sweet onions

Beyond Sweet Onions: Delicious Substitutes for Your Recipes

If you’re like most people, you’re probably regretting that you didn’t buy more sweet onions when they were on sale last week. Now, what do you do? Do you have to go without your favorite dish, or is there a substitute you can use?

The good news is that there are plenty of substitutes for sweet onions. The bad news is that not all of them will taste exactly the same. It’s up to you to decide which substitute will work best for the dish you’re preparing.

One option is to use an onion with a slightly milder flavor than a sweet onion like Maui onions, Vidalia onions, shallots, or white onions. If you’re looking for something with a more intense flavor, you can try using a red onion, a Bermuda onion, or a Spanish yellow onion.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the best substitutes for sweet onions.

About sweet onion

Sweet onions are a type of onion that is mild in flavor and has a characteristic sweetness. They are usually eaten raw, as they are not as strong as other types of onions.

Sweet onions are thought to have originated in the United States, and they are now commercially grown in Texas, California, Georgia, and Washington. They are available year-round, but their peak season is from late spring to early summer.

Recipes that use sweet onions

If you’re in a bind and can’t find any sweet onions, don’t worry, because there are plenty of substitutes that you can use. Here are a few recipes that will help you get by.

  • French Onion Soup: This classic soup is perfect for chilly days. Substitute the sweet onions with two cups of chopped onion, and add an extra tablespoon of butter to the recipe.
  • Grilled Cheese: A childhood favorite, grilled cheese can be made with either yellow or red onions. Just make sure to chop them up into small pieces so they cook evenly.
  • Quiche: Quiche is a versatile dish that can be made with any type of onion. Just make sure to sauté them first so they soften before adding them to the eggs.
  • Others include Reuben Brats, Teriyaki Glazed Chicken, Bread Skillet, Sweet Onion Creamed Corn, Portobello Fajitas, Sausage spaghetti, Onion Beef au Jus, Beef Piroshki, Cheddar and onion biscuit, Pan-seared Cod, and Thanksgiving Lover’s Pizza, etc.

How to store sweet onions?

When you store sweet onions, it’s important to keep them in a cool, dry place. They should not be refrigerated, as this will cause them to spoil.

7 Best substitutes for sweet onions

Sr. No.Sweet onion substitutesColorFlavorShapeSize range
1Maui onionsWhite to pale yellowMildly sweetFlattenedmedium
2Vidalia onionMild yellowSlightly sweet tasteFlattened, longer, cylindricalLarge
3ShallotsRed to purpleStrong and pungentOval and irregularSmall
4White onionsGoldenSweetRounded with tapered endsSmall
5Red onionsLight pink to deep redSweet but spicyRound and irregularSmall to medium
6Bermuda onionsWhite or yellowMildly sweet tasteFlatLarge
7Spanish yellow onionsYellow to redMild sweetEllipticalLarge


1.    Maui Onions

Maui Onion

Maui onions are a type of sweet onion that is widely grown on the Hawaiian island of Maui. They have a sweet, mild flavor and a slightly chewy texture. They are available year-round and can be found in most grocery stores. It is one of the sweet onion varieties that are also available in the spring season. These onions are rich golden-yellow in color and slightly flattened in shape.

Maui onions are very similar to sweet onions, but they are a bit sweeter and have a slightly more intense flavor. They are also a bit more moisture-rich than sweet onions, so they’re a good choice if you’re looking for a substitution that will add some richness to your dish. The high water content in Maui onion makes it juicy and flavorful. Some people tend to eat raw onions. They taste very good when used in salads, sandwiches, kebabs, sauces, and stuffings.

One thing to keep in mind is that Maui onions are not as widely available as sweet onions, so they may be harder to find in some areas.

2.    Vidalia onions

Vidalia onion

Vidalia onions are a type of sweet onion that originates from Vidalia, Georgia. They’re known for their sweet, mellow flavor and delicate texture. Vidalia onions are also high in Vitamin C and potassium, and they’re available year-round.

