The 6 Best Spanish Onion Substitutes in Cooking

Spanish onions are delicious in both cooked and raw recipes. They are often used in raw vegetable dishes, side dishes, and garnishes. This onion’s green variant as well as its bulbs may be eaten.

Keep in mind that the longer you boil Spanish onions, the more crisp they will lose. Aside from eating them raw, it is best to include them into lightly grilled and sautéed recipes. They may also be used in cold dips or crushed and mixed into hot soups.

The following are the finest Spanish onion substitutes:

  1. Sweet Onions
  2. Walla Walla Onions
  3. Vidalia Onions
  4. Yellow Onions
  5. White Onions
  6. Red Onions

How can you keep the sweetness and crispness of Spanish onions while using substitutes, and how do they vary from one another?

6 Best Spanish Onion Substitute 

When you believed all onions were the same, you’d stumble across a recipe that called for Spanish onion. To begin with, there are several varieties of onions.

Still, when it comes to Spanish onion alternatives, skip the green onion, shallots, and leeks for the time being and concentrate on sweeter onions.

Before we begin, it is important to note that the leek is not technically an onion, but since it is an allium, it has an onion-like taste. It tastes like an onion, but it’s not overbearing.

Returning to Spanish onions, they have the aroma and appearance of white or yellow onions. However, they have a sweet flavor, which is why they are often eaten raw. They are also crispy due to the high water content. They have a lesser aromatic impact than regular onions, but they are distinguished by their sweeter taste.

Unlike normal onions, Spanish onions are cultivated in low soil, which increases the starchy content of the bulbs. The normal pungent taste of ordinary onions, on the other hand, becomes less prominent. However, it retains the typical scent of ordinary onions, although in a weaker form.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Spanish onion and yellow onion are not the same thing. However, many supermarkets use yellow onion instead of Spanish onion on labels and tags, which contributes to the misunderstanding.

On a brighter side, you may follow the hint and choose a yellow onion if you need a Spanish onion but can’t find one. What’s the fuss with Spanish onions, and why do recipes even specify which sort of onion to use?

With so much previously stated about Spanish onions, this post will focus on the finest replacements for when you can’t get them. Continue reading!

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Sweet Onions


They have thinner skin and a bigger appearance than many other types of onions. They are sweeter than yellow onions and, because of their sweetness, some may be eaten like apples. Sweet onions come in a variety of kinds, including Maui, Texas, Walla Walla, and Vidalia.

Sweet onions are less pungent than yellow onions and taste sweeter. They also deteriorate quicker than regular onions and must be kept refrigerated. Sweet onions create delicious onion rings that may be thrown into salads, roasted, or added to sandwiches.

These onions may also be gently grilled with olive oil and spices. They don’t have the scent of yellow onions, and they break down rapidly, so they can’t be heated for long.

Sweet onions are excellent alternatives for Spanish onions in many cuisines since they taste similar but are more crisp when bitten. They also hold their shape better when cooked, but do not cook them for too long.

It is OK to follow the 1:1 ratio while performing the swap.

Walla Walla Onions

This is one of the numerous types of sweet onions, and they are a great substitute for Spanish onions. They taste almost identical, but this onion retains more moisture.

However, they do not keep their shape well when cooked for an extended period of time, making them more suitable for raw foods. This onion’s sweetness may be used to make dips and sauces.

Walla Walla onions taste more like typical sweet onions, but they nevertheless make good alternatives for Spanish onions. When doing so, it is advised that you use a 1:1 ratio. Walla Walla will enhance the flavor of foods such as casseroles, tortillas, and rice.

Vidalia Onions


This is another sweet onion cultivar with the same scent as Spanish onions but thicker skin.Vidaliais a popular variety, which is why many people think of it when they think of sweet onions.

Despite being sweeter than Spanish onions, you may substitute them in a 1:1 ratio. They will complement a variety of cuisines, including cold and raw foods.

Yellow Onions

Yellow onions are the gold standard of onions. They are ubiquitous and among the most affordable of their type. When a recipe asks for an onion, many people naturally think of yellow onions.

These onions have a strong and deep taste and are reputed to be tough. They are pungent because they contain more sulfur than other onion kinds. This is why they might be tough to eat raw, and they are also the kind that causes you to cry while cutting.

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Yellow onions, on the other hand, have a lengthy shelf life even when stored at ambient temperature. They are delicious in anything sautéed as well as recipes that simmer for a long time on low heat, including as stews, sauces, risotto, stocks, and French onion soup.

Yellow onions, on the other hand, may not be the greatest choice for preparing fresh meals that do not need cooking. Despite having a stronger taste than Spanish onions, it is diminished, and when stir-fried or sautéed, yellow onions become sweet.

As a result, this onion type is an excellent alternative for sauces, cooked soups, and caramelizing foods. You may also cook or grill them ahead of time before adding them to salads and tacos.

White Onions/Pearl Onions

They are the least frequent of the major onion varieties. You may prepare them in the same way you would yellow onions. They have a cleaner, crisper taste than yellow onions.

They are delicious whether cooked or uncooked. They have a shorter shelf life than yellow onions, but they do not need to be refrigerated.

White onions are tasty in potato salads, chili, salads, pasta salads, white sauces, and a variety of Mexican cuisines. They are a flexible alternative for Spanish onions. However, they have a stronger taste that will not be overpowering when cooked.

