Difference Between Red and White Onion

It is a well-known fact that almost all dishes feel and taste incomplete without the presence of onion in them. Apart from adding a distinct flavor to the food, onions also have several qualities that are beneficial for an individual’s health. But even onions are of varied types. Red Onions and White Onions are two distinct types of onions.

 Red Onion vs White Onion

The main difference between Red Onion and White Onion is that Red Onions are a little spicy in taste while White Onions are comparatively sweeter and less mild. The two kinds of onions also differ from each other in terms of appearance, texture, medicinal values, and even fiber and other content.

Red Onion vs White Onion

Red Onion stands out from the other types of onion owing to its color and appearance. As the name suggests, it has a reddish hue on the inside, and the outer skin has a purplish tone. Their texture is crisp, and they taste a tad spicy. This variety of onions is usually used as salad.

White Onion, on the other hand, is a little bitter to taste. It has a slightly pungent odor to it. Owing to its name, the inside and outside of this onion are completely white. These are sweeter than yellow onions. White onions are usually used in chutneys, sauces, etc.

Comparison Table Between Red and White Onion

Parameters of ComparisonRed OnionWhite Onion
DefinitionRed Onion is the main kind of onion that is used widely across the globe in several cuisines.White Onion is the onion with a distinct flavor being a cultivar of dry onion.
ColorRed Onion has a reddish-purple outer skin, and the flesh is white with a purple outline.White onion has a white color in its entirety.
TextureIt has a crusty and crunchy texture.It has a lighter and more papery texture.
UseThese are widely used in salads and several other cuisines.They are added to dishes that need a slightly sour or bitter taste and are also used to make chutneys.
BenefitsIt has more fiber and fewer calories as compared to the white onion.It has slightly higher calories and lacks iron and fiber content.

What is Red Onion?

Red Onion belongs to the category of onion, scientifically named Allium cepa. These are used universally in several culinary forms and cuisines. Their appearance is crunchy, and they are reddish-purple from the outside, while the inner side is white, having a purplish outline.

These kinds of onions vary in size. They can be small, medium, or even slightly large. Usually, they are included in salads and added to several dishes to enhance the taste. Their color is used also used as a dye in various foods. They can be consumed in multiple ways, including being eaten raw, sizzled, etc.

Red onions have a distinct quality that is that they have a tear-jerking tendency. This is so because when the onion is sliced, the underlying cells tend to rupture, thereby releasing a gas that acts as an irritant to the eyes. Red onions also have multiple health benefits.

These onions are known for their rich fiber content. It is believed that red onions have the quality of eliminating certain kinds of cancerous cells as they act as antioxidants. Red onions also prove to be beneficial for overall human health as they are sufficient in iron and calcium content.

What is White Onion?

White Onion belongs to the family of dry onions. They are different from other types of onions because of their unique flavor that is slightly strong and pungent. They are awash with a white hue from inside as well as outside. The appearance of their outer skin is as thin as paper.

The dishes that use white onion tend to give a mild and a little sour taste. This kind of onion is added to cuisines that have their origin in Mexico and Europe. Like Red onions, these too can be eaten raw and used in salads. Their distinctive usage is in the preparation of dips and chutneys.

There are a host of folklores that revolve around the usage and benefits of white onion, especially in ancient or medieval times. For instance, in Britain, its fumes were said to help cure cholera, and they were considered to be of imminent cultural importance in ancient Greece. In certain cultures, they were also considered as an aphrodisiac.

White onion is a rich source of Vitamin C. But unlike Red Onion, it lacks in iron as well as calcium content. It also contains slightly higher proportions of calories. While white onion too has fibrous content, which helps in better digestion.

Main Differences Between Red and White Onion

  1. Also known as Purple onion, Red onion is widely used across the globe in various dishes and as salads, while White Onion is more popularly used in dishes that have their origin in Mexican and European cultures.
  2. Red Onion has its outer skin of reddish-purple color, with the inside being white sporting a purple outline. On the other hand, White Onion is completely white, both from inside and outside.
  3. While Red onion has a texture that is crisp and crunchy in appearance, White Onion is papery and thin texture-vise.
  4. Red Onion has higher fiber content and low calories, whereas White onion has low fiber and high-calorie content.
  5. The former is mild and a tad spicy, whereas the latter has a more pungent odor and a stronger taste.
  6. Supposedly Red Onion has much more health benefits as compared to the white ones, but it is also said and believed that White onions were medicinally and culturally vital in ancient times.
Difference Between Red and White Onion


Red Onion and White Onion are kinds of onions that have low sulfur content, but the two differ in their color, texture, usage, etc. Red onion is the more popular of the two and has proven to be more useful in enhancing a person’s health. It has a mild and spicy taste and is often used in salads. It is also believed to be capable of removing cancerous cells from the body.

White Onion is completely colored white. In ancient times, it had extreme medicinal and cultural value. Apparently, it was apparently used to cure diseases like cholera, jaundice, etc. It is known for its distinct sour flavor and is used in dishes that require such taste.


  1. https://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO200603042294422.page
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713509003284
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