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7 Types of Onions, and What They’re Best For

Onions are one of the simplest and most versatile condiments. Onions give food a sweet-spicy flavor and aroma, which is why they are often added to different meat, mushroom, and vegetable dishes.

5-Minute Crafts made a list of the 7 most popular types of onion. We’ll tell you about what taste they have and what dishes they’re best for.

1. Yellow onions

Yellow onions are the most common type of onion. They are easy to recognize by their heavy brown parchment skin and ivory white flesh with a strong, sulfury, pungent flavor.

What it tastes like: pungent, strong

What dishes it’s good for: almost for any dish. Due to their high starch content, yellow onions retain their structure even after prolonged cooking. Therefore, they are great for boiling, frying, braising, and caramelizing. Plus, yellow onions are the perfect base for the famous French onion soup.

2. Red onions

Red onions are easy to recognize by their bright purple skin and delicate pink flesh. They look quite aesthetically pleasing and contrast well with other dish ingredients and are great for serving and decorating dishes.

What it tastes like: sweet, juicy, slightly tangy

What dishes it’s good for: salads, burgers, sandwiches, and ceviche. Red onions are soft and sweet enough to be eaten raw. They are also suitable for grilling or pickling. Pickled red onions make a great addition to Mexican tacos or Italian pizza.

3. White onions

White onions have a light, transparent skin that is white in color that can have slightly green spots.

What it tastes like: sweet, fruity, with a bitter aftertaste

What dishes it’s good for: Mexican sauces (salsa, guacamole), burger sauces, huevos rancheros, and French onion soup.

4. Sweet onions

Sweet onions look like yellow onions, however, they are larger and with a lighter, slightly transparent skin. They contain a lot of sugar.

What it tastes like: sweet, practically not pungent

What dishes it’s good for: salads and crispy onion rings. Sweet onions are also good to be eaten raw. They can be served as a snack with a variety of sauces.

5. Shallots

Shallots are small, elongated onions with brown skin and purple flesh. They consist of several cloves, which are easily separated from each other, like garlic cloves. Shallots are intense in flavor and aroma, but they are not very popular and rarely found in recipes.

What it tastes like: astringent, pungent, slightly caramel

What dishes it’s good for: salad dressings, sauces, and fried chicken dishes

6. Green onions

Green onions are usually immature onions that haven’t formed a bulb yet. Typically, green shoots with small, partially formed bulbs are used in food.

What it tastes like: soft, spicy, herby

What dishes it’s good for: salads, soups, omelets, and other egg dishes. It is usually eaten raw and is often used as a garnish.

7. Leeks

Leeks look like large, fleshy green onions with a white stem and deeply green shoots.

What it tastes like: soft, sweet, and spicy

What dishes it’s good for: soups, sauces, baked vegetables

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