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16 Types of Onions and How to Use Them

Onions can add sharp, distinct flavor to your cooking, or a just a mild change to your favorite dish. Choosing the right onion for the job is a matter of understanding the flavor you want to create.

Some onions are sweet and mild. Others are pungent and strongly flavored. Some taste more like garlic than onions. Some even have a bit of a cucumber flavor.

The world of onions has a lot to offer.


1. Bermuda Onion

This is a large onion with white flesh and a mild, sweet taste. It’s available only in the spring.

Bermuda Onion


2. Chinese Leeks Onion

Also called “Chinese chives,” these onions look a lot like a large green onion. They have a mild chive flavor and are commonly grilled whole or used in tempura frying. They are available year round.

Chinese Leeks Onion


3. Cippolini Onion

This flat, flying-saucer shape pearl onion from Italy has a mild and sweet flavor. It’s often baked, roasted, or put on kebabs. They are available all year.

Cippolini Onion


4. Egyptian Onion

Also called “tree onions,” “top onions,” “winter onions,” or “walking onions.” They are strongly flavored with edible leaves and available in summer and autumn.

Egyptian Onion


5. Green Onion

Green onions are actually yellow onions harvested when they are still small and tender. Both the onion and the green shoots are edible. They may be used in place of scallions in any recipe and are available year round.

Green Onion


6. Leek Onion

Looking a little like a large green onion, leeks have a mild flavor. Unlike green onions, however, the green part of a leek is tough and inedible. Leeks are often fried or eaten raw and taste something like a mixture of onion and cucumber. They are available year round.

Leek Onion


7. Maui Onion

A golden, juicy onion that is sweet and naturally full of water. Weighing between ½ lb. and ¾ lbs., Maui onions are flying-saucer shaped and perfect for making onion rings. They are available from April through June.

Maui Onion


8. Pearl Onion

Sometimes called “baby onions” or “button onions,” pearl onions are often used in cocktails or for pickling. They have a mild, sweet flavor and are available year round.

Pearl Onion


9. Red Baron Scallion Onion

These beautiful, green onion style plants have a deep red base with green leaves. Red Barons have a strong scent and are a good substitute for scallions or green onions. They available in the spring and summer.

Red Baron Scallion Onion


10. Red Onion

Sometimes called a “purple onion” because of its reddish-purple skin, red onions are white fleshed, mild and sweet. They may be eaten raw. When cooked, red onions loose their color. They are available year round.

Red Onion


11. Scallion Onion

Also called a “spring onion” or “salad onion,” scallions are mild tasting and used interchangeably with green onions. They are commonly used in Asian and seafood dishes, as well as soups. They are available year round.

Scallion Onion


12. Shallot Onion

A cousin to onions, with a mild, sweet flavor, shallots grow more like garlic than onions; when you peel one apart, you may find two or three shallots clinging together. They are available year round.

Shallot Onion


13. Walla Walla Onion

Named after their growing location in the state of Washington, Walla Walla onions are sweet and available year round.

Walla Walla Onion


14. White Onion

With its white skin and flesh, white onions have a strong flavor and are often used in Mexican dishes and French onion soup. They are available year round.

White Onion


15. Wild Leek Onion

Also called “ramp,” this plant looks a bit like a green onion, but tastes like a combination of garlic and onion. They are often fried, and are available from March through May.

Wild Leek Onion


16. Yellow Onion

The most commonly seen onion, yellow onions have yellowish skin and white flesh. In the UK, they are called “brown onions.” They are pungent and available year round.

Yellow Onion


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16 Types of Onions and How to Use Them


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