Comparing Spanish Onions and Yellow Onions: Which is Best for Your Dish?

With so many types and varieties of onions out there, it can be confusing to distinguish the differences between one and the other. This article will explore what you should know when considering using a Spanish onion vs. yellow onion.

What Are Spanish Onions?

Spanish Onions are a type of yellow onion. These onions are grown in shallow soil, giving them a higher water content than many types of yellow onions.

They are typically medium-large onions with brown skins. In terms of taste, they’re not as strong as other types of yellow onions.

They are most often used for salads, garnishes, relishes, and are widely used raw instead of cooked.

What Are Yellow Onions?

Yellow Onions are a variety of onions containing many types and sub-types of onions. They are also known as brown onions, especially in Europe.

The yellow onion has many types, such as the Spanish onion and other sweet varieties like the Vidalia onion, which is both a yellow onion and sweet onion.

They range in size from medium to large, the shapes are most often round, but this varies also.

Yellow onions are one of the most commonly used onions in cooking. Still, some types of yellow onion are also better suited for eating raw, such as sweet onions, and other types grown in shallow soil, such as the Spanish onion.

What’s The Difference Between Spanish Onions and Yellow Onions?

Spanish OnionYellow Onion
A type of Yellow onion.Includes many onions, such as the Spanish.
Best for salads, garnishes, relishes, pizzas, and similar.Can be best used in multiple ways, depending on the type.
Tastes mild to sweet.Taste mild to strong, sweet to savory.
Medium to large in size with brown skins.Medium to large in size with brown skins.

You have now learned that Spanish onions are simply a type of Yellow Onion. However, the two have some big differences since most yellow onions aren’t quite the same as a Spanish onion. Read on to find out a few more differences between the two.

  • Size: Both the Spanish and yellow onion are typically medium-large in size.
  • Appearance: Spanish onions are conventionally round, but some yellow onions can differ in shape. They both have brown skins, which is why yellow onions are also known as brown onions.
  • Taste and texture: Spanish onions are mild and slightly sweet, especially compared to most yellow onions. While yellow onions have a stronger, more robust taste that you might associate with ‘onion flavor.’ Spanish onions are crunchier than the majority of yellow onions because they are grown in shallow soil, affecting the water content.
  • Culinary uses: Spanish onions are not best used for cooking. Instead, you should use them in more raw dish recipes, while yellow onions, in general, are fine to use for all types of cooking.


The main difference between the Spanish onion and yellow onion is the taste and texture. This is because the Spanish onion is simply a type of yellow onion. Now you know the differences, you can start using these onions to always put out the best quality dish possible.