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Spanish onions are a type of yellow onion and are often displayed as “yellow onions” by many supermarkets. That’s the key to substitute: if you don’t see Spanish onions in your market’s allium section, grab yellow onions. A yellow onion is moderately pungent and develops alluring sweetness when cooked—it’s a great all-purpose, go-to onion.
If you can’t get yellow onions, other dry bulb onion options are white and red (shallots will work, but they’re small and so will need more prep). White are used often in Mexican and Southwestern dishes—they’re a little milder than yellow onions, and so nice for using raw.
Red onions come with the advantage of giving you a hit of color. Their flavor ranges from mild to pungent, and they’re particularly good for eating raw in salads, grilling in slices, and pickling.
If all you need is a little onion flavor in a cooked or raw dish, ramps and leeks will work in a pinch.
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