Teaching Tuesday: Onions (The different colors of onions, how to chop an onion - video!)

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon Category: Cooking101

Welcome to Teaching Tuesday!

This new series is designed to help make you the best home cook yet! Each week we will explore a new ingredient and how to use it! (Feel free to leave a comment on what you'd like to learn about below!)

The first "installment" is a real tearjerker. Yep, I'm talking about onions!

As you probably know, onions come in a variety of colors, which make them all the more confusing. Here's a breakdown of their uses by color and/or type!


Red onions are most often eaten raw. They're perfect for salads, sandwiches and "burgers".


Yellow onions are your standard, all-purpose onions (and most commonly used). Cooked or raw, they can be used in pretty much any recipe. They're also great for caramelizing!

Sweet Onions(not pictured)

As the name suggests, sweet onions really are sweet (and less pungent)! Common sweet onions include the Vidalia onion (grown in Georgia) and Walla Walla (grown in Washington state). You can eat them raw or cooked, and they make for an excellent bake onion ring (HHC, p. 176)


White onions have a more "oniony" taste than yellow onions, which make them great for potato and pasta salads, and in Mexican or Southwestern dishes (especially salsa!).


Also known as scallions, green onions are most commonly used as garnishes.

Shallots (not pictured)

Shallots have a more subtle flavor than their larger onion cousins. They're frequently used raw and as a garnish. Shallots are also a great substitution for regular onions.

Leeks (not pictured)

Leeks look like a larger version of green onions. Like shallots, they also have a subtle onion flavor and are excellent for soups!

Let's review:

See? Not that confusing, right?

Now that you know which onions to use, here's my tutorial on how to easily chop an onion. And if you're worried about shedding a tear (or two!), these special onion goggles should do the trick!

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