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The Best Vidalia Onion Substitute: 7 Options You Can Try

I’ve tasted Vidalia onion rings from a friend and my life has changed for the better. These onions are very sweet and juicy, so I hunt them in the market. To my surprise, they’re rare to find.

Vidalia Onions Substitute

For this dilemma, a good Vidalia onion substitute can do the trick.

Walla walla onions are the closest you can get to Vidalia onions. In a pinch, you can grab white onions, yellow onions, and shallots. Garlic, scallions, and chives offer a more complex flavor without overpowering the dish.

Before we understand how each of these onion substitutes works, let’s get to know more about Vidalia onions. Don’t forget to check out my favorite recipes with Vidalia onions below.

What Are Vidalia Onions?

Vidalia onions are a sweet onion variety with high sugar content, making them super sweet. They have low pyruvic acid, so they’re one of the mildest in the onion family. Every bite is crisp and juicy, thanks to their high water content.

These onions are shaped like a globe – wide in the middle with a narrow root and stem. They look the same as yellow onions, only bigger and plumper. The skin is papery thin and reveals a white juicy flesh.

Vidalias are in season from April to September. The best ones are firm and come without any bruises. Wrap every piece with a paper towel and store it in the refrigerator to last as long as 3-6 months.

These onions originate from Vidalia, Georgia, hence the name. Their mild taste makes them versatile to use either cooked or raw in many dishes. You can pair the onions with tomatoes to make a fresh salad, or caramelize to add a deeper flavor to mashed potatoes.

What Can We Substitute For Vidalia Onions?

If you can’t get hold of Vidalia onions in the market, look for something that resembles its appearance. Yellow onions, white onions, and Walla Walla onions look pretty much the same as Vidalia. If you like to add more color to your dishes, try shallots.

Any type of sweet onion can stand the place of Vidalia onions in a recipe that calls for their sweetness. Walla Walla offers the closest level of sweetness to Vidalia. If you like to add a more flavorful punch, use garlic, chives, and scallions.

White onions and yellow onions have the same mild flavor as Vidalia. However, they taste less sweet, but you can barely notice it in the mix of flavors of your final dish.

Vidalia Onion Substitute – 7 Best Recommend for your Recipes

Whenever you can’t get hold of any Vidalia onions, don’t panic! Let’s get to know each possible alternative for Vidalia onions.

White Onions

Whenever I run out of Vidalias, I easily reach a white onion.  The mild, crisp taste of white onions is almost similar to Vidalias. However, they may be less sweet and a bit sharper due to higher sulfur content. 

white onions

I found a good way of increasing the sweetness and reducing the sharpness of white onions. First, slice the white onions thinly, then soak them in cold water for one hour. The sharp bite will be gone.

White onions can be eaten raw just like Vidalias, so they’re the best substitutes for salads, salsas, and sandwiches. Use a 1:1 ratio when you use the pre-soaked white onions for Vidalias. If you have no time to soak the white onion, use a teaspoon of it for every tablespoon of Vidalia.

The color of the skin varies as white onions have paler papery skin, but that doesn’t matter because you’ll be peeling it off. Both onion varieties have the same white flesh, so one will notice that you swap each other in a recipe. 

The best part about white onions is that they’re available all year round, so it’s easy to find them whenever Vidalias are unavailable. To choose a good one, look for firm onions with a hefty size and spotless skin. Store them in a cold, dark place.

Yellow Onions

In most recipes, I like to use yellow onions in place of Vidalias. Yellow onions are slightly sweet but have a more intense flavor than Vidalias when raw. Hence, I cook them so that they caramelize and deliver a sweeter taste.

Yellow Onions

The golden skin of yellow onions looks the same as Vidalias. However, their flesh differs as yellow onions are more of a pale yellow while Vidalias are white. Use this substitute if you like to add more color to your dishes.

Caramelized or roasted yellow onions have this sticky texture that suits best for soups, braises, and stews. The caramelized taste also adds a new flavor dimension to burgers and mashed potatoes. To substitute, use a 1:1 ratio as yellow onions deliver the same sweetness when caramelized.

The best way to caramelize yellow onions is to use avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil. I like to add a bit of butter to provide an extra flavor. Then, cook the onion slices for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally to cook evenly.

Yellow onions are available all year round, but their flavor changes through the season. They taste sweeter during summer and early fall. When they’ve been stored for too long in the winter, their sharpness intensifies.

