Tennessee Onions is a rich and flavorsome dish, celebrated for its indulgent blend of multiple onion varieties and a creamy, cheese-laden topping. This dish typically begins with a selection of onions, often a mix of sweet onions like Vidalia, red onions, and white onions, each contributing its unique flavor profile. The onions are expertly sliced, not too thin to avoid mushiness, and not too thick to ensure they cook evenly. They’re arranged in layers in a baking dish, creating a visually appealing gradient of colors.

Between each layer, small dots of butter are added, lending a luxurious richness as they melt during cooking. Seasonings like salt, pepper, and sometimes a dash of garlic powder are sprinkled over each layer, infusing the onions with a simple yet robust flavor.

The real magic happens with the topping – a generous mix of cheeses, typically including cheddar for its sharpness and mozzarella for a delightful stretchiness. Some variations also include a sprinkle of Parmesan for an added depth of flavor. This cheesy layer becomes beautifully golden and bubbly in the oven, creating a tantalizing contrast with the tender, sweet onions beneath.

As it bakes, the aroma of caramelizing onions and melting cheese fills the kitchen, signaling that the dish is almost ready. The onions become meltingly soft, absorbing the buttery, cheesy flavors, making the dish rich and hearty. Despite its simplicity, Tennessee Onions is a versatile side that pairs wonderfully with a variety of main courses, from traditional Southern barbecues to more elegant roasts. It’s a comfort food classic that’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate.


  • 2 large sweet onions (such as Vidalia)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Peel the onions and cut them into thick slices, approximately 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) thick. Separate the slices into rings and place them in a single layer in a baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. This creates a flavorful cheesy topping.
  4. Spoon the cheese mixture evenly over the onion slices, covering them with the mixture.
  5. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the onions are tender, and the top is golden and bubbling.
  7. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh parsley for added color and flavor.
  8. Serve hot as a savory side dish that complements various main courses.
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