What Size Is a Small Onion?

updated May 1, 2019
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Q: Your recipe for sweet and savory bacon jam is awesome. When you say two small sweet onions, how much weight or volume are you talking about?

Sent by Tommy

Editor: There’s really no hard-and-fast answer to the exact size of a small onion. In fact, the lack of specificity is often because the recipe works within a range of amounts. A part of knowing how much of an ingredient to add to a recipe is a matter of understanding how it works in a recipe.

In the sweet and savory bacon jam, the onions are adding a vegetal sweetness, so 1/2 cup is all you need to produce that result. If you like the deep sweetness onions bring — think caramelized onions — then by all means add a bit more. But regardless of cooking by taste and touch, guidelines are still helpful! Here are ours:

Small Onions

  • About the size of the palm of your hand
  • 4 ounces (or 1/2 cup, chopped)

Medium Onions

  • The size of a baseball
  • 8 ounces (or 1 cup, chopped)

Large Onions

  • About the size of a grapefruit
  • 12 ounces (or 1 1/2 cups, chopped)