Question: Explain the difference in choosing red, white or yellow onions

June 19, 2011
Over the years,I have used red, white, and yellow(Spanish) onions in various recipes. Could you please explain the the best reasons for using each in recipes? Thanks


Chris Paulk's picture

Yellow onions have a high sulfur content. It has a pungent flavor and smell, making it typically, too strong to eat raw unless there are other ingredients which counter-balance the flavor. The white onion is a milder flavor than the yellow onion and is a great substitute if you want onion flavor, but don’t want it to be too strong. You can use red onions in non-cooked dishes, such as salads and sandwiches. Of the different colored onions, the red onion is the most mild, sweet onion, making it the easiest to eat raw.

Diane's picture

Thank you so much Chris and Carol! Carol, I too find that red onions this year are really hot. A produce guy once told me that the more "pointed" an onion is, the hotter it is. Likewise, the "rounder" one isw, the milder. I have found it to be true. Again, thanks to both of you. I am brand new rto this site, but I'm finding that it's a very nice site. Diane

Food So Good Mall's picture

The truth of the matter is that all onions with the exception of vidalia and wala wala or Hawaiian sweet onions can be used interchangeably ..In a dish where you don't want the sharp bite of a spicy onion use a sweet onion. Even though non sweet onions have subtle taste differences they can be interchanged...the key is to taste you onions before using as even the same varieties have taste level differences