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How much Chopped or Sliced Onions are in a Pound?

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.

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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:

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You need 1.5 Onions

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What Is an Onion?

Here is a lot more information about what a onion actually is.

Are Onions a Fruit or Vegetable?

Onions are vegetables and one of the oldest ingredients still used in cooking throughout the world!

What Are the Types of Onions?

There are more than six hundred types of "onions" but the most common varieties are yellow / brown onions, red / purple onions, white onions (these are all 'dry' onions), and green / spring onions.

Dry onions remain in the ground until they mature into large round bulbs with dried leaves, while green onions are harvested when the bulbs are small, and the leaves are still green.

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What Do Onions Look and Taste Like?

Brown, or yellow onions, have a strong flavor compared to other varieties, and can be used in most dishes. They are round, with a thin layer of papery brown skin. Under the skin is the multi layered, white-ish flesh.

Red, or purple onions, have dark red, almost purple skin and their layered flesh is white with a touch of red. Their taste is quite pleasant and not as strong as the brown/yellow variety, making them popular in salads.

White onions are softer and milder than brown and red onions. They still have the distinct onion taste, but they don't leave a lingering aftertaste, which also makes them popular in 'raw ingredient' dishes like salads.

You can remove some of an onion's strong taste by soaking them in cold water before adding them to any dishes.

Spring onions, also known as green onions, are unripe, immature onions that are harvested early. They have small, white bulbs with long, soft green stems and are much sweeter tasting than the other varieties.

Shallots and leeks are also part of the onion family. Shallots look like elongated and stretched onions, taste slightly sweeter, but when peeled, you'll find cloves in clusters (like garlic), and not multi-layered rings. While leeks are long, green vegetables; resembling green onions, only much bigger with a milder taste. Onions, shallots and leeks all have their own, very distinct taste, and it's not advised to replace one with the other when cooking; only use what your recipe calls for.

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What Are Onions Good For and Used In?

There are very few ingredients as versatile as onions. They can be cooked (roasted, grilled, caramelized, deep-fried), pickled, even served raw (thinly sliced or chopped) in salads, sandwiches, dips, as burger toppings etc. Chopped onions are used to thicken sauces and gravies.

When served whole, spring onions make great crudités, while their stalks can be used in salads and dips. They're also very common in cooked dishes because of their sweet, mild flavour.

Onions were so sought after that, during the middle ages, they were used as currency and even given as gifts!

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What are Good Substitutes for Onions?

Onion juice, powder and onion flakes are great substitutes if you don’t have onions on hand.

If you’re not particularly fond of their taste, you can replace onions with leeks, which are sweeter and milder, or even chives, which have a more garlicky taste.

Green onions (spring onions) are also a good substitute. If you’re allergic to onions, celery is a good substitute. Although they don’t taste like onions at all, they do have the crunch. You can also use carrots and tomatoes to thicken gravies, curries, and soups instead of onions.

Nibbling on fresh parsley, apples, cardamom and fennel seeds will prevent onion breath if it’s a concern!

Can I Feed Onions to My Dog, Cat, or Other Pet?

That’s a firm NO! Onions are highly toxic in any form whether raw or cooked, which causes anemia. In extreme cases, onion poisoning can be fatal. Get immediate medical attention if your pet consumed onion. Symptoms include weakness, nausea, drowsiness and breathing difficulties.

Do Onions Give You Gas?

Yes, onions can give you gas. Fructans, which are carbs found in onions, are hard to digest and can cause gas, bloating and belching. Raw onions may cause more gas than cooked onions.

How to Store Onions

Here's what we learned about storing onions.

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How Long Do Fresh Onions Last at Room temperature?

When stored in a cool, dry, dark and well-ventilated area, raw onions can last for up to three months at room temperature.

How to Store Cut Fresh Onions

Cut and peeled onions must be stored in the refrigerator to preserve their freshness.

If you end up with so many onions that you don’t know how to use them all, you can pickle them, it’s another fantastic way to store them.

You can also dry onions and mince or blend them into a fine powder. Dried onions have a really powerful flavor when compared to fresh onions so be careful with how much you add to your dish! One tablespoon of onion powder is equivalent to one medium-small onion!

How to Store Onions in the Refrigerator

Always store whole, or cut and peeled onions in airtight containers in the refrigerator, and ideally in glass containers as glass won't absorb their odor. Airtight containers will not only mask their strong odor but will also prevent the onions from absorbing too much moisture.

Raw onion should last about two weeks in the refrigerator. Cooked onions, on the other hand, have a much shorter shelf life and will only last about a week in the refrigerator.

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Can You Freeze Onions and if so How?

