Cipollini Onions Substitute

Cipollini Onions (pronounced chip-oh-lee-ni) are a member of the Allium family of vegetables. They are a type of wild onion that is used in numerous recipes. If you are looking for an ideal cipollini onion substitute, then read on to find the best alternatives for any dish.

What Are Cipollini Onions?

Cipollini Onions

Cipollini Onions are an onion of Italian origin. As with most onions, they are aromatic. However, they are known to be slightly sweeter and milder than regular onions. They have small, round, and somewhat flat bulbs ranging in color from yellow to golden brown.

They taste similar to shallots but are much sweeter, which makes them well-suited to soups, stews, and assorted sauces.

Substitutes For Cipollini Onions

You can make several good substitutions for the cipollini onion in any situation. Check out some of the alternative options below.

SubstituteTasteGood For
Vidalia OnionSweetSalads, garnishes
ShallotSlightly sweet, subtleSlow-cooking, one-pot recipes
Pearl OnionSavory, sweetBraising, slow-cooking, relishes, pickling

1. Vidalia Onions

Vidalia Onions are famously sweet onions with large round bulbs. These onions are best used as a substitution for cipollini onions in raw dishes such as salads, garnishes, and similar.

You can use them in burgers, sandwiches, salads, kebabs, and more. They also make an excellent onion for baked recipes due to the sweetness and largeness of the onion itself.

One thing you should know about Vidalia Onions is that they can only come from the State of Georgia in the United States. This means that they can be more difficult to access, but when you can, they are still the ideal alternative.

2. Shallots

You can use shallots as a cipollini onion substitute for stews, soups, sauces, and other slow-cooked dishes. Both cipollini onions and shallots taste similar in terms of strength and flavor profiles.

The main difference between the two is that cipollini onions are sweeter, which means that you can’t expect an exact 1:1 replacement between the two in all situations. You should use around two-three shallots for each cipollini onion you would ordinarily use.

If you’d like something a little sweeter than a shallot, then the next option on the list might be a better idea for many recipes and dishes.

3. Pearl Onions

White Pearl Onions

Pearl Onions are small white onions that are often available at the grocery store in pre-peeled packs where you can buy them in a larger quantity.

Excellent for braising, which is a common use for cipollini onions, you can also use pearl onions as a substitute for cipollinis in stews, gratins, soups, and pickles or relishes.


No matter why you need a cipollini onion substitute, there should be something equally aromatic and delicious for your dish on this list. Give one of the above options a try, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the result.

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