When substituting, you may stick to the 1:1 ratio, but the sweetness will be muted. If you like a sweeter flavor, try using baby onions, often known as pearl onions.

White onions keep their form better when cooked, making them suitable for use in warm meals, a variety of side dish recipes, caramelized onions, and onion rings.

You can fry, grill, or prepare them in ways that regular Spanish onions cannot.

Red Onions

Red or purple onions are pungent and fragrant, and they are accessible throughout the majority of the year. It’s preferable to purchase them in the summer, when the available red onions are gentler and less sweet than regular onions like white or yellow.

Raw red onions taste better than cooked red onions. If you find the taste too strong, soak them in water for up to an hour before using. They go well with salsa, pickles, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.

You only need to decide which salads will have red onions. They have a strong fragrant taste that may overpower the other elements in the recipe.

However, they may be used as a replacement for Spanish onions as a garnish for tortillas and hot dogs. When making the switch, make sure you don’t mind the strong onion taste of red onions.

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Because they have a stronger taste than Spanish onions, it is advisable to use half the quantity when substituting red onions.

Substitute For Spanish Onion Related FAQs

What is the main difference between a regular onion and a Spanish onion?

Spanish onions are sweeter and have a longer shelf life than conventional white, yellow, or red onions. They are the size of a softball and have white or yellow skin with a fine texture. Because of their mild and unexpectedly sweet taste, they are often eaten uncooked.

Spanish onions are versatile and may be used in a variety of cuisines. They do not, however, keep well. While they have a similar appearance to yellow onions, they are not the same.

What are the differences between yellow onions and Spanish onions?

Yellow onions are more prevalent and are referred to as normal onions. They have a longer shelf life but a stronger taste, making them more suited to prepared foods than fresh dishes.

Many home gardeners like growing Spanish onions because they are simple to care for and yield a large number of fruits. Despite having a similar appearance to yellow onions, Spanish onions may grow bigger than typical.

Onions are known by several names depending on their variety, however they may usually be replaced for one another. Only the cooking time or quantity utilized must be adjusted based on the flavor or how they respond to heat.

When you go shopping, be sure to get fresh onions. Check for sorts that feel substantial and hefty in your hands.

Avoid onions that have a strong onion odor even before peeling and those that are too soft to touch. They are among the most typical signs that onions have gone bad.

Can I use sweet onion as a substitute for Spanish onion?

Yes, without a doubt. Sweet onion may be used as a replacement, particularly if you want the sweet taste that the Spanish onion can provide to any meal.

Sweet onions and white onions may be used to get this level of sweetness. To reduce the intensity of the taste, caramelize or lightly sauté the onions before adding them to the meal.

What is the closest onion variety to a Spanish onion?

Walla Walla onions, a kind of sweet onion, have more moisture in the flesh and taste almost identical to Spanish onions. They may be added raw to recipes, but they also taste nice when gently cooked.


What is a good substitute for a Spanish onion?

What Can I Use in Place of Spanish Onion? If you can’t find yellow onions, alternative dry bulb onion possibilities include white and red (shallots would also work, but they’re smaller and need more preparation). White onions are often used in Mexican and Southwestern recipes because they are gentler than yellow onions and may be eaten uncooked.

What are the 6 types of onions?

The Six Basic Onion Types
YELLOW ONION: The best all-purpose cooking onion.
SWEET ONIONS: This is the best frying onion.
White onions make the best salsa onions.
SHALLOTS: Onion with the Best Vinaigrette.
GREEN ONION: The best stir-fried onion.
LEEKS: The Best Onion Soup.

Can I substitute sweet onion for Spanish onion?

As a result, they are suitable for both raw and cooked recipes. These are also excellent for caramelizing onions. Their sweet flavor is enhanced when cooked in this manner. When cooking onion rings, replace sweet onions for Spanish onions.

What is the best substitute for onion for cooking?

What is the finest onion substitute? Shallots! Shallots are a kind of tiny onion that has a delicate, mild taste. As a substitution, the taste works quite well.

Are Spanish onions just yellow onions?

Spanish onions are really a variety of yellow onion with a somewhat more delicate taste.

What is the difference between a sweet onion and a Spanish onion?

Yellow onions have a taste that is both astringent and sweet, getting sweeter as they cook. They are typically fist-sized, with a strong outer skin and fleshy layers. Spanish onions are a kind of yellow onion that is somewhat sweeter and has a more delicate taste.

What’s the difference between a shallot and an onion?

What is the difference between a shallot and, say, a yellow onion? Shallots have a delicate, sweet taste with a trace of sharpness, while onions have a stronger heat. You can use shallots in almost any recipe that calls for onions; just make sure you use the same amount.

What are the 5 onion family?

Allium vegetables, which are members of the onion family, are an essential element of our nutrition. They contain shallots, garlic, leeks, and chives in addition to normal and spring onions. The Latin term for garlic is allium.

What are the 5 types of onions?

Onions in yellow. Yellow onions are the most often used culinary onions.
Onions in red. Red onions are light and sweet enough to consume raw.
Onions in white. White onions have a white papery exterior and a mild taste, making them ideal for salads and sandwiches.
Onion with a sweet taste.

What onions do Mexican restaurants use?

Although white onions are more typically used in Mexican cooking, yellow onions work just as well in a pinch. White onions are more aromatic and sharper than yellow onions. Some people are put off by this, but it works well in most Mexican meals, so don’t be frightened!

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