Onions can be frozen! They don't even need to be blanched or pre-treated, just peel, chop and freeze.

Frozen sliced or diced onions don’t need to be defrosted; just add them straight from the freezer to your soups, stews, sauces, and even when sautéing with other vegetables. Keep in mind that freezing onions changes their texture, so it's not a good idea to use frozen onions in fresh dishes like salsas or salads.

To freeze, arrange the onion pieces on a baking tray and place the tray uncovered inside the freezer for a few hours, preferably overnight. Once frozen, place the onions in freezer containers or bags, and pop them back into the freezer.

Foodies sometimes prefer to blanch their onions before freezing them. When onions are blanched, enzyme action is reduced, which prevents flavor, color, and texture loss. You can blanch whole onions until the center is completely heated (usually between 3 - 7 minutes, depending on the size). Cool, drain well, place the onions into freezer containers or bags, and freeze until completely frozen and required.

How to Cut Onions

Here's what we learned about cutting onions.

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How to Clean Onions

While onions don’t really need to be cleaned because of their brown papery skin that protects the inside layers, it’s still a good idea to give them a quick wash with water.

When you cut into an onion, sulfuric acid reacts with the moisture in your eyes. This quickly causes a burning sensation and makes your eyes start to water. Cutting your onions under water will avoid this, otherwise just try to cut them as quickly as possible so you’re not exposed to the onion longer than necessary.

Can I Eat the Skin of an Onion or Should I Peel It First?

Yes, believe it or not, you can eat the skin! In fact, onion skins are surprisingly full of flavor, and are great in soups, sauces, and stocks. Remember to wash the skins first with water before using.

How to Slice Onions

Give the onion a quick wash with water. On a cutting board, slice the onion lengthwise from root to stem. Remove the stem but keep the root to prevent the onion rings from separating.

Once the onion has been halved and the stem removed, pull the thin, papery skin off. Place the onion on the cutting board, flat side down, and slice it crossways, so that the cut pieces look like crescents. Repeat with the other half.

As soon as you finish cutting onions, wipe down the cutting board with a damp sponge or towel.

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How to Chop or Cube Onions

Give the onion a quick wash with water. On a cutting board, slice the onion lengthwise from root to stem. Remove the stem but keep the root to prevent the onion rings from separating.

Once the onion has been halved and the stem removed, pull the thin, papery skin off. Place the onion on the cutting board, flat side down, and slice it crosswise, so that the cut pieces look like crescents. Now cut the crescents horizontally into smaller pieces. Discard the root afterwards.

After you finish cutting, wipe down the cutting board with a damp sponge or towel.

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How to Dice or Mince Onions

Give the onion a quick wash with water. On a cutting board, slice the onion lengthwise from root to stem. Remove the stem but wait to remove the other end at this time since it will help prevent the onion rings from separating. Once the onion has been halved and the stem removed, pull the thin, papery skin off.

Place the onion on the cutting board, flat side down, and slice it crossways, so that the cut pieces look like crescents. Take a small stack of these 'crescents' and chop their ends as small as you require them to be.

After you finish cutting, wipe down the cutting board with a damp sponge or towel.

You can also use a blender to mince your onion. Follow the steps above and instead of chopping the onion, simply cut it into quarters and place in your blender. Pulse until you're satisfied with the size.

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How to Mash or Puree Onions

Give your onion a quick wash with water. On a cutting board, slice the onion lengthwise from root to stem. Remove the stem and cut the onion into quarters, place inside your blender and pulse until you’re satisfied with the puree. Blended onions are a bit “watery” compared to hand-chopped onions.

Often times the onion is steamed or cooked prior to mashing or pureeing it. The end result will be sweeter. It all depends on the recipe and final dish you are making.

How to Grate or Shred Onions

Grating your onion works really well if you need diced or minced onion. Grated onion will ‘disappear’ into dishes, which makes it easy to hide from picky eaters! Grating an onion is also the quickest way to get the ‘minced’ texture.

Give your onion a quick wash with water.

On a cutting board, slice the onion lengthwise from root to stem. Remove the stem but keep the root to prevent the onion rings from separating. Once the onion has been halved and the stem removed, pull the thin, papery skin off and grate the onion using the big holes of a box grater.

Do Onions Have Seeds and Can I Eat Them? How do I Remove the Seeds?

An onion does not have seeds, but it does have a stem, which you'll need to cut around. Instead of throwing it away, you can use it in a vegetable stock with other scraps of vegetables.

Can I Eat Onion Greens?

Yes, you can eat all parts of the onion, including the bulb. The stem area is a bit tough but is still edible.



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.