If you would have said “Lor someday you’re going to post about onions and how amazing they are in recipes” I would have laughed in your face and told you were smokin’ something. Growing up onions to me were like kryptonite to superman. They debilitated me and literally would gag me. Dear God if I found an onion in my food I was done eating, arms were crossed and immediately the 7-year-old-girl-squinched-up-face happened. If I had a dollar for every time my Dad said “Try it you’ll like it” I would never ever have to work. But then something happened once I lived out on my own – I come to realize that recipes NEED onions in them to add flavor and body. That onions are a necessity. AND if you minced them itsy bitsy super small they won’t kill you and you’ll have amazing food. So once I developed first an appreciation and then eventual love for them I began to explore onions and the different varieties. Now I’m in love with shallots and green onions. Sweet vidalia make the best onion rings and I almost exclusively use red onions in Mexican food and cole slaw. So on today’s Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer I’m going to give you the skinny on the variety of onions out there and when to use them. I’m calling it “Onions 101”. Class is in session!
Sweet onions are often known as Vidalia or Maui. Because they are sweet, they almost rarely make you cry and aren’t that strong ‘oniony’ smell that white onions are. These are the go-to onions for burgers and sandwiches as well as onion rings.
Green onions or scallions are long, with a white stem end that does not bulge out. While they do have an onion flavor they have a mild bite that is not as intense as regular onions (the white parts contain the most intense flavor). You can eat both the white and green parts leaving a 1/2″ from the root in tact. These are often used in Asian and Latin/Mexican type dishes. These onions can be cooked or raw.
Because red onions aren’t sweet they are a no-no when it comes to caramelizing. They’ll just end up burning. These are best used raw in salsas and cold dishes or atop burgers.
These are normally used in sauces, soups and stews. They have a strong pungent taste and odor which means these are the tear jerkers.
Oh shallots how I love you. While your skin is a pain in the butt to get off, you’re so worth it. These little bulbs are packed with so much flavor. They are very mild and sweet in flavor and the perfect onion for getting that non-onion lover in your life to convert. Trust me, it worked on me!
These are pretty much your all purpose onion. These onions are generally ones that should be cooked as the longer you cook them the sweeter they get. Because they get sweeter as they are the perfect onion for caramelizing and using say in French Onion Soup.
Recipe Reviews & Comments
Christine Witt says
Thank you for the article on onions. I never put much thought into which kind of onion to use. Now I will!
You are most welcome Christine! Honestly never did I as I loathed onions. I still won’t eat a real raw onion to save my soul – well okay if it’s minced itsy bitsy and is in like salsa or slaw then I will but give me caramelized onions and I’ll be your bestie for life!
Best Kitchen Wishes!