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Alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, scallions) are a staple in every home cook’s kitchen. Whether they’re tucked into a quiche or caramelized and folded into mac and cheese, onions add immense flavor to any dish. Choosing the right one for whatever you’re cooking will help you achieve the best (and most delicious) results. Here’s a simple guide to understanding what each type of onion has to offer.
If a recipe doesn’t specify what type of onion to use, your safest bet is a yellow onion. “Yellow onions are your standard cooking onion. I always reach for a yellow onion unless I have some other reason to reach for something else,” says Kim Reddin, the director of public and industry relations for the National Onion Association. “The yellows hold up extremely well over that process of caramelizing because it is a long, slow heat.” Try our simple technique to caramelize onions.