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How much Chopped, or Sliced Onions are in a Pound?

Onion image

It can be frustrating to try a new recipe and not understand how much of an ingredient to purchase at the store. Sometimes they give you a quantity of onions in volume (2 cups), sometimes as a weight (4 ounces) and still others the onion is given as a produce description (2 medium Bermuda onions). But what are they really talking about? So how much is in an onion? In order to help make cooking easier we did some experiments to help tell you exactly how many onions you need to buy.

To answer How many onions in a cup we went to the grocery store to check out the different common types of onions in the produce section. After surveying the selection we realized that there are a lot of different onions to choose from. Here's a quick look at 4 that can be found in about the same size bulb:

  • Yellow onions are the most common spicy and bold type of onion used in the United States. If a recipe just calls for "an onion", this is a safe one to select. Therefore, for our test sample, we selected 1 medium yellow onion with a 2" to 3.25" diameter.
  • White onions have a sharper and tangier flavor; they are commonly found in Latin American and Mexican dishes.
  • Red onions have a strong yet slightly sweet flavor and are a favorite raw ingredient in salads.
  • As their name indicates, the makeup of sweet onions allows the sugar content to shine, making them the sweetest, mildest onions to eat. Well known varieties found in the store are Bermuda and Vidalia, just to name a few.

In addition, shallots look more like large garlic cloves but are really small onions that form in clusters. Its flavor is milder than basic onions and is often used in French and southeast Asian cuisine. Another onion choice is the pearl onion. It has a very small onion bulb with a sweet, delicate flavor; the pearl onion is usually served as an accompaniment.

There are 6 small onions (about 2.5 ounces each), 4 to 5 medium onions (about 3 to 3.5 ounces each), or 3 large onions in 1 pound.

Like most fruits and vegetables, the number of onions needed to measure 1 cup depends on how coarsely you chop it. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of finely minced onion then it will take about 3 whole medium onions and if a larger chopped size is desired then about 2 will do the trick. On the other hand, 1 medium shallot only weighs about 1 ounce and will yield about 1/4 cup of minced onions. In a recipe you can replace 1 medium onion with 3 to 4 shallots.

Did you know that when cutting an onion its sulfuric compounds stimulate a painful sensation and causes our eyes to produce tears to eliminate it? To minimize this feeling, you can try to chill the onion first and cut into the root end of it last. Ancient Egyptians worshipped the onion; they believed its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternity. Yellow onions make up more than 75% of the world's production of onions.

Next time your recipe calls for a cup of chopped onions you'll feel confident knowing how many of the different types of onions you need. You can also use our conversion tool below for any custom how many onions in a... measurements you need.

Custom Conversions for Onion

One Onion Equals

  • There is ⅔ Cup (158 mls) of Chopped Onion in a Onion
  • There is ¾ Cup (177 mls) of Sliced Onion in a Onion
I need:


You need 1.5 Onions

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How to Store Onion

General How to Store Onion Info

Onion with dry skins will store the best.

Short Term Onion Storage

Put the onions in a mesh bag or basket so air circulates through it; store in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry. Do not store onions in the refrigerator or in a damp root cellar; the ideal temperature is between 40 to 50°F (4.4 to 10°C). Onions will maintain their quality for 2 months.

Chopped or sliced onions can be stored in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Onion Long Term Storage

Freezing onions makes them too limp for raw dishes, however, they still have good texture and flavor to contribute to soups, stews, meatloaf and other stir fried and cooked dishes.

To freeze, peel and chop the onions. Blanching onions is not required, but many cooks prefer it. If so, blanch the chopped onion in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes; cool in ice water and drain. Day pack onions with 1/2 inch of headspace; they will keep when frozen at 0°F (-17.8°C) for 6 months.

Onion Side Notes

Onions are divided into 2 main types: green (see Green Onion section) and dry. There are several common varieties of dry onions, such as: Bermuda, globe, pearl, red, Spanish, Vidalia and Walla Walla.

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What is the Produce Converter?

One of the biggest hassles when cooking and working in the kitchen is when a recipe calls for "the juice of 1 lime" or a similar measurement. Often times when cooking people use bottled juices, pre-sliced vegetables and other convenient cooking time savers. Produce Converter will help you convert the "juice of 1 lime" and other similar recipe instructions into tablespoons, cups and other concrete measurements.

Produce Converter can also be used to figure out how many vegetables to buy when you need, for instance, "A cup of diced onion." You can use our easy conversion tool to figure out exactly how many onions you need to buy at the store in order to end up with the amount you need for your cooking.

We hope you enjoy Produce Converter and if you have any suggestions for how we can improve it and make your cooking easier please let us know.