What's the Difference? White Onion is Best or Yellow Onion for Your Health


Do white and yellow onions really differ that much from one another? The solution might surprise you. A grocery store expert also offers advice on what to look for while buying onions.

Do you know what to grab for if the only ingredient in your next supper dish is an onion? You should probably eat more onions as a vegetable, but does it really matter whether you use a white onion or a yellow onion? What you need to know about white and yellow onions, including the finest applications for them and how to pick the best onions at the grocery store, is provided below.

Read Also: Top 10 Vegetables You Should Consume Weekly, Says a Dietitian

What distinguishes a white onion from a yellow onion?

Many people keep a sack of yellow onions in their cupboard because they are excellent workhorse onions. When cooked, their flavor and perfume are slightly more potent than those of white onions, but not by much (some people may find the taste of raw yellow onions off putting).

According to Duane Hendershot, general manager of Healthy Living Market in Saratoga Springs, New York, "the yellow onion is your best choice if you ever have a dish that calls for [cooking] onions."

White onions have a softer flavor than yellow onions and have a slightly sweeter flavor. A white onion, as opposed to a yellow one, may be preferable if you're adding raw onions to a sandwich, salad, or salsa. As their names imply, white onions have a papery white exterior and a white inside, whereas yellow onions have flesh that is more of a golden color with a dark yellow or brown exterior. (Spanish onions, a kind of yellow onion, are frequently used and marketed as such.)

White onions often cost a little bit more than yellow onions, typically by around a cent or so per pound, as you may have observed when strolling down the vegetable aisle at your neighborhood store. White onions make for about 5% of the commercial onion production in the United States, whereas yellow onions account for around 87% of it, according to the National Onion Association.

How are they similar? 

Both white and yellow onions have layers of dry, paper-like skin and are similar in size and form despite having quite different harvests.

"You may soak any of your [cut] onions in water for 30–1 hour if you ever feel they are too sharp. It will lessen the sharpness, "recommends Hendershot. Cooking the onions will help lessen their sulfurous smell, which may get worse as the yellow or white onions get older. Both yellow and white onions may make you weep while slicing or chopping them because sulfuric chemicals are generated by raw onions when they are chopped.

How to select the best onions?

Take a minute to quickly inspect that the onions are "quite solid, weighty for their size, and free of bruises" before choosing one from the abundance at your neighborhood grocery store, advises Hendershot. They ought to have sprout-free skin that is dry and papery without any.

Once you get home, store your entire onions away from heat sources in a cool, dry area. If you only want to utilize a portion of an onion, keep the remainder in the refrigerator in an airtight bag or container for later use. To ensure that the smell won't stay, glass containers are even preferable. Or, slice and dice your onions before freezing them to make meal prep for soups and casseroles a snap!

Can they be used interchangeably?

White onions may be replaced for yellow onions in your next soup or sauce with just minor changes to the final product. However, unless you don't mind the more overpowering flavor and perfume, we wouldn't advise eating yellow onions raw for your salads and sandwiches.

Best uses for white onions

The tastiest white onions, according to Hendershot "raw or after rapid cooking (think stir-fry or grilling). Additionally, white onions are frequently used in guacamole and potato salads."

Best uses for yellow onions

Yellow onions may be used in almost any dish because of their versatility. Think beyond the box, though, and serve caramelized balsamic onions or honey-glazed onions as a surprise side dish at your next dinner gathering.

Other onions to use

Red onions are very frequently used in recipes in addition to white and yellow onions. However, since the flavor profile is very different, you might not want to substitute this. Red onions are a great addition to salsas, sandwiches, and other fresh meals where you want to pack a sharp punch since they have a more acidic, sweet flavor. Their vibrant color dwindles when cooked, but the taste endures.

Don't forget about these members of the allium family:

  • Cipollini onions: These are sweet and shaped almost like a flying saucer. They have a pale yellow skin and disc shape that makes them ideal for a simple roasted side dish.
  • Pearl onions: White pearl onions are the most common, but you may find yellow and red as well. They are small in size and often found in the frozen foods section of the supermarket.
  • Shallots: Shallots are larger in size than pearl onions and have an elongated body. They can be incorporated into dressings, side dishes, and more.
  • Vidalia onions: These look very similar to a yellow onion, but are more squat in shape. Vidalias are very mild in flavor, taste sweet and come together beautifully in a simple marinated salad with cucumbers.

Sum Up

So, is a yellow onion preferable to a white onion, or the other way around? You may use white and yellow onions interchangeably in a pinch and both have a place in your kitchen. However, in general, use white onions in raw preparations and yellow onions in cooked recipes. Put those onions to use in one of our 30 favorite onion recipes now that you are aware of their distinctions.

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