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What Variety Of Onions Are Sweet?

Onions are popular vegetables used worldwide in the preparation of several dishes.

They are so versatile and can be used in so many exciting ways; they could be boiled, fried, sautéed and they can also be eaten raw as in sandwiches, or they could be used to produce fun recipes like onion rings.

Onions are grown for their highly nutritious bulbs which are rich in numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

While most varieties of onions are known for their sharp flavors, some varieties stand out due to their exceptionally sweet taste.

Their taste can be attributed to their lower sulphur content, their glucose as well as water content which is higher when compared to other varieties of onions.

These varieties of sweeter tasting onions are known as called sweet onions. So what varieties of onions are sweet onions?

Sweet onions include varieties of onions with lesser sulphur that the others. Examples include Vidalia onions, maui, walla walla and texas sweets. They all have a sweet taste which allows them to be eaten raw or used in salads

Sweet Onion Varieties

1. Vidalia onions

Vidalia onions are one of the sweet varieties of onions they are characterized by their unusual sweetness. They are grown in the state of Georgia U.S.A.

Vidalia onions are unlike other onion varieties with a sharp taste and this is due their low sulphur content from their soil in which they are grown

These onions are used in salad as well as other recipes, and because of their sweet taste or often eaten raw. They are also juicy due to the high water content.

They are slightly flat shape and not round like other onion varieties

2. Maui onions

These are a variety of sweet onion from Hawaii. They have a high moisture content, and are often eaten raw. They are small sized onions that are flattened in shape and just like other sweet onion varieties, they lack the pungent taste of other types of onions.

3. Walla Walla

They are another variety of sweet onions that is grown in Washington.

4. Texas sweets

Like the others, this variety of sweet onions have a sweet taste and gives meals a wonderful flavor, they are grown in Texas.

Other types of onion

There are so many other types of onions which are also used for cooking. They share some characteristics but are quite different when qualities such as their color or taste are considered. For any recipe that requires onion, you have to know the type of onion to get it right.

1. Yellow onions

These onions are most commonly used of the onion variety. They can be easily found in grocery store and in so many recipes where onions are required.

These onions have a yellow or brown colour and a sharp taste. They include varieties such as the Spanish onions which are a type of yellow onions known for their mild tast  because they are grown in soil with a lesser sulphur content.

These onions are known to be very versatile and are used in cooking and caramelizing.

2. Red onions

Red onions stand out because of their red or purplish colour. They can be found in grocery stores; they have a mild flavour and can be used for several recipes.

3. White onions

White onions are known to have a sharp and pungent flavour but less than yellow onions, and their skin papery, however they are perfect for a lot of recipes and they come out very nice  

4. Shallots

They are small and have an elongated shape. Shallots look very much like a smaller type of red onions. However, these particular types of onions share a lot of characteristics with garlic.

When their outer layer is removed, it doesn’t lead to concentrically arranged layers like the onion; rather the inner layer is organized into separate cloves which are very much like the inner layer of garlic.

Shallots also have a mild taste which can be similar to garlic but mild

5. Leeks

Leeks do not have a bulb, instead they are made up of concentrically arranged layers of leaves which are produced by a process known as trenching. They do not have the sharp flavour as some other onion varieties but have a mild flavour.

6. Green onions

These onions are also known as scallions. They are onions harvested before they become fully mature. Due to this reason, the bulbs of the green onions are not fully developed, hence small or sometimes inconspicuous

When compared to the other onion types they have a mild taste, hence this makes them perfect to use for certain recipes.

Sweet onions Vs. Yellow onions

Sweet onions contain more water and has lesser sulphur compared to other onion variety including yellow onion, the reduced sulphur content in sweet onion lessens the sharp taste than is usually attributed to other types of onions, however Sweet onions have shorter shelf life due to their higher water content.

Sweet onions are often somewhere between white and yellow in color.

Yellow onions are known for their popularity, and they have a sharper taste when compared to other onion variety because of their high sulphur content. Most recipes you may come across might require yellow you to use yellow onions as they are the most commonly used for cooking

Apart from being far sweeter and less pungent compared to the yellow onions. You can also tell sweet onions apart from yellow onions by their shape. Sweet onions are flat compared to the yellow onions which are more globular in shape.  

About substituting yellow onions for sweet onions, it depends, some recipes might allow for sweet onions to be substituted by yellow onion.


  • Sweet onions are known for their sweet taste unlike other onion varieties that tend to have a sharper taste.
  • Their sweetness is a result of their low sulphur content as well as their high water content that they have.
  • They include varieties such as the Vidalia onions, Maui, Walla Walla and Texas sweets.
  • They appear flattened in shaped and could be yellow or white in colour.
  • Due to their high water content they also tend to have a short shelf life compared to other types of onions and they also tend to get spoilt quickly.