Out of the colored onion varieties to choose from, yellow onions are the most popular variety in stores and markets. But your choice doesn’t stop there.
Each variety of yellow onions is different in size, growing seasons, storage life, and preparation methods. However, whichever yellow bulb you buy or plant, it’ll complement many recipes, letting you experiment in the kitchen.
Read on to learn about a few popular varieties of yellow onions and where you can purchase the seeds or sets!
Characteristics of Yellow Onions
Yellow onions are generally round with yellow or brown dry, papery skin, giving them their alternate name brown onions.
Their flesh is white, light-yellow, or cream-colored, and their texture ranges from crisp to firm to juicy. Compared to other onions, and depending on the type, this colored variety has a longer storage life. They also have a good amount of fiber and vitamin C.
These bulbs are pungent when raw due to their sulfur content, but when they’re cooked, they’re sweet and mellow. If you want to caramelize onions, yellow onions are the best choice! They’ll even cook for a long time without becoming mushy thanks to their high starch content.
Yellow onions are best fried, grilled, roasted, sautéed, braised, or caramelized for meals or as side dishes. Whole or sliced, these all-purpose onions are useful for recipes with unspecified onions. These include meats, sauces, curries, and soups, especially French onion soup.
Yellow Stuttgarter Onion: A Popular Culinary Bulb
First on our yellow onions list is the yellow Stuttgarter onion. This versatile bulb is 3–7 inches in diameter and has a white to yellow crisp flesh with reddish brown firm but easy-to-peel skin. It’s a long-day onion, meaning its planting time is in the spring, followed by a mid-summer harvest.
After 80–100 days of growing, it reaches a mature height of 8-10 inches, foliage included. The yellow Stuttgarter has a spicy flavor when raw but becomes mellow and sweet when cooked. This makes it one of the most delicious yellow onions when prepared and added to recipes.
Yellow Stuttgarters can last for several months in cool, ventilated storage. They’re best when sautéed and make great pizza toppings. For a more scrumptious flavor, add them to your burgers, steaks, salads, and other recipes that call for onions!
On a side note, yellow Stuttgarters are also counted as green onions if you plant them in the fall.
Candy Onion: A Widely Adaptable Variety
The golden brown candy onion is a year-round variety that grows well in most regions. It’s globe-shaped but slightly flattened and has a small neck. The bulb has a firm, crisp texture and tastes sweet but subtly sharp when raw and mild and mellow when cooked.
The candy onion is about 3–6 inches in diameter and reaches around 12–18 inches in height. This includes the length of the onion’s dark green and fleshy leaves. It has a robust root system and matures in 85–100 days, and its storage life lasts for 1–3 months.
It’s an intermediate-day (or neutral-day) onion, so this variety is best planted in the late winter for an early summer harvest. This yellow onion is susceptible to root rot and mildew. You can prevent these diseases by spraying an organic fungicide, rotating the crops, and not overwatering.
These onions are best fried or roasted with fish, beef, and poultry. Try slicing or chopping them for sandwiches, pastas, and salads; sautéing them with other vegetables; or adding them to soups and curries.
Yellow Cipollini Onion: The Sweet Yellow Onion
Cipollini means little onion in Italian, which fits because this slightly flat onion is 3–4 inches in diameter. Besides there being a yellow onion of this variety, there are also red and white varieties of Cipollini onions.
The yellow Cipollini’s flesh is light-yellow to mostly white with a sweet and mild flavor. Unlike other yellow onions, this variety contains more residual sugar, influencing the taste. Though the pale yellow to light-brown skin is thin and papery, it’s hard to remove unless you boil this onion.
This long-day variety grows best in northern climates, taking 100 days to mature, and it’s resistant to pink root rot. Though it stores for only 2–3 months, it’s high in fiber, making it a healthy choice for recipes calling for onions.
Because yellow Cipollinis are small and slightly flat, roasting them whole or cooking them in butter results in a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Caramelizing them is another mouthwatering option, as is making them into tarts, potato salads, soups, and sauces.
Patterson Onion: Bulb with a Long Storage Life
From Walla Walla, Washington since the late 1800s comes the Patterson onion. Of all the yellow onions, this bulb offers you 9–12 months of storage life! With high yields of bulbs, you’d get plenty of time to decide how you’ll prepare them.
The Patterson onion is a long-day variety and grows well in the northeast or northern Midwest. This blocky, globe-shaped bulb is medium-large with a diameter of 3½–4 inches. Its layered skin ranges from straw-colored to golden; its flesh is yellow, and it has a small neck that dries quickly.
It takes 104 days for the rot-resistant Patterson onion to mature. Unlike other varieties, this onion contains less sulfur, and its taste ranges from mild and sweet to strongly pungent.
Raw Patterson onions are perfect for salsa and burgers. For the latter meal, substitute French fries with these yellow onions by cooking them into onion rings! When caramelized, add this onion to stews and soups, especially French onion soup.
Cortland Onion: An Onion for Beginner Growers
The Cortland onion was developed from the Copra and Prince onions. Start with this hard and blocky-round hybrid if you’re about to grow yellow onions for the first time!
This white-fleshed yellow onion is 3–5 inches in diameter with a thin, well-drying neck and a mild flavor. Its rich, thick, copper-brown skin allows for 9 months of storage if you keep the temperature at 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can plant this onion as either a long-day or intermediate-day bulb. Its high resistance to fusarium basal rot and pink root rot adds some ease to your yellow onion care.
It takes the Cortland onion 105–115 days to mature after planting. After harvesting, eat the bulb fresh, caramelize it, or add it to casseroles.
Yellow Sweet Spanish Utah Onion: A Heavy-Producing Bulb
Utah’s state vegetable, the sweet Spanish Utah onion, is a globe-shaped heirloom intermediate-day to long-day variety. Gardeners have enjoyed heavy yields of these jumbo-sized bulbs since they were first grown in 1916.
The crisp white flesh is firm with a mild and sweet flavor, and the skin is shiny golden or straw-brown. It’s 3–6 inches in diameter and weighs up to 2 pounds.
Grown best in western states besides Utah, the sweet Spanish onion is cold-tolerant. When growing this cultivar, apply Neem Oil if you see thrips or aphids. It’s moderately tolerant of pink root, but it’s susceptible to fungal blight, so apply a fungicide for control and prevention.
This yellow onion takes about 115 days to mature and stores for up to 6 months after harvesting. You may eat these yellow onions raw (whole or sliced) or grill, bake, fry, or sauté them. They’re also best added to your sandwiches, chili, or stews.
Wrapping up Yellow Onions
With these example yellow onion varieties, you’ll be adding more flavor to most of your meals. Though there are many choices of yellow onions, it’s an amazing opportunity to explore more planting and culinary options.
Visit our Onions page to learn about more varieties and other ways you can use them after growing or buying them!