Cipollini Onions

Cipollini Onions

Other Names
cipolline, wild onion

Cipollini (pronounced chip-oh-lee-ni) are a type of onion and a member of the genus Allium. The round flat bulbs are typically very small and range in color from greenish yellow to golden brown. They are pictured above with regular yellow onions in the background for comparison.

There are several websites (including Epicurious, and The Food Network) that incorrectly define Cipollini’s as the bulb of a grape hyacinth (genus Muscari). While similar in appearance, they are not the same thing. Muscari bulbs are known as lampascioni and have a bitter taste.

What’s it taste like?
Cipollini onions have a strong onion taste (similar to shallots), but they are also very sweet, making them well suited to braising and roasting.

Where do I get them?
They are starting to appear more frequently in upscale supermarkets and can be found along with the shallots ard garlic at Whole Foods in the US.

When is it best?
Cipollini’s are typically harvested in early autumn, but they are available throughout winter.

How do I use it?
Because they are very small, they can be used whole, making them perfect for stews and braised dishes as they hold their shape much better than sliced onions. Roasting or frying caramelizes the sugars and makes them even more sweet. Use them in place of pearl onions when possible as they have a much better flavour.

Skate with wine braised Cipollini onions
Coq Au Vin

Cipollini onions are rich in oligosaccharides and antioxidants.

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  • Kat

    | am not sure where you got your info but all those sources are correct, it is a grape hyacinth or also called an edible muscari.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Kat, grape hyacinth is not the same as Cipollini, while many people get confused because of their similar size, Cipollini’s are a member of the onion family. The Italian name for grape hyacinth bulbs is “lampascioni”.


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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