Pearl Onion


Pearl onions are small and thin skinned. They are usually white or light yellow in color but can also appear in shades of light red. Very mildly flavored, these onions are most frequently found pickled as cocktail onions or in savory casserole dishes.


Other names: Pickled Onion, Cocktail Onion

Physical Description

Pearl onions are usually under an inch in diameter, a very little bit bigger than starter bulbs for larger varieties of onions. They usually grow in shades of yellow or white and occasionally red. Sweet and very soft when pickled or baked.

Colors: white, yellow or red skins with white interior

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet, mild
Mouthfeel: Smooth, Creamy
Food complements: Cheese, Mild garlic, Chicken, Turkey, Goose, Peas, Braised beef, Pork roast
Wine complements: Chardonnay, Red dessert wines
Beverage complements: Garnish for draft lager, Old fashioned
Substitutes: Shallots, Vidalia onions, Very large green onions, Very small white onions

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: september, opctober, november
Choosing: choose small, firm pearl onions that are free of soft spots or darkened areas on the skin

Preparation and Use

To quickly peel, slice off the root of the onion and make a shallow slice vertically through the onion and rub the skin off of the onion. Boil or glaze with wine as an accompaniment to braised beef or fowl or pickle in brine for a garnish.

Conserving and Storing

store in a cool, dry place in a net or onion bag that allows air to move freely.

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