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May 31, 2011 08:00 AM

Yellow Onion vs Sweet Onion

I am mostly a sweet onion person. Recently I made a jambalaya with two yellow bell peppers and a large sweet onion. The finished dish was delicious, but by the end of a bowl it was overwhelmingly sweet. I used a 14oz can of diced tomatoes and no added sugar so I felt most of the sweetness had come from the onion and the peppers. I have since made this again with a yellow onion and one small red bell pepper. Much better balance of flavors.

I have been using sweet onions almost exlcusively for years. This is the firsat time I've run into a difference like this. What dishes do you make where you purposefully choose a yellow onion over a sweet onion?


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  1. The few times I've tried sweet onions I was disappointed. I find their flavor lacking and overpowered by the onion's sweetness. Whenever I'm cooking anything that needs "onion" I use yellow or white onions, whatever is freshest in the market, but never sweet. I'm sure there are recipes where sweet onion may be appropriate, but most of the time if a recipe doesn't specify a sweet onion, or a red onion, yellow or white (non-sweet) is what should be used.

    1. I also use sweet almost exclusively. I also buy red often if I think sweet isn't the way to go or I plan to eat raw. SO can't eat the really biteyness of yellow or white unless really really well cooked.

      1. I don't find sweet onions to have enough onion-y flavor for my taste. Perhaps they would be good in dishes that aren't cooked, like salads, etc.

        1. The last time I used sweet onions (they were on sale), I stupidly used them in a French Onion soup, and it ruined that soup. I haven't bought them since. Yellow and white are always cheap at my market, and I opt for those, but I actually prefer red onions, and get them when I can. The only dish I can think of where they'd be welcome here is, as funwithfood said, when they can be used raw, most likely as an addition to a spicy dish, or one that has a fair amount of acidity.

          1. Interesting that so far the responses have been about not liking sweet onions not so much about the different uses for each. While I think I'm leaning towards using yellow in savory soups I love sweet in spaghetti sauce.


            1 Reply
            1. re: JuniorBalloon

              Funny, my Italian gma's sauce called for yellow onion.

              I use sweet or red in my French Onion soup though.

              SO is very funny about things being too oniony or garlicky, he likes both but they can't be too bitely.

              Mom just made Ina Garten's onion rings with sweet and they were to die for!