If you thought all onions were created the same, think again. Each variety of onion has a slightly different flavor and works best in different types of dishes. It turns out that the differences between onion go a little more than skin deep when you pull back the layers.
If you're in the habit of snagging the cheapest onion at the store, keep reading to learn how each of these onions should be cooked for the best flavor:
1. Yellow onion
Your traditional yellow onion has the strongest flavor of all onion types. For most dishes, the yellow onion is your best choice, especially if you want to try your hand at caramelizing, since this onion is high in natural sugars. To dice this onion, remove the peel and cut it in half short ways. Then cut each half into long strips, turn and repeat.
2. Red onion
The red onion tastes best uncooked. That's why you'll find this type of onion on most burgers and sandwiches when you eat out. You can also chop it up for a salad. The red onion has less sugar than a yellow onion, and it contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer. To slice this onion into rounds perfect for a sandwich, remove the peel and cut the onion in half horizontally. Continue making horizontal cuts and pop individual onion rings out with your hands.
3. White onion
If you're looking for a little crunch, the white onion is your best bet. Use this onion in dishes where you want a little more texture. This is the type of onion you'll find on pizza or in Mexican dishes. The white onion has anti-inflammatory properties. You can slice this type of onion into wedges by cutting it in half long ways and then continuing to make long slices as thin as you want them.
4. Sweet onion
A sweet onion looks a bit like a yellow onion. Look for a peel that's more orange than yellow to spot a sweet onion. Walla Walla and Vidalia are types of sweet onion. The flavor is mild, so you can eat them raw. The high water content makes these onions a great option for salsas.
5. Green onion
When you're noshing on your sweet-and-sour chicken, the onion you get with each bite is probably a green onion. They're easy to tell apart from other onions because they're tall and green. You can cook them, but they're commonly served raw. The green onion is actually the green portion (stalk) of a bulb onion plant, so don't hesitate to dice the whole thing when cooking.
Shallots are small, almond-shaped onions with a golden-pink colored peel. This type of onion is sweeter and mild, so it works well raw in salads or as an addition to salad dressings. The shallot costs more than other types of onion. To chop a shallot, slice off the ends and remove the peel, and then dice as you please.
Do you love onions? Share this with your cooking friends on Facebook and try playing around with the different flavors the next time you whip up dinner.