An onion’s an onion, right? Well… even though they behave the same in the pan, on the inside they each have their own slight variation on flavor & texture. Here’s a breakdown on onions- yellow, white, red & more.

Yellow Onion.

image of yellow onions

  • Considered the ‘all purpose’ onion, if a recipe doesn’t specify which type of onion it’s asking for, chances are it’s a yellow onion
  • Balance of sharp & sweet in flavor
  • Becomes sweeter the longer they cook & caramelizes well from high sugar content
  • Tough outer skin & meaty laters

White Onion.

image of white onions

  • Softer, sweeter & more mild flavor than yellow & red onions
  • Crunchy from high water content with thin & papery skin
  • Can be cooked but also delicious when minced and added to salsas or as a garnish to chili
  • Popular in Latin & Central American cooking

Red Onion.

image of red onions

  • Deep purple outer skin & reddish flesh, sharper & spicier than yellow onions
  • Best eaten raw: thinly sliced on top of a burger or salad, diced for salsas & guacamole for their color & mild flavor (The lovely red color becomes washed out during cooking.)
  • First choice for grilling onions, interior texture does not get mushy unlike white & yellow onions tend to do
  • If the raw flavor is too astringent for you, try soaking them in water before serving

Sweet Onion.

image of sweet onions

  • Have a sweetness to them, lacking the sharp, astringent taste of other onions
  • Good for frying or roasting with other veggies
  • Raw & thinly sliced is delicious when added to sandwiches & salads


image of shallot

  • Delicate, subtle flavor with a little spiciness
  • Excellent in egg dishes, dressings / vinaigrettes or as a garnish

Green Onion. AKA Scallion.

image of green onions

  • Mild & soft, generally used as a raw garnish & topping
  • Also tastes great when grilled or roasted

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