Vidalia onions are so versatile in use that you can put them in a variety of dishes like soups, slaws, salads, and tacos. It can be used in baking, cooking, and garnishing as well. If you want to eat a caramelized onion, the Vidalias are ideal because of the higher sugar content they have.

Though Vidalia onions are the most famous type of sweet onion, there are many other substitutes you can use if you’re running low on them. Other types of sweet onions include Walla Walla onions from Washington, Texas Sweets from Texas, and Maui Sweets from Hawaii.

If you can’t find a sweet onion substitute, you can also use a yellow onion. Just be sure to remove the skin before using, as it can be quite bitter. These onions being moisture-rich, have a shorter shelf life. For longer storage, keep it in a cool and dry place like a veggie bin in the refrigerator.

3.    Shallots


Shallots are a type of onion that is often used as a substitute for sweet onions. They have a similar flavor and texture, but are smaller and have a milder taste. Shallots are also a bit more nutritious than sweet onions, as they are higher in Vitamin C and potassium. They are also more widely available than sweet onions, as they can be found at most grocery stores.

Shallots and sweet onions share some similarities, but they do have some key differences. For starters, shallots are smaller than sweet onions and have a milder taste. They are also a bit more nutritious than sweet onions, as they are higher in Vitamin C and potassium. Shallots are also more widely available than sweet onions, as they can be found at most grocery stores.

On the other hand, sweet onions have a more intense flavor than shallots and are larger in size. They are not as nutritious as shallots, but they do contain some beneficial nutrients like antioxidants and flavonoids. Sweet onions are also harder to find than shallots, as they are not typically sold at regular grocery stores.

4.    White Onions

White onions are a versatile substitution for sweet onions. They have a similar flavor and texture but are less sweet and more pungent. They are also slightly less nutritious than sweet onions, but they are more readily available and can be used in a wider variety of dishes.

Overall, white onions are a good substitute for sweet onions when you’re looking for a similar flavor profile but don’t want to compromise on availability or nutrition. However, they are a little bit more potent, so be careful not to use too much in your dishes.

5.    Red Onions

Red Onion

Let’s start with red onions. Red onions are a type of sweet onion, but they have a slightly stronger flavor and a harder texture than regular sweet onions. They’re also a little bit higher in nutritional value, as they contain higher levels of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

Red onions are available all year round and can be found at most grocery stores. They’re very similar to sweet onions in terms of flavor and texture, but some people find that they’re a bit too strong for use as a substitute in recipes that call for sweet onions.

6.    Bermuda Onions

Whole red onions, also called Bombay Onions or Bermuda Onions

Bermuda onions are a type of sweet onion that has a mild flavor and a soft, juicy texture. They’re often used in salads and as a topping for burgers and sandwiches. Their nutritional value is similar to that of sweet onions, and they’re available year-round.

Bermuda onions are slightly smaller than sweet onions, and their skin is a light purple color. They can be used interchangeably in recipes that call for sweet onions, but note that they have a slightly stronger flavor.

7.    Spanish Yellow Onions

Spanish Yellow Onion

Spanish yellow onions are a great substitute for sweet onions. They have a similar sweetness and flavor, but they are slightly stronger in taste. They also have thicker skin and a rougher texture than sweet onions.

Spanish yellow onions are high in Vitamin C and contain some Vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. They are available year-round and can be found at most supermarkets.

Although they are not the same as sweet onions, Spanish yellow onions make a good substitution when you’re out of sweet onions or just want a slightly different flavor.


Now you know about the top best possible alternatives for sweet onion. Try Vidalia onions in the first place because it is the closest among all. Then go to other choices as per the dish requirement, your taste preference, and availability.

sweet onions

7 Best Substitutes for Sweet Onions

Seasonal and Savory
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • Maui onions
  • Vidalia onion
  • Shallots
  • White onions
  • Red onions
  • Bermuda onions
  • Spanish yellow onions


  • From the list of substitutes above, pick your favorite to use in its place.
  • Use your imagination and be creative with these substitute recipes!

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