Which Are The Best Onions For Chili?

Chili is a dish becoming more and more popular due to the fantastic taste but also because you can have a diversity of ingredients starting.

Chili can be easily adapted to vegetarian and also vegan recipes. So almost everyone who tried it loves to cook chili now and then.

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Preparing chili is very simple, but it has its tricks to have a friendly and pleasant result like every other recipe.

Chili Basic Ingredients

Do you prefer a vegetarian or a meat-based version when you cook chili? I cook and love them both, so for me depends.

The excellent base for chili can be onion, tomatoes, and ground meat. If you want to have a meat-based chili, beans, corn, and other vegetables like red or green peppers, chickpeas, or peas.

Another question: Have you ever thought that the onions used can noticeably affect the taste?

I will surprise you by telling you that it does. Today I will talk about what kind of onion goes with chili.

So in case you want to go an extra mile in your final result of the chili, then keep reading.



The first best onion in chili is shallots type. I love this variety of onions, and I think it is perfect for hot dishes.

There are always shallots in my winter soups. What I appreciate most is the taste. Different from other types, shallots have a sweet flavor mixed with acidity.

Their taste is something between garlic and onion. When cooked, shallots can have a more pungent taste of sweetness.


The color shallots are purple to red and have the shape of elongated.

Another nice thing is that they have a fascinating shape when you cut them, as you can put them in the curry in the form of small circles.

White onions 

White onions 

Other options are white onions. White onions are the classic type of onion we all know and have in our homes.

Completely different from shallots, white onions have a more intensive flavor. For this, they will be sensed more in a chili.

If you love intensive flavors of onions in a recipe, this variety is for you. I would suggest letting the white onion caramelize well before putting everything else.

How can you do that? You fry them in low heat with some brown sugar and balsamic vinegar.

By caramelizing the onions, you give your plate a unique flavor as caramelized onions can be acidic but sweet and soft at the same time.

This is a trick that most people do not expect, and if you cook the chili in this way, the result will be better.

Yellow Onions

Yellow Onions

Yellow onions can be between shallots and white onions as they are not either that sweet or that acidic, but they stick somehow in the middle.

They have some mild taste. So when you buy yellow onions, make sure you select the more solid ones.

Chop them firmly but not too small, as you need the onion to be cooked longer than other vegetables, and for it to not burn, it’s better to cut it into medium cubes.

I would say that the three varieties can be suitable for a good chili. After that, it is a matter of choosing which one you prefer more.

Also, it’s a matter of ingredients. For example, shallots suit more with beans, while white onions fit better with yellow and green pepper.

Yellow onion, on the other hand, can be used almost in every dish so use them freely no matter the ingredients.


  • Can I use red onion instead of white in chili?

Even though white onions are used in a lot of chili recipes, red onions can be used as well.

  • Do you cook onions before adding them to chili?

Yes, Cooking the onions first until they’re softened and translucent allows for better flavor development.

Also, read:

Feel free to share your observation with me in the comments section!

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