Types of Onion Guide
A Guide to 33 Varieties
1. Pearl onions come in many colors and varieties; great for boiling and pickling.
2. Bianco di maggio are Italian heirloom cipolline with white, sweet flesh.
3. More demure than European varieties, Thai shallots are great for spice pastes.
4. Spicy yellow storage onions, or common onions, are workhorses of the kitchen.
5. Italy’s famed, zesty Tropea lunga turn fragrant and luscious when grilled.
6. Grill or pickle tender, fresh torpedo onions, which have a concentrated sweetness.
7. Teardrop-shaped owas are slightly spicy and excellent for sauce bases.
8. Baby red Creole onions are so named because of their surprising spice.
9. Mayan sweets are fresh, juicy mild onions available in the States in fall and winter.
10. Texas sweets are descendants of Bermuda onions, brought here in 1898.
11. Cipolline onions are flat Italian varieties that turn buttery when roasted.
12. The supersweet candy hybrid is the ideal dried onion for caramelizing.
13. Large Red Bull onions keep longer than most dry onions and have a muted spice.
14. Inca sweet is a mellow variety from Peru sold fresh in the States during the winter.
15. French gray shallots are coveted by chefs for their creamy texture and refined flavor. Use them in vinaigrettes.
16. Insanely sweet Walla Wallas are available in the summer from Washington State; you can eat them like apples.
17. The sweet Siskiyou onion is harvested in the Pacific Northwest, sold fresh in summer, and is best raw.
18. Small, spicy turbo onions are a new storage variety with great heat.
19. Stuttgarters are classic dried yellow cooking onions often grown as pearls.
20. Late-season copras are surprisingly juicy and large for storage onions.
21. Heirloom red Wethersfields were grown by Thomas Jefferson, who loved their sweetness.
22. White granex is a cousin of Vidalia, a popular sweet onion from the South.
23. Since the 1880s, Australian browns have been prized for their pungent flesh, which is flavorful cooked.
24. Red baron is a smallish, popular red storage onion with pronounced sharpness.
25. Maui onions grow on the dormant Haleakala volcano; they’re ideal raw.
26. Red zeppelin are intensely oniony for reds; a popular hybrid for storage.
27. Red burgermeisters were bred to be sandwich onions. Sweet, with great crunch.
28. Often harvested young, Paris silver-skins are white, crisp, mild, and great for pickling.
29. French shallots have more spice and heat than Asian varieties. Excellent for sauces.
30. Crystal white wax is a mild, common pearl that retains its shape when cooked.
31. Jet set is a spicy small yellow onion that arrives early in the season.
32. Flat of Italy are heirloom Italian cipolline, ideal for roasting agrodolce, in a sweet-sour glaze.
33. Giant red hamburger is an aptly named variety that’s sweet and juicy and big as a bun.