26 Different Types of Onions

Get to know the different types of onions that can be found all over the world and how these highly nutritious plants are used for various purposes aside from cooking.

A bunch of onions in various kinds.

Onions are vegetables that belong to the Amaryllidaceae family. They originated from central Asia and were cultivated 7,000 years ago. The variety of onions differ in size, shape, color, and taste. They can be grown in temperate regions and on sandy and well-drained soils.

The cutting of an onion leads to the release of sulfur which becomes a sulfuric acid upon contact with moisture from the eyes. As a result, the acid produces a painful sensation and the body automatically reacts by eliciting tears to wash away the acid.

Onions were once worshipped in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed that the onions are magical and can ensure success in the afterlife. They used it as currency and covered their tombs with pictures of the plant.

Onions Nutrition Facts Chart

Onion Nutrition Facts Chart

Now let’s jump into your onion options.

1. Bermuda Onions

Bermuda onions against the green background.

Bermuda onions are great for both stuffing and baking, mainly because of their large size. They have a slightly sweet flavor that won’t overpower the rest of the ingredients, and they are a favorite on certain holidays. If you need a replacement for either Spanish onions or shallots, the Bermuda onion is what you should choose.

2. Boiling Onions

Boiling onions on a wooden table.

Boiling onions are white in color and are usually used for soups, stews, and creamed dishes. They have a mild flavor and are also great in casseroles.

3. Chives

A bundle of chives on a wooden cutting board.

Yes, chives are a type of onion, and they are perfect for making salads and soups with a little more kick. In fact, they provide a spiciness to any dish you include them in, so if you want some extra oomph for your next casserole or main dish, chives are the perfect ingredient. You can also use them in eggs and creamed soups for a little extra flavor.

4. Cipollini Onions

Cipollini onions

Cipollini onions are usually a beige or brown color, and they have a rich, sweet taste. If you want the perfect onion to caramelize or roast, the Cipollini onion is the one to choose. They also taste great in salads. One variety of Cipollini onion is known as the Bianco di Maggio, which is white in color and has a sweet taste.

5. Cocktail Onions

A bowl of pickled cocktail onions.

Also called Silver Skin onions, cocktail onions are sweet and very small. If you see pickled onions in a store, it is likely going to be cocktail onions, and they are often used to garnish cocktails and in recipes for various cheeses and bread.

6. Creole Onions

Small and red, Creole onions are very spicy, and they are perfect for adding a little kick to your dish.

7. Egyptian Onions

Egyptian onions

Egyptian onions have a very mild flavor, and they are also called Top onions, Tree onions, and Winter onions. They look similar to chives, and they are perfect for dishes such as potato salad, cream soups, and various other salads.

8. Green Onions

Green onions

Also called Spring onions, green onions are great in dishes such as sandwiches, stir-fry dishes, and various types of dips. They have a mild, peppery taste, and they can easily be eaten raw. If you use them in a stir-fry dish, you can use both the white and the green parts, although you may want to use only one part for other recipes.

9. Leeks


Leeks are very versatile onions and they go great with meats, such as bacon. If you’re cooking something slowly from scratch – including stews and soups – they are the perfect ingredient to add. In fact, you can find many soup recipes that include leeks if you search the Internet.

10. Maui Onions

Maui onions on a wooden table.

With a sweet and juicy flavor, Maui onions are great when marinated, grilled, or caramelized. The taste of Maui onions really comes out when you use them in sandwiches, onion rings, and various salads.

11. Mayan Sweet Onions

The Mayan sweet onion can be found in the United States during the fall and winter months, and they are very juicy and mild, especially when eaten fresh.

12. Owa Onions

These are onions shaped like teardrops and which have a slightly spicy taste. They are usually used in bases when making sauces and gravies.

13. Pearl (Button) Onions

Pearl (Button) onions

Also called Button or Baby onions, Pearl onions are small and have a mild, sweet taste. In fact, they are so small that they can be used whole after they’re peeled, and they are perfect for pickling and for making your gravy taste even yummier.

14. Pickling Onions

Pickling onions soaked in dark balsamic vinegar.

Pickling onions are very strong and pungent. They are great for casseroles and in fact, they can be used as a substitute for almost any other type of onion. They are also frequently pickled, hence their name.

15. Red Onions

Red onions

Red onions have a sweet, but mild flavor and they are perfect when you’re roasting meats and wish to add a little more flavor. They are good when added to salads and sandwiches, and you often see red onions on antipasto trays as well.

16. Red Wing Onions

A bowl of sliced red wing onions beside a half cut and whole pieces of red wing onions.

Naturally red in color, hence their name, Red Wing onions are very mild and, therefore, they are great for adding to sandwiches and salads. You can also cook these types of onions, but they are usually tastier eaten raw.

17. Shallots

Shallots on wooden chopping board.

Although not a true onion, shallots are usually considered a type of onion and look a lot like green onions or leeks. They are usually used in recipes for dips, sauces, and dressings, and they have a very delicate, mild flavor. There is also a Thai shallot, which is a little less pungent than the European varieties and they do well in spicy pastes.

18. Spanish Onions

Spanish onions

Great for stuffing and for making the perfect onion rings, Spanish onions look a lot like regular yellow onions and have a sweet taste. They also have a lower water content than many other types of onions, and they are perfect in a variety of dishes as well.

19. Texas Supa-Sweet Onions

Also called the Supersweet onion, these onions actually have a mild, delicate taste. They are often used for sandwiches, salads, and even certain types of salsa.

20. Torpedo Onions

Torpedo onions

Torpedo onions have a lot of sweetness to them, and they are excellent when either pickled or grilled until they’re tender.

21. Tropea Lunga Onions

Tropea Lunga onions

These are onions common and popular in Italy, and they are well known for their zesty taste. When they are grilled, they are even tastier, and they become more fragrant as well.

22. Vidalia Onions

Vidalia onions

Especially popular in the South, Vidalia onions are extremely sweet, making them the perfect onion for eating raw. Add them to your favorite hamburger or other sandwiches, and any other dish you wish to have a sweet taste because Vidalia onions will never let you down if a sweet taste is what you want.

23. Walla Walla Sweet Onions

Walla Walla Sweet onions

Walla Walla onions have a rather complex taste that is mostly sweet in nature. They are usually either eaten raw or cooked only slightly, and you can find them in recipes for quiche, pizza, pasta, and a variety of salads.

24. Welsh Onions

Welsh onions

With a look that is similar to green onions, these onions are used in a lot of Asian dishes and in fact, have nothing to do with Wales. Welsh onions are native to China, and they are slightly bigger than green onions. They are also perfect for a variety of stir-fry dishes.

25. White Onions

White onions on a wood plank table.

White onions have a very pungent, strong flavor and should only be used when a strong flavor is what you want. They can be used in a variety of dishes for certain salads and general cooking purposes, and their color can be white or slightly brown.

26. Yellow Onions

White onions in a rattan container.

Yellow onions have a pungent taste, although not nearly as pungent as the white onion. Sometimes confused with Spanish onions, yellow onions are used for numerous recipes, especially when you’re looking for a kick to your dish.

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