Shallot

I always think about fancy French cuisine when I think about shallots. Aside from classic sauces, shallots can make a delicate substitute for Vidalias in sauteed recipes. Shallots are similarly mild as Vidalias, but with a hint of garlic flavor.

Shallot

The smell of shallots is less strong than most onions, so they make an ideal substitute for those with sensitive noses. Shallots don’t have the tangy bite that Vidalia offers, making them perfect for gourmet cooking. Although they belong to the onion family, this variety looks like garlic with their clusters.

I love the light purple flesh and pinkish-orangery papery skin of shallots. Compared to Vidalias, shallots are smaller and slender in shape, making them easier to mince finely. Because of that, they can be swapped in many recipes like vinaigrettes and sauces.

Shallots impossibly become sweet when roasted, so I like to add them when roasting meat in the pan. Use the same volume when substituting Vidalias with shallots. Proportionately, one small Vidalia is equal to several medium shallots.

Shallots are available all season long, but they taste more intense during winter. They’re available in US and Asian markets, so they’re pretty much everywhere. To pick the best ones, choose something firm with shiny skin. 

Garlic

If you’re eradicating onions, you can use garlic as a substitute. Garlic is aromatic so it can compensate for the lack of onion flavor in the dish. However, it lacks the fresh crisp that the Vidalia often brings in every recipe.

Garlic

Just one clove of garlic packs a lot of flavors. Raw garlic tastes a bit pungent and spicy, which works well for dipping sauces and salad dressings. The sulfur compounds make garlic taste like mustard. When turned into powder, garlic loses the pungent flavor and becomes a great umami seasoning for dishes.

To replicate the crisp texture of Vidalia onions, toast the garlic in any cooking oil. Cook it down to get the same sweetness as the onion. It even brings a new flavor dimension as cooked garlic offers a slightly nutty taste.

Use more garlic when substituting them for Vidalias. If a recipe calls for ¼ cup chopped onion, use eight cloves of garlic. Choose garlic that’s firm and tight to ensure freshness.

An interesting fact about using garlic is that it won’t make you cry when slicing. And the smell will entice your senses. Best of all, garlic provides more vitamin B6, thiamin, and iron than onion, making it a healthier option.

Walla Walla Onions

Walla walla onions are a discovery to me. These sweet onions have golden skin and white flesh, making them a perfect substitute for Vidalias. They’re grown in Walla Walla, Washington, hence the name. 

Walla Walla Onions

Belonging to the same sweet onion category, Walla Walla has a lot of similarities to Vidalias. They’re both grown in low-sulfur volcanic soil, resulting in a mild flavor. Both these onions are juicy because of their high water content. 

The flavor of Walla Walla seems more complex than Vidalias. It’s a roller coaster of flavors from sweetness to tingling pungency. It leaves an aftertaste that’s less sweet than Vidalias. 

Because of its juiciness, you can substitute raw Walla Walla for Vidalia in salsas, sandwiches, and salads. They can also be cooked to add flavor to stews, soups, and mashed potatoes. When cooked, Walla Walla delivers a deep, sweet flavor that I adore.

Use a 1:1 ratio. If a recipe calls for one cup of Vidalias, use the amount of Walla Walla. Pick only the fresh ones with smooth skin. Don’t fret if the skin looks a bit tattered and thin because it’s natural for sweet onions.

Scallions

Scallions are another staple in my kitchen because of their versatility. I can use them raw or cooked in any dish. With their mild and sweet flavor, they can easily substitute Vidalia onions on any day.

Scallions

The appearance might be way different, so I only use scallions when a recipe calls for minced Vidalia onions. Scallions have dark green tops with bright white bottoms. The dark green tops offer a more bite, perfect for accenting dishes. 

However, I find the white bottom slightly more pungent than Vidalias. Hence, I only use a few when a recipe calls for raw Vidalias. For example, I use about a teaspoon of white bottom scallions for every tablespoon of Vidalia onions.

I found out that scallions taste impeccable when roasted or grilled. Slice thinly because they release more flavor to the dish. When you use larger chunks, the flavor gets more released when eaten.

Scallions taste the best from late spring to summer. The freshest bunch has firm white sections and sturdy green tops. Avoid storing fresh scallions in plastic bags because moisture can build up and rot the leaves.

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Chives

Since chives are kind of related to the onion family, it makes me wonder whether it works as a substitute for Vidalias. Fortunately, it does.

