Seasonal Differences of Onions
Yes. Onions are seasonal! Based on when they are harvested, onions grown in the U.S. can be divided into two categories. Read about the Seasons, Colors, Flavors, and Sizes of Onions…
Spring/Summer Onion Traits
- Available in yellow, red, and white from March through August
- Can be identified by their thin, lighter-colored skin
- Typically higher in water content, which reduces their shelf-life and makes them more susceptible to bruising
- Range in flavor from sweet to mild
- Best to use in salads, sandwiches, and fresh, lightly-cooked or grilled dishes
- Many specialty sweet onions are part of this category and are sold under a specific trade name or label
- Note: Some domestic and all imported onions with these traits are offered other times of the year.
Fall/Winter Onion Traits
- Available August through May in yellow, red, and white
- Easy to recognize by their multiple layers of thick, darker colored skin
- Commonly lower in water content, they have a longer shelf-life
- Range in flavor from mild to pungent
- Best for savory dishes that require longer cooking times or more flavor
Colors of Onions
Bulb onions can be yellow, red, or white. Approximately 87 percent of the crop is devoted to yellow onion production, with about eight percent red onions, and five percent white onions.
Yellow Onions are full-flavored and are a reliable standby for cooking almost anything. Yellow onions turn a rich, dark brown when cooked and give French Onion Soup its tangy sweet flavor.
Red Onions, with their wonderful color, are a good choice for lots of fresh uses or for grilling, charbroiling, and roasting.
White Onions are often used in prepared salads, white sauces, and is the traditional onion for classic Mexican cuisine. They have a golden color and sweet flavor when sautéed.
Onion Color, Flavor, Usage Guide
This chart was created to serve as a guide for helping you choose what kind of onion to use in a recipe. Feel free to let your own tastes, preferences, and creativity along with this chart guide you to your own decision. The most important thing to remember is “bring on the onions” and enjoy!