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"one small onion" measurement equivalent?

I have been wondering if I am putting WAY too much onion in recipes that call for "one small onion." Perhaps because the onions here are relatively large?! Do you know roughly how much this is supposed to equate to? Maybe a half cup? Thanks in advance.

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  1. I would think 1/2 to 2/3 cup. If the recipe's that vague, it shouldn't make much difference.

    1. And always remember the international slogan: One can NEVER have too much chopped onion. What? NEVER? No, Never! What, Never? Wellllll, hardly ever.

      With abject apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan.

      1. About a half cup is right, according to http://whatscookingamerica.net/onion.htm

        1 large onion = 1 cup chopped
        1 medium onion = 3/4 cup chopped
        1 small onion must = about 1/2 cup chopped

        But I'd say start with the smaller amount, and add more to your taste.

        1. In the wake of supersized onions, I have come to picture a small onion as around the size of an egg.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Ernie Diamond

            wow, for me a small onion is bigger than that; I never see an onion that small I guess. But then again, I also fall into the camp of "there's no such thing as too much onion (or garlic)". I've been trying to think of a round object the size of my visual "small onion"; how about a lacrosse/juggling ball?

            1. re: DGresh

              I picture something the size of a raquetball.

              1. re: ESNY

                Yep, that was my first thought... they don't bounce nearly as well though!! ;-)

              2. re: DGresh

                Well, it really comes from working backwards. Pick out the largest onion you can find at the grocery store. At times, you can find them as large as a grapefruit. Use that in a recipe calling for one large onion and I guarantee, you'll be swimming in the stuff.

                As a visual, I use;
                Small=egg sized
                Medium=apple sized
                Large=orange sized

                It's just a rough guide I like. As much as I like onion, I find that with the apparent larger standard size, a little onion seems to go a lot further in recipes today.

            2. You know, this is something that has driven me nuts for a long time. Just saying a small onion, cloves of garlic and other vague measurements is just bad. I guess it is the baker in me that wants some precision.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Candy

                That's funny! I gues it is the non baker in me who never noticed before! As a matter of fact, I don't think I have ever measured an onion when using in a recipe. BUT- I am not as comfortable baking, so if the recipe calls for one cup of blueberries, I measure them.

                1. re: Candy

                  As far as garlic goes, as the cloves get smaller they also get stronger. So 1 clove is 1 clove regardless of size. However, the large ones are easier to work with.

                2. There is no such thing as "too much onion", to my taste. To my wife's taste, there is no need for any onion, ever.

                  And when a recipe phrases it like that ("one small onion") you know they're going for a general idea depending somewhat on your taste.

                  1. According to Rick Bayless:

                    Large = 8 ounces
                    Medium = 6 ounces
                    Small = 4 ounces