5 Kinds of Onions Every Home Cook Should Know About

Know which ones you should use for salads and onion rings!

IMAGE Patrick Martires

Known for their distinct flavor, onions are the ultimate pantry staples! They can be used in a multitude of ways—read on to see what you can do with each kind.


1 White shallots

While shallots are part of the onion family, they look more like garlic. Small and composed of clusters of cloves, they can be used like regular onions but are especially delicious when roasted with other vegetables. Sweet and delicate in flavor, shallots go well in French and Asian dishes. Like most onions, they keep for a month or so in a cool, dark place.


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2 Green Onions

Green onions are the young shoots of onions and are harvested before the bulbs fully develop. They have crisp, bright green tops and firm, white bulbs at the end. They have a mild onion taste that most Asian stir-fries benefit from.


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3 Red onions

Characterized by their reddish-purple skin, red onions are relatively mild in flavor. They tend to lose their color when cooked, so they’re best used raw in salads, sandwiches, and salsas. This way, they add both a punch of flavor and a splash of color to these dishes.


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4 White or yellow onions

Want some caramelized onions? White or yellow onions are your best bet. Cook them for 10 to 15 minutes to bring out their sweet, mellow flavor. Regarded as all-around bulbs, these onions are usually bigger than red onions. They have a strong flavor when used raw and a delicate, sweet flavor once cooked. They’re great for soups, stews, and roasts.


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5 Leeks

Leeks have a mild onion taste and are best used to add flavor to stocks. Only their white roots and fat, light green leaves are edible; be sure to trim and clean them well as dirt accumulates in the leaves.


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Feature appeared in the September 2015 issue of Yummy magazine

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