I’m not usually the type who eats breakfast in the mornings. Waking up just takes so much dang time, and though I classify myself as more of a “morning person” than an “evening person”, I’m still not ready to get up and go and actually make myself something to eat before work. That being the case, I’m always looking for things that count as breakfast and that I can eat on the run.

This caramelized onion and cheese loaf is one of those eat-and-run type of meals. This is actually one of my very favourite recipes of all time to bake. Chock-full of tangy cheese and sweet onions and a little bit of zip from paprika and cayenne, it’s just delicious and filling and a great start to the daily grind.

I’ve adapted this recipe from when it first appeared in The Ottawa Citizen sometime around 2006 – 2007. The original recipe calls for smoked cheddar and actually makes muffins, but for those with a tiny oven and only one six-cup muffin tin, a loaf is more convenient. I’ve chosen to use aged, unsmoked cheddar, cayenne and some jalapeno gouda instead of the regular cheese, and I’ve opted out of adding the 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil in favour of the jalapeno zing.

You can pretty much add whatever you want to this to make it your own. Pancetta or proscuitto would go nicely, or some blue cheese and mushrooms, or chevre and sun-dried tomatoes. Have at it, do whatever you want!

Below is the recipe.


Caramelised Onion and Cheese Loaf adapted from The Ottawa Citizen


  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onion, which is about one whole medium-sized onion
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup aged cheddar, shredded
  • 1/3 cup jalapeno gouda, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne powder, depending on how much zing you want
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups milk stirred with 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice, left to sit for one minute)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup jalapeno gouda, shredded, for topping

For the Onions

  1. Heat the tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan on medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring frquently, until the onions are brown all over and caramelised, about 15 – 20 minutes.
  2. Add brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Remove onions from heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350F

  1. Measure flour, baking powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and both cheeses into a large bowl and stir everything to blend. Make a well in the centre of the bowl.
  2. Combine oil, milk and egg into the wet ingredients and stir until everything is combined.
  3. Add onions, and stir well.
  4. Line a 9″x9″ baking pan with parchment paper (or grease + flour the pan) and gently pour the batter in, smoothing to even it out.
  5. Sprinkle remaining jalapeno gouda onto the batter.
  6. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, and test for firmness: poke a skewer into the middle of the loaf, and if it comes out with batter on it, continue baking for 5 – 10 more minutes, until the skewer comes out clean.
  7. Cool and slice into squares.


And there you have it! Delicious on-the-run breakfast that’s super easy to make.

Let me know what awesome tasty ingredient combos you add! This is such a versatile little loaf.