Skip to Content

9 Types of White Onions

Please share!

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details..

White onions are revered for their unique texture and intense flavor. They have thin, papery white skin, which makes them crisp. But beyond that, their flavor is generally sharper and sweeter than yellow onions. While you can use them in cooking, their unique texture and flavor make it possible to also use them raw.

Ever wonder what the differences are between the colors of onions? Well, the first reason is pretty simple – pigments. The pigments in white onions differ from those in yellow and red onions.

These individual pigments also play a role in the flavor profile of onion cultivars. If you make a lot of Mexican cuisine, white onions will be one of your primary ingredients.

You can choose to stick to one variety of white onions for all your recipes, or you could spice things up by working with different varieties of white onions each time.

If you favor the latter, we’ve got you. Below, we discuss 9 types of white onions, their flavor profile, where to find them, and much more.

Pearl Onions in a clear bowl

Pearl Onions

Pearl onions come in various colors including white, red, and gold. On average, they are around 0.4 to 1.6 inches in diameter with a globular shape and slightly pointed ends. They go by many other names including Picklers, Baby Onions, Cocktail Onions, and Button Onions.

Flavor Profile

White pearl onions have a sweet, savory, mild flavor with crunchy, crisp, yet juicy flesh. They are a bit less pungent than full-sized onions when used in cooking.

Where to Find Them

You can get white pearl onions in supermarkets, specialty grocery stores, and farmer’s markets across North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Ease of Growing

White pearl onions are pretty easy to grow. So, it is no surprise that they are available throughout the year. White pearl onions come from regular-sized onion varieties such as ‘White Bermuda’ and ‘Crystal Wax.’

They are typically planted in dense clusters or other tight conditions that stunt growth to ensure their small size. It only takes about 60 to 90 days after planting to harvest pearl onions. The bulb grows to around 1-2 inches in diameter within that period.

Unique Traits

White pearl onions are the most common type of pearl onions. You can cook them or use them raw. You may also pickle white pearl onions before adding them as a garnish on cocktails and salads. This is why people sometimes call them Picklers or Cocktail Onions.

Cipollini Onions

Cipollini Onions

Cipollini onions can have white, red, or yellow flesh. Their skin is papery and thin. Cipollini onions are typically petite with a somewhat flattened shape like a saucer. On average, they measure around 1-2 inches in diameter.

Flavor Profile

Cipollini onions are pretty sweet, thanks to their high residual sugar content. However, they are not as sweet as shallots. They also have a strong onion taste – something like the taste of shallot.

The high residual sugar content of Cipollini onions is why they are great when caramelized.

Where to Find Them

In the US, you can get Cipollini onions from grocery stores, online, and through Instacart. Of course, they are popular in Italy, so they should be easy to find in Italian regions.

Ease of Growing

Cipollini onions grow in full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. It typically takes them around 12 to 14 days to germinate.

If you plant them in spring or summer, it takes around 75 to 150 days for them to be harvest-ready. But if you plant them in fall or winter, it may take 210 to 240 days before they are ready for harvest. This is unsurprising since cold may delay germination and development.

Unique Traits

Cipollini onions have higher residual sugar content than most white and yellow onions. They also have a considerably high level of fiber.

Cipollini onions originated in Boretto, Italy, in the 15th century for domestic use. However, as Italian immigrants moved around, they spread them across Europe and America.

white onions

Boiling Onions

People typically use boiling onions whole in stews, braises, and soups; hence, the name. Boiling onions share the similarity of early (immature) harvesting with pearl onions.

Boiling onions can be red, yellow, or white. They are typically round, measuring around 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.

Flavor Profile

White boiling onions are juicy, firm, and crisp. They are pungent when raw but milder and tender when cooked.

Where to Find Them

You can get boiling onions in farmers’ markets and specialty grocery stores across Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia.

Ease of Growing

Boiling onions are available year-round because they are easy to grow.

Vidalia Onions in the market

Vidalia Onions

Vidalia onions are on the sweeter end of the flavor profile because of their relatively high sugar content. Hence, their popularity in the south. They are a type of sweet onion with a flat saucer-like shape.

Flavor Profile

Vidalia onions have a succulent, mild, and sweet flavor. The soil in Vidalia, Georgia has relatively low levels of sulfur. So, Vidalia onions typically have low sulfur content. This is why they are not pungent.

Vidalia onions have a low caloric content. They may also promote digestion.

Where to Find Them

You can readily find Vidalia onions in Vidalia, Georgia – their place of origin and eponym. But besides Vidalia, you can find them in 20 other Georgian counties and grocery stores in the US.

Ease of Growing

Vidalia onions grow between April and August. However, they are only grown in Vidalia and 20 other counties in Georgia. Onions planted outside these counties are not Vidalia onions.

Unique Traits

Vidalia onions are the official state vegetable of Georgia.

