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Baby onions are so charming in different dishes, from the classic peas and creamed onions on the Thanksgiving table, or a nice tray of roasted vegetables. But they are a pain in the neck/fanny to peel. Yes, you can go for the bag of frozen peeled pearl onions, and for many purposes that’s fine, but sometimes you want fresh…. but you don’t want to spend the better part of a day separating the peels from the onions.

Pile of red and white pearl onions.

What Kinds of Onions Can Be Peeled?

This works on all kinds of small onions, from pearl to Cippolini or Cippoline. Pearl onions can come in different colors, from the most common white to golden or red skinned—the taste doesn’t vary perceptively, though the color of the onions themselves also vary according to the color of the papery skins, from a purply red to pretty bright white.

Cippolini onions are similar to pearl onions, though a bit bigger, and sweeter. They are squattier in shape as well. If pearl onions look much like mini regular onions, cippoline onions look like mini Vidalia or other sweet onions. They grow in Italy and the U.S., and often accompany roasts, either cooked until soft or pickled.

How to Cook Cipollini Onions

How To Pick Pearl Onions?

Pick firm onions with papery skins, no sign of sprouting, and no mold or decay.

Red and white pearl onions on a blue surface.

Storing Pearl Onions

Pearl Onions can be stored in a cool dry place for at least a month. Avoid storing them with potatoes or other vegetables which can hasten spoilage.

Baby onions are so charming in different dishes, but they are a pain in the neck to peel. Here’s an easy method on how to peel pearl onions.

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Peeling Pearl Onions

This is the easiest way to skin pearl onions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, trim off the root ends of the onions. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

Woman cutting the end off of a red pearl onion.

Place the onions in the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain. Submerge the onions in the ice water and let sit, stirring with your hand once or twice for a few minutes until cool enough to handle.

Pearl onions in a pot of water.

Use your fingers to pinch the stem end of the onions and the skin will loosen and then slide right off.

Woman sliding the peel off of a red pearl onion.

Use the onions in the recipe of your choice.

How To Cook Pearl Onions

Pearl onions can be prepared in a variety of ways. They can be braised, glazed, roasted, steamed, sautéed, stewed and gratins – all of which make a holiday table feel extra complete.

Braised Cipollini Onions with Dried Cherries

Pearl Onion Recipes

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