The different types of onion and their flavors

Published September 22, 2021, 12:00 PM

by Patricia Bianca Taculao

Onions are a common ingredient in cooking because it adds flavor and aroma to many dishes. To add to the culinary appeal of onions, these come in different types that each have a distinct use and taste. Here are some of them that many are familiar with.

Photo by Sincerely Media from Unsplash

1. Yellow onion – This variety can be a little strong when eaten raw. Yellow onions also have a slightly higher starch content which allows them to hold up well in heat, making them an ideal all-purpose cooking onion.

2. Red onion – Often eaten raw, red onions have a sharper flavor compared to yellow ones. These are best used in grilling and pickling.

3. White onion – Although their color is similar to a yellow onion, the white variant has thinner, paper-like skin. These are also known for their milder flavor, which makes them suitable to be served raw.

4. Green onion – Also known as scallions, green onions can be used as onion and herb simultaneously. Its white end acts like a white onion that gives off a mild, sweet flavor. But if consumed raw, they have a nice juice crunch to them. The green tops, on the other hand, have a bit more flavor and are usually used as an herb.

5. Spring onion – These onions look almost identical to green onions but with a small bulb at the end. Spring onions can be used interchangeably with green onions since these are only available seasonally.

6. Leeks – Commonly used in soups and stews, leeks resemble giant green onions. But since these are more fibrous, not many people consume them raw.

7. Shallots – Ideal for sauces and dressings, shallots are a great alternative to the yellow onion and bear a hint of garlic flavor.

8. Pearl onions – These onions are tiny, sweet versions of white, yellow, and red onions. They taste best when roasted, braised, pickled, creamed, or glazed. 

When cooking with onions, there’s nothing wrong with choosing what’s available or following a preference. But if used properly and according to their profile, onions can enhance the flavor of many dishes. 

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