Walla Walla Onions

Walla Walla Onions

Walla Walla onions are an heirloom onion variety. They are globe-shaped onions, weighing around 1 to 2 pounds per fruit. While Walla Walla onions have brown, flaky skin, their flesh is bright white.

Flavor Profile

Walla Walla onions are sweet, firm, crunchy, and juicy. They have a mild flavor when raw. But when cooked, they become even sweeter with a warm flavor.

Where to Find Them

Walla Walla onions are the official state vegetable of Washington state. So, you can find them in Washington. But beyond Washington, you should see them in specialty grocery stores and farmers’ markets all over the country.

Ease of Growing

Since Walla Walla onions are a long-day variety, they need extended exposure to full sun to grow well. Plant them in well-drained, fertile soil, spacing each plant by 6 inches, and the growth should be smooth. It takes about 90 days for Walla Walla onions to be ready for harvesting.

Unique Traits

Walla Walla onions are the sweetest amongst long-day onion varieties.

Walla Walla translates from the local native American language to “many waters.” The onions got the name because they are precipitation-hardy. Walla Walla onions can withstand up to 18 inches of precipitation yearly.

sliced onions

Maui Onions

Maui onions come as small to medium-sized, elongated globular bulbs. They have thin, papery skin, which may be brown or yellow. However, their flesh is white.

Flavor Profile

Maui onions are crisp, sweet, firm, crunchy, juicy, and succulent. They have a low-sulfur profile, so they are not as pungent as many other onions.

Where to Find Them

You can find Maui onions in Maui, Hawaii. Besides Maui, you can also find them in grocery stores across Hawaii. On mainland United States, Maui onions are available at specialty grocery stores and in online stores. However, they may be limited.

Ease of Growing

You can get Maui onions all year, so they are somewhat easy to grow. However, their peak production period is typically spring to summer.

Unique Traits

Maui onions are only available in limited quantities because farmers grow them on less than 400 acres of land.

white onion on the table

Texas Supersweet Onions

Texas Supersweet onions are usually medium to large-sized bulbs with flaky brown skin. They typically weigh around 1 pound per bulb. Beneath their skin, Texas Supersweet onions have yellow to off-white flesh.

Flavor Profile

Texas Supersweet onions are super sweet. So, the name fits. Beyond being sweet, their flavor is mild, and their flesh is soft and crunchy.

Where to Find Them

You can find Texas Supersweet onions in Texas – their state of origin. You can also get them in online stores.

Ease of Growing

Texas Supersweet onions are a short-day onion variety. They need around 10 to 12 hours of sun per day for optimal growth.

Texas Supersweet onions thrive best in well-drained, fertile loam soil. With seeds, it takes around 105 to 110 days for Texas Supersweet onions to become harvest-ready. But if you transplant, the harvest should be ready in about 70 days.

Unique Traits

Texas Supersweet onions mature later than many other short-day varieties. But then, they have their size to show for it.

white sweet onions

California Sweet Onions

While California Sweet onions come wrapped in gold to brown skin, their flesh is usually white or pale yellow. They are medium to large-sized with a globular shape flattened on both ends. California Sweet onions are short-day onions, and they also go by the name Sweet Imperial.

Flavor Profile

California Sweet onions are not as pungent as regular onions. They are mild, sweet, juicy, tender, and crunchy.

Where to Find Them

One of the easiest places to get California Sweet onions is Imperial Valley in Imperial County, California. Imperial Valley is one of the largest producers of California Sweet onions in the US. You’ll find it just around 200 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Besides Imperial Valley, you can get the California Sweet onions at various farmer’s markets in California and Nevada.

Ease of Growing

The conditions California Sweet onions need to grow are not hard to meet. Since they are short-day onions, they only need around 11-12 hours of sunlight to thrive. California Sweet onions grow through fall and winter. So, by spring and summer, they are ready for harvest.

Unique Traits

California Sweet onions contain relatively low levels of sulfur. Hence, their mildly pungent taste.

white onions on the wooden table

NuMex Casper Onions

The ‘NuMex Casper’ onions are jumbo-sized, intermediate-day white onions with a round shape. They belong to a group of onions created by the Agriculture Experimentation Station of New Mexico State University. Hence, the name NuMex.

Flavor Profile

‘NuMex Casper’ onions are crisp and white, with a slightly pungent aroma.

Where to Find Them

Of course, since they came from New Mexico, you can find them all over New Mexico. But beyond New Mexico, you can get them in Arizona, Maryland, and Connecticut.

Ease of Growing

‘NuMex Casper’ onions are relatively easy to grow. They thrive in full sunlight, so their best planting season is spring.

‘NuMex Casper’ onion seeds thrive in fertile, moist soil at around 50 to 90°F. It typically takes about 10 to 14 days for them to germinate. Then after 90 to 120 days, you can harvest them.

Unique Traits

The ‘NuMex Casper’ onion is resistant to pink rot.

Resources

Please share!

locask

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

Very well presented. Every quote was awesome and thanks for sharing the content. Keep sharing and keep motivating others.