Flavor Story: Chopped Onion

Flavor Story: Chopped Onion


What is Chopped Onion

When a recipe calls for chopped onions, it typically refers to onions that have been cut into small pieces. This preparation is commonly used in cooking to add flavor, texture, and aroma to dishes. Depending on the recipe or the dish, they can be chopped finely for a more subtle flavor or in bigger pieces for a more pronounced onion taste and to add texture.

What is Diced Onion? Chopped Onion VS Diced Onions

While diced onions and chopped onions are essentially the same, they’re distinguished in the culinary world for one main reason. Diced onion refers to onions that have been cut into small, uniform cubes. The main difference between diced and chopped onions lies in their size and shape. Diced onions are typically smaller and more uniform in size compared to chopped onions, which are cut more roughly and may not be the same size. Diced onions are often used in recipes where a more uniform texture is desired, such as in salsas, relishes, and sautés. Chopped onions, on the other hand, may be used in a wider variety of dishes. Both diced and chopped onions are commonly used as aromatic ingredients to add flavor and depth to dishes.

Chopped Onion Substitutes 

If you love the flavor of chopped onion but hate all the peeling and dicing—and crying!—dried chopped onions are the perfect shortcut. McCormick dried chopped onions start as whole, white onions that have been peeled, dehydrated and chopped. During the drying process, they take on a toastier, richer flavor than fresh onions, making them the perfect choice for adding sweet onion flavor to any and all dishes. Use them in dips, soups, stews, casseroles, egg dishes, hamburgers, salad dressings—anywhere you’d like to punch up the flavor. We love them in raw vegetable and bean salads. One whiff of the open bottle of dehydrated chopped onion will bring you the toasty, slightly sweet aroma of lightly sautéed fresh onions.

Chopped Onions Alternatives 

Q: If I don’t have dried chopped onion on hand, what makes a good substitute?

A: Dried onion in any form—minced or powdered—can be substituted for chopped onion. Use a smaller quantity of minced and even less powdered onion as stand-ins for chopped. Fresh chopped onion is another good option. One medium-size chopped fresh onion equals 1/4 cup dried onion.

How to Chop and Onion

Chopped Onion Usage

  • You can use chopped dried onions in any recipe that calls for fresh onions. If the recipe contains liquid, as in a soup, slow-cooked stew, curry or salad dressing, just throw the dried onions in when you add the liquid.
  • For use in quick-fix recipes, such as chopped vegetable and bean salads, stir-fries and baked chicken or fish, we like to hydrate the onions first. Soak them in warm water for five or so minutes. Drain and proceed with the recipe.
  • Once onions have been dried, their flavor is more intense than fresh. You only need two tablespoons of chopped dried onion to equal 1/2 cup chopped fresh onion.

Perfect Partners to Chopped Onions

  • We think dried onions make the best onion dip. Stir them into sour cream, along with ground black pepper, garlic powder, parsley flakes and a bit of salt. Chill for at least an hour to let the flavors develop. Then crack out the chips!
  • Beef and onions have a longstanding affinity that crosses cultures and continents. Chili, beef stew, meatballs, meat sauce for pasta, hamburgers, meatloaf, kebabs, taco filling, skillet supper—the possibilities are endless.
  • Dried onions aren’t just for cooked dishes. They make it easy to kick up the flavor of any salad, whether dressed with mayonnaise or a vinaigrette. Think tuna, chicken, egg, potato, beans, grains and raw veggies.

Onion History/Fun Facts

In the Middle Ages, onions were thought to predict the severity of winter. If the skins were thin at harvest time, the weather would be mild. But if they were thick, winter would be long and cold. Of course, people at the time also thought onions could cure snakebites and hair loss! Today, we just enjoy them for their sharp, sweet flavor.


McCormick chopped dried onions begin in the field as whole, white onion bulbs, harvested at the peak of flavor. We wash and trim them, then gently dehydrate to preserve their bold, sweet flavor and light color. With McCormick, you can count on consistent flavor, color and aroma in every jar.

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