Purple Onion vs Red Onion – Key Differences And Similarities

Can you tell the difference between purple onion vs red onion? When it comes to onions, there are many options to choose from. Onions have between six hundred to nine hundred species and are said to be among the most versatile plant genera in the world. 

Despite this popularity, purple and red onions seem to have the widest use in many parts of the world, and it’s really not hard to see why. 

They are used to spice up foods and have an almost irresistible savory smell. Most dishes rely on onions to achieve a balanced and nutritious taste, and here I’ll take a closer look at these two species of onions. 

What are onions?

Onions have been cultivated for thousands of years. They’re believed to have originated in Central Asia and were later introduced to other parts of the world by travelers and traders.

Because red onions had purplish skins, in the early years, they were used to make reddish dyes. Today, onions are grown in many different parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and North America.

There are many different types of onions, but some of the most popular varieties include red onions, purple onions, white onions, and yellow onions. Other less common types of onions include blue onions and pink onions. Each type has its unique flavor and texture.

Over the years, onions have been used in a variety of ways, both cooked and raw, including as an ingredient in soups, stews, and sauces. Onions can also be pickled, roasted, grilled, or sauteed. And they make a great topping for pizzas and salads.

SEE: The Difference Between Pan Pizza vs Deep Dish

What is a purple onion?

A purple onion is a type of onion known for its deep violet color, which comes from chemicals called anthocyanins. They have a slightly sweeter flavor than other types of onions and are often used in salads and as a garnish. 

They get their smell and flavor from quercetin and sulfur, and these nutrients are responsible for the tears people experience while slicing this onion. Purple onions are typically smaller than red onions and have a milder flavor. 

What is a red onion?

Red onion is a type of onion characterized by its deep red color, which derives from a special plant pigment in the flavonoid family known as anthocyanins. They have a sharp, tangy flavor, and they’re often used in cooking. 

Red onions are typically larger than purple onions and have a stronger flavor. They are also sometimes called “Spanish onions.” Red onions have also been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, among other health benefits.

Purple onion vs red onion

Purple onions are slightly sweeter than their white or yellow counterparts and have a milder flavor overall. They’re ideal for salads and other raw dishes where you want a hint of sweetness without overwhelming the other flavors. 

Red onions are more pungent and have a sharper flavor, adding a nice zing to cooked dishes. They’re also good in salads but can be overpowering if used too generously. 

So when it comes to choosing an onion for your dish, it depends on what flavors you’re going for. If you want something mild and sweet, go for a purple onion. If you want something with a little more bite, go for a red onion.

SEE: Do Onions Go Bad Or Not?

Which is more healthy, purple onion or red onion?

There is a lot of debate about which type of onion is more healthy, purple or red. While both onions have health benefits, some key differences between the two may make one more beneficial than the other.

Purple onions: They contain more antioxidants than red onions. Antioxidants are important for fighting against cell damage and disease. They can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Purple onions also have a lower glycemic index than red onions. Therefore, they don’t cause your blood sugar to spike as much after eating them. This is important for people who carefully watch their blood sugar levels such as those with diabetes.

Red onions: Contain more vitamins and minerals than purple onions. They’re a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid. They also contain more fiber than purple onions.

So, which type of onion is more healthy? It depends on what you’re looking for.

8 impressive health benefits of eating onions

1. They’re a good source of antioxidants

Onions are a good source of antioxidants, which are important for fighting against cell damage and disease. They can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.

2. They contain more vitamins and minerals

Red onions contain more vitamins and minerals than purple onions. They’re a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid. They also contain more fiber than purple onions.

3. They’re good for your heart

Onions are good for your heart health. They can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

4. They boost your immune system

Eating onions can help to boost your immune system. That’s because they contain sulfur compounds, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

5. They aid in digestion

Onions can help to aid in digestion. This is because they contain soluble fiber, which helps to add bulk to stool and prevent constipation.

6. They’re anti-inflammatory

The antioxidants in onions can help to reduce inflammation in the body. This can be helpful for people who suffer from conditions like arthritis or asthma.

7. They’re a low-calorie food

Onions are a low-calorie food, making them a good choice for people trying to lose weight. A single medium onion contains only about 44 calories.

Whether you choose a purple or red onion, you’re sure to get some health benefits from eating them.

SEE: Find Out The Key Differences Between Pepperoni and Salami


Do onions clear eyes?

Yes, they do. Onions can help to clear your eyes because they contain a high amount of sulfur. Sulfur is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.

When you cut an onion, sulfur compounds are released into the air. These compounds can help to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Does purple onion help hair grow?

Yes, it does. Adding onion juice to your hair can improve the blood supply to your hair follicles and boost hair growth. It also has antimicrobial properties, which can help with scalp infections that can cause hair loss.

How do chefs chop onions without crying?

They do this by using a very sharp knife to slice very fast, soaking the onions in water for a few minutes before chopping them, or using a food processor or blender to chop them.

SEE: What’s The Difference Between Domino’s Hand Tossed and Pan?


Onions are a healthy addition to any diet. They’re a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They can also help to reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar levels, and promote heart health.

If you are looking for the better onion between purple onion vs red onion, it all depends on what you want to use them for.

So don’t be afraid to add them to your next meal.

Thank you for reading.

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