The Onion Family: Ways to Enjoy Its Most Popular Members

There are hundreds of onion varieties in the world, and although your local grocery store or farmer’s market won’t carry all of them, there are several basic varieties they do stock. Even then, figuring out which onions you should buy and what to make with them can be overwhelming. Luckily, chef and Supermarket Stakeout host Alex Guarnaschelli has a few ideas.


According to Guarnaschelli, your basic red onion is the best “raw” onion. It’s the one you should reach for if you want to whip up a salad or sandwich or if you’re doing a quick pickle. That’s because it has a milder flavour than other varieties. Yellow onions are the opposite, as they’re the best onions to use if you’re doing long cooking or braising. They have a rich sweetness that comes out over time.

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If you’re looking to whip up some onion rings, Guarnaschelli recommends reaching for a delicate white onion. Or if you’re looking for a basic onion that can do multiple things, Vidalia onions are a great bet—you can enjoy them as-is in any form.

If you’re making a nice dish like a roast chicken, shell out a bit more money for shallots. They’re great for cooking and have a sweet, milder flavour that makes them a chef’s favourite. Scallions are a good choice for dishes like a stir-fry since the white part boasts a deeper onion flavour but the green tops are milder.

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If you’re looking to add some garnish or a delicate onion flavour to a salad dressing, reach for chives. You can either mince them or toss them into a salad whole. Last but not least, if you grab some spring onions, Guarnaschelli recommends either enjoying them as-is or roasting them whole and pairing them with a steak or a nice piece of fish.

To learn more about the different types of onions, watch the video above. Then, wipe your eyes and catch new episodes of Supermarket Stakeout on Thursdays at 9PM ET/PT on Food Network Canada. Also available on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, fuboTV, Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream.