well with almost anything!
  • On top of salads – Warm or room temp onions taste delicious atop leafy green and grain-based salads.
  • In sandwiches – Caramelized onions kick up the flavor in all kinds of sandwiches. Try them on burgers or subs.
  • With dips – Use the tender onion petals as edible scoops for hummus, bean dips, baba ganoush and more.
  • As a topping – Dress up pizza, nachos, tacos, flatbreads and bruschetta with sweet baked onion bits. So yummy!
READ MORE  How to make Crunchy artichokes with parsley and white wine

Frequently Asked Questions about “Water Lilies” Baked Onions

Enjoy “Water Lilies” Baked Onions as a tasty and healthy side dish with your favorite main courses.

1. How do you prep the onions for baking?

Simply trim off the stem and root ends, peel off any papery outer layers, but leave the skin on. Rub with oil, season as desired and place on a lined baking sheet.

2. What’s the best way to season them?

I love a simple drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper. But get creative with spices like cumin, paprika or Italian seasoning. Fresh or dried herbs are also delicious.

3. How long and at what temperature should they bake?

Bake at 375°F for 60-90 minutes, until the center is tender when pierced with a knife. If needed, broil 2-3 minutes at the end for extra caramelization.

4. Why are they called “Water Lilies?”

It’s because the concentric circles of the onion layers unfurl into petal-like shapes resembling the flower after baking. So pretty!

5. Can you eat the skin?

Absolutely! The skin becomes super tender during baking. No need to peel before eating. Just dig right in.

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