Your Fav Onions - What Do You Always Have/Like/Use?

I think onions are really under appreciated.

This thread has reminded of one of my (many) guilty pleasures.

Onion rings topped with caramelized onions and garnished with pickled, minced shallots. :yum:


My pantry always includes:

Yellow: the workhorse. Always available, inexpensive. A mellow, not-too-sweet undertone, break down really well, don’t influence the final colour of a dish.

White: more often used raw than cooked. Mild, firmer when cooked, don’t influence food colour.

Red: raw or cooked. Firmer, slightly sweeter cooked, break down almost as well as yellow onions. Give food some colour.

Shallots: raw or cooked. Cook faster and keep shape better than yellow. Hint of garlic. Often used in salads/dressings but give a full flavour when cooked.

Scallions: raw or cooked. Essential for some Asian dishes for the right flavour profile.

Leeks: best cooked to break down the fibres. A good flavour boost for stocks.

Garlic: raw or cooked. Used almost daily.

Often includes:

Chives: most often raw. Lovely mixed in with soft cheese, salads, delicate flavour.

Spanish: raw or cooked. Sweet. Break down well. More expensive than yellow.

Vidalia sweet type. Often raw. Can cook up too sugary sweet.

Peking onion: good for soup bases, esp. ramen broth

Garlic chives: cooked in east Asian foods.

Wish I could have all the time:

Ramps: the best damn oniony flavour on the planet, bar none. Short, short season, can be hard to source. Eaten raw, cooked or pickled. Miss them terribly throughout the rest of the year.


I usually grab a bag of yellow onions and use them for everything.
If I’m doing a “Taco Bar” then I’ll get a white onion.

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Red 'cause I grow them.
Young preferably, so I can use the leek as well.
If I don’t have them, then whatever is available in the shops, normally brown (last year I grew those as well, but red onions cost the same to grow, keep better to the same and sell for almost double the price)
Most of my cooking is SE Asian & Indian.
I can’t get shallots here


Thanks for posting this. I’m still on the lookout for what I knew as a 'torpedo ’ onion. They were about the size of a large sweet potato and sweet. I grew up in California and they were readily available through the 70’s, I think. Maybe they went out of favor or stopped being produced.

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Come to think of it, I haven’t seen them lately either!

Curious, I googled torpedo onion because I have never heard of them. Apparently, it’s an Italian cultivar that isn’t commonly sold at retail but the seeds and plants are available from several sources.
One of the websites seems to market these towards growers who sell at farmers markets.

Are these what you are looking for?

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Ah! Tropea onions are the new Big Thing in Yurp these days! On menus everywhere.


I love torpedo onions, I can only get them at the farmers’ market

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Ooh I use yellow onions for almost everything, I’ve looked for white onions but they are very difficult to find in the UK. At least I’ve never seen them.

Red onion I’ll use raw sometimes and then have the bag sitting around for ages cause I can’t be bothered to have salads.

I use shallots occasionally but not a lot. And I always have spring onions in the fridge. I mainly use it as a garnish or in fried rice or to make my instant noodles fancier.


If anyone decides to grow them, please share your exploits here!

What do yours look like? Big, small, red?

For cooking I like red. For salads I like red or sweet yellows like 1015s. Whites or sharp yellows for pickled onions. I like scallions on baked potatoes and in many soy based sauces. Shallots are wonderful in pan sauces and reductions. Cippolini are great in braises and stews. Leeks are versatile and beloved. I like onions.

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Most consistently, I use the yellow bagged onions, but I often have a large red or two on hand. I buy the white ones if a recipe calls for it and I am being planful, otherwise I will just sub the yellow ones. There are almost always shallots in my pantry and scallions in my fridge, too. I feel like the yellow are pretty all purpose for most things, though.

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They are on the smaller side - they are about the size of a small medium yellow onion and have their greens attached. Sometimes later when they are harvested to end the season they are the size of a large shallot

I mostly cook with yellow onions and mostly use white and red when I want them raw in or on something.

The ones I experienced were so much bigger, like sweet potato size. It has been so long since I’ve seen them.

I’m often yellow as well. I find it the best for French onion soup. I can never find white onions as hot as they yellows here.

Scallions are used very differently, as you say, but also like the reds for color in pico de gallo, or anything else I want fresh onion zip with.

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Tropea onions are discussed in Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy-Calabria. Says Season 2 episode 5.

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