Sweet Onion Vs Yellow Onion: Key Differences

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There are numerous types of onions, ranging from spring onions, green onions, pearl onions, scallions, and shallots. They are also categorized by their color; onions have different colors like green, red, yellow, and white.

Their flavor also differs, with some being on a mild level, while others have a more pungent flavor. These differences can make it hard to choose the right onion for your dish. This article compares two popular onions – sweet onion vs yellow onion.

Yellow onion is what most people settle for when a recipe requires onion. But sweet onions are usually flatter and larger than yellow onions, with less opaque, lighter colored skin.

Sweet onions contain extra sugar, making them sweeter than yellow onions and ideal for caramelizing. Their larger size and sweeter taste make them good for making onion rings.

In this article, we will talk about some significant differences between these two vegetables in terms of how they taste, color, and uses.

What are Sweet Onions?

Sweet onions have different varieties, but the most common types are walla walla and Vidalia. They lack a sharp and pungent taste and are on the mild spectrum.

Sweet onions can be used in recipes or consumed raw; they range in color from white to yellow and often have a flattened or squashed appearance. Their high sugar content causes sweets onions to go bad faster than the rest of the other types of onions.

What are Yellow Onions?

Yellow onion is a bit more popular than sweet onions, and they are multi-purpose, so they are used more often compared to other types of onions.

Yellow onions have a nice balance of astringency and sweet flavor that is further enhanced the longer the onions cook. Yellow onions have an average size with fairly thick outer skin and meaty layers.

There are different varieties of yellow onions, but Spanish onions happen to be slightly sweeter than other types of yellow onions and have a more delicate flavor.

See Also: Vidalia Onion Vs Sweet Onion

Can I Substitute Sweet Onion For Yellow Onion?

Yes, you can substitute sweet onion for yellow, but the onions will need to be cooked slightly longer due to the higher water content of sweet onions.

Sweet onions also lack that tangy bite and crunch you would get with other onions because they contain more sugar and fewer sulfuric-acid compounds; this is what gives the onions their characteristic pungent flavor.

Sweet Onion Vs Yellow Onion: Key Differences

Yellow onions are a good all-around onion mostly used for cooking and flavoring food. Yellow onions are undoubtedly the most popular onion sold in the United States, and they’re versatile enough for just about anything.

Yellow onions are a smart choice for caramelizing, which draws out their natural sweetness.

Sweet onions, on the other hand, are much less pungent and sweeter than yellow onions. They’re pretty easy to break down and are less complex, so they’re best used in place of yellow onions as an aromatic flavor.

However, unlike yellow onions, sweet onions spoil very quickly and should be stored in the fridge to extend their freshness.

What are Yellow Onions Used For?

Below are the various uses of yellow onion:

Yellow onions are also known as brown onions; it has a round shape with a thin brownish papery skin. Yellow onions have a balanced flavor that’s mild but not overly subtle or overwhelming.

It can be used in various cuisines and dishes, including stir-fries, sauces, and any other savory dish that simply calls for an onion.

Let’s look at some of the different ways you can cook yellow onions:

1. Caramelized

Heating slightly acidic vegetables like onions in fat over low heat cause them to become caramelized, which results in a delectably soft and sweet end product that takes a vastly different texture and flavor from its raw form.

Caramelized onions can be used in egg dishes like frittatas, omelets, or toppings on sandwiches and burgers. 

2. Roasting

Chop the bulbs of yellow onions into half, then toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and coat each halve evenly with the seasoning before placing it in the oven to roast at a high temperature until the onions turn golden brown on the edges.

You can place the onions underneath the chicken while they roast for extra flavor.

See Also: Best Substitutes For Onion Powder

3. Sautéing

To brown the onion quicker and give it a stronger onion flavor, you can sautée them in a few tablespoons of butter for about 10 minutes.

Sautéed onions are quite similar to caramelized onions and can be added to sandwiches as the patty melt or served over steaks

4. French Onion Soup

A classic winter dish is the French onion soup made by simmering caramelized onions in beef stock, bay leaves, and thyme.

This hearty soup is served alongside toasted bread covered in gooey gruyere cheese, which is used for dipping into the umami goodness of the soup. 

5. French Onion Dip

This is another popular French cuisine; onion dip is made with a base of sour cream and flavored with minced onion, onion powder, garlic powder and served alongside any chip of choice.

You can caramelize the onions before adding them to your dip; this gives the vegetables a great flavor which uplifts the dip mixture.

6. French Onion Tart

French onion tart is typically stuffed tart shell filled with a mixture of caramelized onions, eggs, cream, and gruyere cheese. The tart shell is secured tightly and baked until puffed and brown. 

What are Sweet Onions Used For?

Sweet onions have a lower concentration of sulfur, so it has a prominent sweet taste. If you dislike the strong taste and spiciness of some varieties of onions, then sweet onions may be a good choice.

They can be consumed raw, just like an apple. But sweet onions have a very short shelf life compared to other onions, so they should be used up as soon as possible—and stored in the fridge till they are used.

There are different cooking applications that sweet onions fit well in. Like yellow onions, you can caramelize sweet onions and add them to a stew or sauce.

Here are some ways you can make use of this sweet vegetable.

  • Tomato Salad: Thinly sliced sweet onions can be tossed with tomatoes, basil, and vinaigrette to make a quick and delicious salad.
  • Relish: You can make a relish using sweet onions, and they can be paired with steaks or served as a topping on toasted baguette slices.
  • Onion Jam: Caramelize some sweet onion and take the flavor punch up a notch by adding some vinegar to make onion jam. It goes well with roasted meats, poultry, and grilled fish. 
  • Onion Rings: This is a well-known finger food usually served as an appetizer; it can be made from thick-cut slices of sweet onion battered in a flour mixture and fried until crispy. You can use ketchup as a dipping sauce for onion rings.

See Also: Can You Rehydrate Dehydrated Onions?