Best Sweet Onion Substitutes


Sweet onions, also known as low-pungency onions, are a type of onions that are very mild due to low sulfur content and high water content.

Some of the varieties of sweet onions are Walla Walla, Vidalia onions, and Maui onions.

Sweet onions are commonly used in salads, sautéing, and sandwiches due to its less pungent taste.

However, if the recipe calls for sweet onions and you don’t have them, some substitutes that may be used are discussed in this article.

4 Best Sweet Onion Substitutes

This subsection will explore some substitutes for sweet onions. You may choose the right substitute depending on the role of sweet onion in that particular recipe.

Also, the substitutions ratio may differ depending on the flavor intensity of the substitutes.

White Onions

White onions are onions with distinct light, sweeter, and mild flavor profiles with papery, white skin.

They have a higher sugar content and the shortest storage life due to the compact nature of the cell structure.

It may be used as a substitute for sweet onions. Like sweet onions, white onions are sweet but with a bit more pungency, and so the recipe has to be adjusted accordingly.

It may be used raw, grilled, or lightly cooked.


White onions may substitute sweet onions due to their mild flavor and sweetness. However, it may be a little pungent than sweet onions.


Shallots are mildly aromatic plants grown for their edible bulb. They are typically white with brown or red skin with a mild flavor and taste between garlic and onion.

It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. It may substitute sweet onions due to its milder aroma and flavor.

It may be used in salads and cooking certain sauces where their sweetness may enhance a dish without watering it down.


Shallots are smaller bulbs and may substitute sweet onions in a dish due to its subtle flavor with a hint of sharpness.

Potato Onion

Potato onions, also known as underground or multiplier onions, are packed clusters of bulbs underground. It has a color that resembles the regular potato.

It is rich in minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and calcium.

It may replace sweet onions due to its mild and sweet flavor. It is not very pungent and therefore may be used fresh.

It may also be used as a pickle in vinegar and brine.


Potato onions may be eaten raw as well as cooked with a mild and succulent flavor. It may therefore be used to replace sweet onions in most dishes.


Garlic is a bulbous plant with a strong aroma and taste. It is rich in vitamins, particularly B6 and C, and minerals.

It has antiseptic, immune-boosting, and antifungal properties.

It may be used in place of sweet onions due to its strong aroma and flavor.

Some may not prefer raw garlic; however, it becomes flavourful when cooked and can be incorporated into various dishes.

Also, it may not work as a substitute in salads due to its strong flavor.


With its wonderful health benefits and strong aroma, garlic may be used in place of sweet onions.


Are all sweet onions Vidalia onion?

No. Not all sweet onions are Vidalia onions. Vidalia onions are one of the types of sweet onions grown in Vidalia, Georgia.

They are unusually sweet due to the low amount of sulfur in the soil in which these onions are grown.

What are the types of sweet onions?

There are many types of sweet onions. The common types are Maui onions that are shaped like large flattened globes, Walla Walla named after its origin in Washington, and Vidalia from the town of Georgia.

Bottom Line

Sweet onions play a versatile role in creating flavor, taste, and texture.

However, there are few substitutions if it is not available. In this article, we have provided some alternatives to sweet onions.

You may pick the one that best suits your recipe.

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About Pratibha Singh

Pratibha is a popular home chef and loves to prepare some amazing Indian dishes. A foodie to the core she enjoys other cuisines too. She has been cooking since childhood and often prepares meals for her family, friends, and even strangers. Her motto in life: “Always be prepared!”