Different Types of Onions – A Complete Glossary
Below you will find a comprehensive guide to all the different types of onions available. There are classic favorites like red onions, green onions and Vidalia onions, as well as lesser-known ones, like Egyptian onions and pearl onions.
This guide will help you distinguish between different types of onions and learn which ones are best to use in French onion soup recipes and other recipes in which onions play a part. Different types of onions have different characteristics and knowing what is available will help you make the right choices when selecting onions for your recipes.
We hope this makes it easier for you and you try some of those wonderfully delicious onion soup recipes found on the many pages of French Onion Soups. So, if you were scared to try making your own French onion soup before, because you could not figure out which onions you are supposed to use, this should be helpful. The list is alphabetical, so it should be fast and simple to find what you are looking for.
Types of Onions
In this photo, you can see a yellow onion, a red onion and a white onion, as well as some bulbs of garlic. These are all typical French onion soup ingredients. Garlic and onion are used together in many different recipes because their flavors are excellent together. There are many more types of onions than just the ones pictured, hence the compilation on this page of all the different types of onion available. Your grocery store might only sell one or two common onion types but it is always worth sampling others if you can, because all different types of onions have slightly different flavors and textures, ranging from ultra sweet to the incredibly pungent and slightly bitter.
How to Use Vidalia Onions
Vidalia onions are sweet and flavorful. You can use them to make French onion soup if you want a sweeter flavor, rather than a strong one. Caramelizing onions makes them even sweeter so, if you are following a French onion soup recipe which does not expressly call for sweet onions, don’t add any sugar or sweet wine to the soup, else it might come out too sweet. Vidalia onions can also be used in salads, sandwiches or in Asian dishes where a sweet flavor is desirable.
How to Use Green Onions
Green onions are more versatile than you might think and they are more than a simple salad garnish. Finely sliced, green onions are often used in Chinese and Japanese soup recipes. They have a similar flavor to yellow onions but their small shape makes them attractive in clear dishes like consommé. Both the bulb and green stem of the green onion can be used in recipes and you can even add a few chopped green onions to French onion soup, for an unusual flavor.
Red Onion Recipes
Red onions are not as common as yellow onions but you can substitute them in a lot of onion recipes. There are lots of onion soup recipes where you can use red onions. The red color usually disappears when these onions are cooked. Red onions are popular in salad dishes because of their attractive color. They can also be used to make salsas and chutneys. Combining red onions and yellow onions in a French onion soup recipe gives a pleasing flavor. Combining red onions and white onions tastes good too.
How to Use White Onions
White onions go mahogany brown when you sauté them, which makes them really good for recipes like French onion soup. There are plenty of easy French onion soup recipes you can make with white onions. They have a strong flavor and are often used in Mexican dishes. White onions make really tasty onion rings and they have a natural sweet and sour flavor, making them a favorite in Asian dishes. You can also use them in salad recipes and sandwiches. White onions are completely white, including the skin.
Yellow Onions – The Most Common Onions
Yellow onions, which are sometimes referred to as brown onions in the UK, can be used in pretty much any dish, which calls for onions. If you are following a recipe and it simply says onions instead of a specific type, use yellow onions. Yellow onions are frequently used to make French onion soup because they caramelize well and have a rich, strong, and delicious flavor. Yellow onions can be stored for longer than red or white onions too, making them a great vegetable to grow or to buy in bulk.
Why Egyptian Onions are Called Walking Onions
Egyptian onions are small and round with long, green stalks. Egyptian onions look like a cross between regular onions and green onions. When they are harvested early, you can eat the green stalks, like you can with green onions. Leave them in the ground for longer and the bulb will become bigger, dragging the stem down with it. If the ground where they grow is moist, they will trail along it, sprouting more onions as they go. This is why “walking onions” is another name for Egyptian onions.
Matching Onions to Onion Recipes
If you are making a salad recipe, try white onions for flavor, red onions for appearance, or green onions. If you are making something, which would be better with sweet onions, Vidalia onions, Super Sweet onions, or Maui onions are good options. For French onion soup, you can either choose your favorite onion to use or combine two varieties for a tasty result. Recipes, which just say “onions” usually, mean the brown-skinned, rich flavored yellow onions, which are the most common variety. If you are making beef broth or a beef stew, yellow onions are strong enough to hold their own, when mixed with the other ingredients. Organic onions have an especially strong flavor so if you are using those, you might need less.
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