Chives

Chives are more considered herbs rather than vegetables. They’re all green and look more fragile than their onion counterparts. Because of their delicate flavor, they’re often used as a garnish or salad topping, though they can also work as an onion substitute in many dishes.

I like to use chives as a substitute for Vidalia in soups and braised dishes on a 1:1 ratio. Remember to add them at the last minute of the cooking process because heat may destroy their soft flavor. Slice thinly or chop into small pieces to boost the flavor.

I thought chives are all the same, but surprisingly, they come in different types. Common and Siberian chives have the same mild flavor as Vidalia onions, but they lack sweetness. Garlic chives are more garlicky in flavor, so I only use them on rare occasions. 

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3 Recipes With Vidalia Onion

Vidalia onions are sweet and mild, so they’re technically perfect for any dish. Here are my favorite recipes for Vidalia onions.

  • Vidalia Onion Rings

When I’m eating burgers, I always have onion rings on the side. I use any type of onions, but lately, I’m more enamored with Vidalia onions. They come out even better with juicier and sweeter flesh.

Ingredients

  • Onion (cut into ¼-inch thick)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Cooking oil

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine one teaspoon of baking powder for every cup of flour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In another bowl, mix one egg with one cup of milk.
  3. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate.
  4. Now, heat the oil in a pan.
  5. Once the oil is ready for frying, dip every piece of onion ring into the flour mixture then into the egg mixture and breadcrumbs. Tap any excess coating and fry.
  6. Fry the onion rings for about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Onion Dip

What better way to improve a classic onion dip than to use super sweet Vidalia onions? This cheesy dip is perfect to serve with breadsticks and crackers.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of chopped Vidalia onions
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • Butter

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven.
  2. In a skillet, melt butter and cook the Vidalia onions for five minutes or until browned.
  3. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl. 
  4. Stir the mayonnaise into the bowl of onions.
  5. Spread into a baking dish and sprinkle with cheese.
  6. Put in the preheated oven and bake for about 35 minutes.
  • Onion And Cucumber Salad

During barbecue time, I always serve this salad to add some tanginess without the pungent flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, cut thinly crosswise
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Mix slices of cucumber and onion in a bowl. 
  2. Add the rice vinegar and seasonings into the bowl. Stir to mix thoroughly.
  3. Leave the mixture for 15 minutes, then stir again. Serve and enjoy. 

FAQs

1. Can I substitute a yellow onion for a Vidalia onion?

Yes, you can use yellow onion instead of Vidalias in any recipe. Yellow onions have a mild flavor with a hint of sweetness that resembles a Vidalia onion variety. These onions taste much sweeter if they caramelize, so consider substituting them in cooked dishes.

2. Is a sweet onion the same as a Vidalia onion?

In terms of flavor, sweet onions are somewhat similar to Vidalia onions. Both onions are sweet and mild in flavor. In fact, Vidalia onion is a variety of sweet onions, so it shares the same flavor profile.

Among all the sweet onion varieties, Vidalia is the sweetest. 

3. What’s the difference between a Vidalia onion and a regular onion?

Vidalia onions taste way sweeter than most onions. They contain about 12% of sugar, while a regular one only contains around 5%. Thanks to the low-sulfur content of Vidalia soil, the onions that grow there possess a milder flavor.

4. Should Vidalia onions be refrigerated?

The best way to store Vidalias is to keep them in a cool, dry place. So, yes, you can refrigerate them. Make sure that you wrap each piece in a paper towel to preserve them longer. When stored properly, they can last up to 3-6 months. 

Conclusion 

That wraps up our list for the best Vidalia onion substitute. Everything I’ve mentioned above is acceptable, but if I have to choose just one, I’ll go for Walla Walla onions. Walla Walla onions belong to the same sweet onion family as Vidalias, so they share the same flavor profile.

Make sure that you use only fresh produce in the season to ensure the best taste. Watch out for any spots and bruises on the skin. Make sure that it’s blemish-free and firm.

If you’ve tried any of these substitutes, let us know your experiences in the comment section below. 

 

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Anya Kaats

Hi! I’m Anya, a San Diego-based Holistic Health Coach and Marketing Consultant on a mission to share good food, health & happiness with as many people as possible. I am a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and have worked in the natural & organic products industry for my entire professional career with companies such as Suja Juice, Brad’s Raw Foods, and Mamma Chia. While my life may be totally consumed with healthy food now, nutrition wasn’t always a passion of mine.