Yellow, pink, green, Egyptian, Mexican or Chinese – onions come in more sizes, forms and varieties than most people can imagine. What most people do at the grocery store is they pick up the most commonly used variety, the yellow onions which are great for cooking indeed but slightly less recommended raw.
There’s no time to be picky with which type of onions to use when you only have one option waiting in the pantry, and your recipe calls for onions, without specifying a type, but sometimes when you cook a fancier meal the right kind of onions can make a real difference and add a whole new level of flavor to the dish.
That being said, it’s good to know one onion from another and which to use when cooking. Let’s start with them common ones.
Yellow Onions – are perfect to have at all times because if you are making a recipe that asks for onions but doesn’t say which type, this will work well no matter what you are making.
Yellow onions are high in sulfur which results in the vegetable having a strong tangy flavor but the taste develops sweeter and sweeter the longer the onion is cooked.
They are perfect for cooking soups, stews, and pastas first and foremost.
Red Onions – are probably second to yellow onions in terms of popularity but differ in that they are best served raw. These onions are beautifully colored, so they will add a dash of red to meals and a very nice flavor.
The downside to cooking red onions is that they will lose their bright color during the process along with some of the flavor.
They are perfect to add to salads and to grill.
Sweet onions – are known under various names and differ by color also. They can be yellow or white and named Vidalia, Walla Walla, and Spanish.
Whichever the name and the color, sweet onions are not at all pungent but have a much stronger sweet taste to other onion types. They are low in sulfur and high in water.
Sweet onions are perfect for making sandwiches.
Cippolini – are a type of onions that come in a flatter shape compared to other varieties and a somewhat sweet and mild taste. They also vary in color, from red to white and gold.
Cippolini onions are not as easily found in stores, but if you were to look for them, check the specialty veggies corner where supermarkets usually place them. These onions were once a gourmet staple, but many grocers sell them today.
They are perfect for caramelizing and roasting.
White Onions – are often confused with yellow onions and vice versa, but there are noticeable differences between the two.
For starters, color: white onions are much brighter in color than yellow onions with a white flesh and bright white skin. Second, there is a difference in taste: white onions are mild in flavor and are good to eat raw.
They are perfect for making pizza and topping sandwiches.