paleo network which type onion use yellow brown sweet red white shallot-min

Which type of onion should you use?

So you’ve got some red onions left over and no time to pop out to buy yellow ones – can you use them? Well onions aren’t all made the same, whilst it’s not the end of the world if you use the “wrong” type, for best results you’ll appreciate selecting the most appropriate type of onion for each recipe.

paleo network which type onion use yellow brown sweet red white shallot-min

Firstly, how to pick a good onion?

Make sure there are no obvious bruises or softness that may indicate the onion is old. They should feel heavy, firm and not have too strong-an onion odour before you peel them.

Brown Onions

Also known as yellow onions. These are the work-horse of the onion family and for me, the type I use most frequently. They can be used in many different dishes and are fairly sweet. The longer you cook them, the sweeter they'll be.

White Onions

Cook these exactly as you would brown onions, but you'll find them less sweet and with a sharper flavour. They'll hold their texture far better on cooking than the brown onion. If you're going for a raw recipe like a salsa, these would be my preference.

Sweet Onions

Whilst these may look similar to yellow onions, they are, as the name might suggest, even sweeter. These are another good option to eat raw in things like salads.

Red Onions

These taste similar to the brown onion, but won’t become as tender. They’re great for dishes requiring vibrant colour. The flavour can be toned down by soaking them in water before use, making them great to add to colourful salsas and salads.


These are a lot milder and great for more delicate recipes where you don’t want a strong onion flavour to take-over.

What type on onions do you use in which dishes? Do you eat them raw?