Cooking With Heinen’s | Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Steak Bites

4 mins read

I might not be decorated for the holidays yet or know what cocktails I’ll be serving but my appetizer game is on point. These steak bites with blue cheese and caramelized onions are so delicious. Juicy steak with sweet, tender, caramelized onions and a mild creamy blue cheese. Yes Please! Your holiday guests might never leave.

Durring the months of November and December we usually make a beef tenderloin at some point. The kids will be home on Wednesday and I will have one on the grill. When we buy a full tenderloin and trim it ourselves we usually have plenty of good meat left over that is not part of the tenderloin roast. I sometimes cut that into filets but this time I used it as an appetizer by cutting it into bite-sized chunks and adding onions and cheese.

Truth, the recipe calls for marinade but you can skip it if you want. If you start with a cut of meat as quality as beef tenderloin you can add the pieces directly to a smoking hot cast iron pan and get that sear with a juicy interior without the need to marinate. Quality steak has it own delicious flavor. However, if you love a good marinade and you have the time I’ve included the marinade recipe. Check out the note at the bottom of the recipe where I share a tidbit about timing your marinade.

Just a note about caramalized onions, I LOVE THEM! Even if you don’t think you like onions, please try them. They are sweet and add amazing flavor to everything. We even add them to our grilled cheese sandwiches. Simply start with a hot pan with 50/50 butter and olive oil. Just a bit. Add your 1/4 inch sliced onions and stir every 4-5 minutes until they are beautifully browned. I say the darker the better.

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak Bites with Caramelized Onions



  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (course)
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

Steak bites 

  • 1-1.5lb Tenderloin cut into bite sized pieces.
  • Kosher salt for cooking.
  • 8 oz Blue Cheese

Caramelized Onions 

  • 4 large Sweet Onions Sliced
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil



  • In a bowl add cubed steak bites, salt, parsley, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, worcestershire sauce, and olive oil. Mix to cover steak and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Marinate for up to one hour. See note.

Caramelized Onions 

  • Slice 4 sweet onions and set aside.
  • Add butter and olive oil to a heavy bottom skillet and add sliced onions.
  • Allow the onions to cook on high for about 3-4 minutes before reducing the heat to medium.
  • Stir the onions every 5 minutes until completely caramelized. This can take awhile 30-40 minutes but it’s so very worth the wait.

Steak Bites

  • Into a very hot cast iron pan add a teaspoon of kosher salt.  No oil or liquid.
  • Add marinated steak bites to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until crust forms. Do not move them around the pan.  Simply let them sear. Once both sides have been seared THEN toss around the pan for just a minute to cook all sides. The time depends on the size of your bites.
  • Once done remove from heat and add the next batch. Do not crowd your pan or the meat will steam not brown. You want that nice sear on both sides. We like our steak rare, adjust your time for your desired doneness.  It will go under the broiler for just a minute once you have added the toppings. 

Optional alternate cooking method:

Broiler method

  • Add the bitesized pieces of steak to a baking sheet.
  • Place broiler on high and cook steak bites 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on your desired temperature, turn and continue cooking. This method cooks them pretty quickly so make sure you stay with them.
  • Once cooked to your preferred temperature remove from oven.


  • Place all steak bits on a cooking sheet.
  • Add a tablespoon of the caramelized onions onto the top of the steak bites.
  • Add about a teaspoon or so of the Blue Cheese.
  • Place under the broiler just long enough to slightly melt the blue cheese. 
  • Remove from the cooking sheet onto a serving platter.  Add a cocktail pick to each bite.
  • Serve immediately; Enjoy!

NOTE: I learned some time ago from an Alton Brown Good Eats episode that the marination process breaks down the fibers of the meat causing tenderization. (He used pool noodles to show a large scale sample of the fibers and show why you cut flank steak across the grain not with the grain. YES! I’m a food science geek!) Anyway, In the first hour this tenderization happens then beyond an hour the fibers begin to tighten. At this point, beyond an hour, the meat needs to marinate a full 24 hours for the break down to occur again. So the takeaway is that you should marinate for less than an hour (20 minutes usually works great) or more than 24 hours. I have no idea if this is true scientifically but I have always followed it and I have never ever had tough meat.



About the Author

Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. Her Blog, Table and Dish is a website devoted to celebrating and curating the many ways that food binds us. Sally hopes that her recipes and images will inspire you to gather your friends and family in the kitchen to make memories, use the time to connect with busy kids, chat over mixing bowls, get messy, laugh, sing, set the table, clear the table, pass the salt, debate the days topics and pray. You can follow her here as a weekly contributor to 365Barrington and Heinen’s as well as via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at

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Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meatheads) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit

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