Which Onion To Use

There are loads of different types of onions to use… so how do you decide which onion is right for the recipe?

Well luckily, our produce Manager, Nick (a.k.a. Dr. Veg) knows his onions and has some great tips for us on which onion to use and when!


Lots of times recipes (even our own), call for onions, but the variety isn’t specified. Here are some helpful hints for you!

Here is an easy to follow chart for your onion needs!

Onion Type  A little more information
Red Onion This is the best onion for eating raw.  Red onions tend to have a purplish skin & white flesh with slight reddish marks. Some great  uses for red onions are for salads, pickling and dips such as guacamole. Our favoutite use for red onion is for topping burgers.  Not only are red onions a little milder than some other onions, they also add great colour to plates.
Yellow Onion Most common onion for cooking. That is why it is sometimes referred to as a cooking onion. Yellow onions are excellent for French Onion Soup and are high in sulfur. They are great when used as a flavour base such as for sauces, soups and stews. Roasted dishes are best when yellow onions are used. Interesting fact: when yellow onions are cooked, they loose their bitter taste and become sweeter
Sweet Onions These onions are great for making french fries, onion rings, baked gratins or roasted vegetable dishes. These onions are very similar to yellow onions. They have thick layers which make it great for cutting into rings or fries. These onions are sweet, but not as pungent as other onions. These onions are also known as vidalia onions or walla walla onions.
White Onions The sharpest and crunchiest of all the onions. White onions have a low sulfur content and high water content compared to other onions.These onions are best for salsa, stir fried vegetables, or anywhere you want to add a little crunch! White onions are larger, have a stronger flavour and are not as sweet as some of the other onions on our list.
Shallots The least common on our list (technically not even an onion), shallots are great for making vinagrettes, dressings, glazes, or garnishes. The flavour profile of shallots are very similar to a mild red onion. The reason that these are so great for garnishing is because they are smaller and not as chunky as other onions. They can be sliced very thinly.

Discussion 6 comments

Jocelyn says:

Thank you for doing this list. I am never sure which type to choose.

Meridian Meats says:

Hi Jocelyn,

So glad to hear this is helpful 🙂

Carla says:

Good to know….thank you!

Meridian Meats says:

Hi Carla!
So glad to read that this helpful.
Have a great day!

Heather says:

It’s great to see the different types of onions defined. They each are wonderful in their individual ways, but they aren’t neccessarily interchangible.

Heather says:

P.S., are shallots a member of the garlic family? If that’s the case, they are cousins, aren’t they? And they’re all alliums, right? So, if that’s the case, then they’re all related, so let’s glorify them!

Leave a Comment

All comments are held for moderation until approved by Meridian Meats. Your e-mail address will only be used for spam verification purposes.