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Jul 31, 2012 09:04 AM

Yellow versus White Onions

Bought groceries this morning and noticed that yellow onions were over twice as expensive as white onions. What gives? Are yellow onions so clearly superior? Or is the disparity likely due to some odd supply-and-demand quirk?

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  1. Supply and demand, but there's nothing odd about that. There are many varieties of onion, and price will vary with season and type of onion. There are several types of yellow onion, and some are produced in smaller quantities or in a shorter season, so are more expensive.

    I think of a white onion as a different product than a yellow onion, so the price comparison is not relevant anyway.

    4 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      Quite right. Yellow onions are more onion-y than whites, which I only buy when for some reason I can't get the yellows. And then there are red onions...

      1. re: John Francis

        But yellow, white and red all belong to the onion family, correct?

        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          Sure, and we all belong to the family of man, but we don't all taste the same. :-)

          1. re: John Francis

            Having spent precious little time in Borneo (or San Francisco), I'll have to take your word on that. ;)

    2. Belay this. Just looked at the receipt and the white onions were discounted 50 percent. Without the discount there is virutally no price difference, which, as I recall, is much more typical.

      1. I started using white onions a few years ago when I was cooking a lot of Mexican food. Now, it is my standard onion unless I am making stock where I want the yellow color from the onion skin. White onions are half the price of yellow ones here, at least they were when I bought them yesterday. I find the white so versatile, great for standard uses and wonderful in salads because they don't have that slightly bitter/acrid taste that I notice with other onions.

        1. I find this sort of thing oscillates hugely over time and from one location to another.

          It's probably just a local, temporary case of supply-and-demand.

          1. I don't believe any one onion is superior to another. It all depends on your personal taste & what you're using them for.

            Unless they're specifically asked for in a recipe, I only use white onions in salsa & a number of Mexican dishes where they're specified.

            For regular cooking, I use regular yellow onions &/or sometimes yellow sweets - like Vidalia or Walla Walla, Texas Sweet, etc., etc.

            For raw eating, like on burgers & other sandwiches, I really like reds or yellow sweets, although the reds sometimes make their way into cooked Mediterranean dishes.

            As far as prices, I think it's simply a matter of the same situations that haunt most produce - supply/demand, weather & crop fluctuations, sources/vendors, & shipping costs.