Best Onion for Spaghetti Sauce

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Best Onion for Spaghetti Sauce

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If anyone ever told you that onions are the best part of your meal, they didn’t lie.

For dishes like spaghetti sauce, whose recipes require onions, you’ll notice that the onions often add a flavorful, spicy, and earthy tone to the meal.

You often come across spaghetti sauce recipes that don’t specify what type of onions is best for the spaghetti sauce. Then, you’re left wondering.

Unknown to many, all species of onion have different effects on various meals. They do not taste identical, even if used to cook the same meals.

This article will help you pick the best type of onion for spaghetti sauce.

Best onion for spaghetti sauce

The commonly used and best onion for spaghetti sauce is the yellow onion.

Yellow onions are usually with a dry brown/golden peel. Yellow onions are thin-layered, with off-white or yellow flesh.

Yellow onions have a strong spicy flavor when raw, but their high sugar content tastes sweet when cooked. They work well as a flavor base, making yellow onions the best for spaghetti sauce, soups and stews.

Although yellow onions are the Beyonce of onions in spaghetti sauce, other types of onions are excellent for spaghetti sauce. Here’s a detailed list in no particular order.

Sweet onions

As the name suggests, sweet onions are sweet tasting. We recommend sweet onions as a category of onion for spaghetti sauce because they are mildly spicy compared to yellow onions. Although sweet onions have thinner peels, they are often larger than their yellow counterparts. Sweet onions also work well in salads, roasted vegetables, onion rings, and gratins.


Shallots may not be the best onion for spaghetti sauce, but they belong on this list. With their flavor closely mimicking garlic and red onions, shallot offers a sweet yet sharp and intense tone to your spaghetti sauce. Asides from spaghetti sauce, you can add shallots to a lemon vinaigrette, egg-based dishes, and dressings.

Red or Purple Onions

Red onions are the best for spaghetti sauce if you like a bit of color and a sharp flavor. Red onions are often less spicy during the summer but have a more intense flavor during other times.

Best Onion for Spaghetti Sauce

Furthermore, red onions taste fabulous when added to burgers, salads, guacamole, sandwiches, and salsas.

Spring onions

Best Onion for Spaghetti Sauce

Many do not consider spring onions as good as other types of onions, but they are one of the best onions for spaghetti sauce.

Also known as green onions and scallions, spring onions are yellow onions harvested before ripening. So, they often add a mild flavor to dishes.

Spring onions do well in dishes like stir-fries, salad dressing, and marinades.

White onions

Best Onion for Spaghetti Sauce

The most uncommon and unusual species of onion for spaghetti sauce is white onions. It’s not easy to find some bulbs of white onions at the supermarket, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely unavailable. White onions have an overly crunchy texture that stems from high moisture content. Their super sharp flavor will add a well-needed zest to any spaghetti sauce.

Although white onions are known in Mexican cuisine, they are also suitable for pasta salads, white sauces, potato salads, and chili.

Is yellow or white onion better for spaghetti sauce?

Yellow onions are the best onions for spaghetti sauce. Their sweet taste makes the perfect flavor base for spaghetti sauce.

However, if yellow onions aren’t available for your spaghetti sauce, you can replace them with white onions. White onions have a crunchy, juicy feel and a spicy flavor that may not wholly replicate the flavor of yellow onions, but they work just fine.

Can you substitute red onion for yellow onion in spaghetti sauce?

Yes, you can substitute red onions for yellow onions in spaghetti sauce.

Although we pointed out earlier that yellow onions are the best for spaghetti sauce, red onions are an excellent flavor substitute for yellow onions.

Even though the flavor profiles of yellow and red onions are slightly different, with red onions spicier, you can always use one instead of the other.

However, red onions are best used in salads, burgers, guacamole, sandwiches, and salsas. In contrast, yellow onions are best used in French onion soup, French onion dip, roasted onions, French onion tart, stews, and caramelized onions.

How do you cut onions for spaghetti sauce?

You’ll need

  1. Chopping board
  2. Sharp knife
  3. Onions


  1. Place the onion on the chopping board, cut off the non-root end of the onion, and peel off the skin/peel with your fingers.
  2. After peeling the skin, cut the onions into two halves, place each half on the chopping board, make long vertical slices through the onions, and then make horizontal slices through the onions to achieve perfect square chopped pieces. Do this for the other half of the onion. (The wider the slices, the larger the pieces of onions).
  3. Do not cut off the root end of the onion from each half until you have done steps 1 and 2.

What onion is used in Italian food?

Cippolini onions. Cippolini onions are traditional Italian onions used in Italian food.

Cippolini onions often have a flat-rounded shape, with a greenish-yellow or golden brown hue.

Cippolini onions have a reputation for being juicy and sweet-flavored. In addition, they have a milder yet sweeter flavor than yellow onions.

Cippolini onions go well in vegetable-based meals, casseroles, meats, stews, and soups.

What onion is best for Italian cooking?

Cippolini onion, red onion, white onion, and yellow onion are commonly used for cooking Italian food.

Although it is gaining traction in the US, the cippolini onion is a conventional Italian onion used mainly in Italian dishes. For example, cippolini onion is used as toppings on pizza and even in pasta sauce.

While the yellow onion is best used in Italian sauces, soups, rice-based meals, and stews, red onion is used for uncooked dishes like garnishes or salads. On the other hand, the white onion shines best in dishes like pasta salad, potato salad, French onion soup, Mexican and Asian style cuisines, etc.

What kind of onion goes in bolognese?

Yellow onions.

Yellow onions are traditionally used when making bolognese. The sweet flavor of yellow onions works best for flavor-packed meals like bolognese.

Still, because the sweet flavor of red onions easily mimics the flavor of yellow onions when cooked, red onions can replace yellow onions in your bolognese recipe.  

If you have neither yellow nor red onions, white onions work fine.

Why do chefs use shallots instead of onions?

Many chefs prefer shallots to regular yellow onions or other types of onions because:

  • Shallots have a distinct sweet flavor that can be described as a mixture of garlic and onions.
  • The flavor of shallots is milder than other types of onions.
  • The aromatic nature of shallots adds extra depth and flavor to whatever meal it is added to.

Gourmet chefs use shallots for meals such as raw oil salads, salad dressings, custards, and quiches.

An excellent substitute for shallots is scallions, a.k.a spring onions. Their mild-tasting flavor and bright green hue make them a delicious and colorful alternative to shallots.

Why shouldn’t you cook garlic and onions together?

It would be best if you did not cook garlic and onions together because:

  • Garlic is often cut into smaller pieces than onions. The smaller the surface area, the quicker it cooks.
  • Garlic contains less moisture than onions, so it dries up and browns relatively faster than onions.

It’s a culinary rule of thumb to sauté aromatics before adding garlic.

If you have to sauté garlic and onions at the same time, mince both of them before cooking on low heat. If not, sauté the onions first and add the garlic later.  

Which onion has the strongest flavor?

White onions.

White onions are believed to be the most sharp-tasting of all onions.

When eaten raw, white onions are aromatic and spicy, but once cooked, the spiciness of white onions mellows.

The intense flavor of white onions works for meals like pasta salads, Mexican dishes, Asian dishes, chili, French onion soup, potato salad, potato-based dishes, or meals that require a sweet and savory tone.


Onion / spaghetti sauce

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