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Flavorful Swaps: 5 BEST Substitutes for Cipollini Onions

Finding the perfect substitute for Cipollini onions isn’t as hard as you might think.

We’ve got the inside scoop on five fantastic swaps that’ll save your dish without skipping a beat.

Cipollini onions are known for their sweet flavor and small size, making them a favorite in roasts and salads.

But hey, not having them on hand doesn’t mean your recipe is doomed.

We’re here to guide you through some easy-to-find alternatives.

Each option brings its own unique twist to your meals, ensuring you never miss out on that sweet, savory taste.

Ever been in the middle of cooking and realized you’re out of a key ingredient?

We’ve been there, and it’s why we’re sharing our top picks with you.

With these substitutes, you’ll keep your cooking game strong, and your flavors on point.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cipollini Onions

If you’re in a pinch and can’t find cipollini onions, don’t worry—there are plenty of alternatives that will give you similar results.

Here are the five best substitutes for cipollini onions:

1 – Pearl Onions

Pearl onions are a small, round type of onion with white, papery skin and a mild, sweet taste that appeals to many palates.

When cooked, their texture is slightly crunchy, making them a flavorful addition to salads or dishes that require quick cooking.

For those looking for an interesting twist on traditional recipes, pearl onions provide an interesting alternative to your average onion.

If you can’t find cipollini onions, pearl onions make for an excellent substitute in recipes as they share similar sweetness and texture.

Simply peel each onion and blanch them before cooking, so they are tender enough for eating.

Pearl onions are sure to be a delicious surprise when added to any recipe.

2 – Boiler Onions

Boiler onions, also known as white hull-less onions, are an under-utilized member of the Allium family.

Visually, these small treats look like a smaller version of yellow onions with creamy white skin.

When cooked, they are incredibly sweet and have a soft but firm texture.

Boiler onions get their name because they were traditionally boiled in liquids like milk to bring out their sweetness and softness.

To substitute boiler onions for cipollini onions, simply cut them into rings or halves and add them to your dish.

Boiling can enhance their sweetness, although any cooking method will bring out the tasty flavor of this hidden gem.

3 – Yellow Onions

Yellow onions are one of the most common yet overlooked ingredients in any kitchen.

They have a mild to medium flavor and a crunchy texture that breaks down into a soft sweetness when cooked.

Yellow onions come in a variety of sizes depending on the variety, with yellow granex being on the smaller side while Vidalia onions being larger; they both work equally well in recipes after a few minutes of sautéing or caramelizing, however.

Although Cipollini onions may be ideal for some dishes, yellow onions make for an excellent substitute- their sharp taste and tender texture provide plenty of balance to any dish.

4 – Shallots

Shallots have a unique and delicious flavor that sets them apart from their onion relatives.

These delicate, marbled bulbs can range in color from light brown to pale purple, and they offer a sweet yet delicate taste with a texture just a bit firmer than other onions.

While shallots may look small, they contain remarkable flavor-powering potential, making them an ideal choice for soups and stews, as well as fried dishes like tempura.

If you don’t have access to cipollini onions for your recipe, consider using finely diced shallots instead; the same natural sweetness will be present but with a milder bite.

No matter how you choose to use Shallots, you won’t be disappointed.

5 – Vidalia Onions

Vidalia onions are a type of sweet onion which is renowned for its mild and sweet flavor.

Its renowned quality stems from its low sulfur content, giving the onion its distinctive flavor.

When compared to other onions, Vidalia onions are much softer in texture, making them easy to slice or cut into cubes or rings.

In fact, due to the combination of its sweetness and soft texture, the Vidalia onion is often used as an alternative to Cipollini onions as it still has that same succulent taste without being too sharp and acidic like a regular onion.

To use it as a substitute for Cipollini onions, make sure that you cut the Vidalia onion into similar small slices and caramelize them on medium heat for about 10 minutes with some additional seasoning before using it in your cooking or salads.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cipollini Onions

Unable to find cipollini onions for your recipe? Fear not! We've curated a list of the 5 best substitutes that will impart a similar sweet and mild flavor to your dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Pearl Onions
  • Boiler Onions
  • Yellow Onions
  • Shallots
  • Vidalia Onions


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Cipollini Onions
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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