Skip to Content

Is Onion a Fruit or Vegetable? {Onion Classification}

Onion: A lot of people chew it raw, while almost everyone adds it to their daily recipe. It has several health benefits and delivers a lot of nutrients to the human body.

Most gardeners also love to plant onion in their gardens. However, it’s still confusing to most people, if onions is actually a fruit or vegetable. But is onion a fruit or vegetable?

Well, fruits and vegetables are classified based on characteristics; a plant is said to be a fruit if it posses the characteristics of being a “fruit,” the same goes for calling a plant a “vegetable.”

In today’s article, we’re going to find out whether onion is a fruit, a vegetable, or a bulb. Let’s get started!

Is Onion a Fruit or Vegetable?

Is Onion a Fruit or Vegetable

Generally, many of us believe that onion is a vegetable, and probably, you also believed that. Well, you need a clear explanation of how plants are classified, then you can even answer the question yourself.

How Are Fruits Classified?

According to Wikipedia:

Fruits are the fleshy seed-associated structures of a plant that are sweet or sour, and edible in the raw state.”

Fruits form from the ovary after flowering. Thus, fruits are classified based on how they produce from plants and they can be eaten raw.

However, remember that we’re talking about onions here, and onions don’t produce from plant flowers; hence, practically, is it safe to say that an onion is not a “Fruit?” No, not yet. That’s not the conclusion of it all.

The Wikipedia definition of fruits, clearly states that fruits can be eaten in their raw state, and of course, onion can be eaten in their raw state. This now makes the whole thing a little bit intricate, but then, let’s see what Wikipedia says about vegetables.

What Is A Vegetable?

Generally, vegetables are parts of herbaceous plants that are edible. Vegetables are consumed by both humans and animals, and they solely serve as food for some specific persons, vegetarians.

According to Wikipedia:

Vegetable is the collective name for all the edible parts of a herbaceous plant; this includes the flowers, stems, roots, leaves, and even the seeds. Herbaceous plants refer to plants with soft stems.

With this definition of vegetable, it is not entirely clear if an onion is actually a vegetable. However, some sources do refer to certain fruits as vegetables. But, in order not to confuse you further, let’s talk about “bulbs.” Yes, bulbs.

What Plants Are Called Bulbs?

How Are Fruits Classified

Bulbous plants, or simply “bulbs,” are plants that store their nutrients in an underground storage structure throughout their life cycle.

Well, onions grow as a bulb. A perfect explanation to this claim is an answer on Quora, from Mishra. He explains that “onion is a combination of stem and scale leaves.”

The stem of onion is disc-shaped, and it is the discoid (disc-shaped) stem – which is on the lower side – that bears the “Adventitious roots,” and on the upper side, it bears scale leaves; the inner fleshy scale leaves and the outer thin papery scale leaves.

The stem structure of onions matches the classification of bulbs; however, onions are still not bulbs.

For the most we know, onion possesses some characteristics of fruits, vegetables, and bulbs; it is quite a complex plant, but as we go on in this article, you’ll be clarified.

What You Should Know About Onions

Onion is a plant species in the genus Allium, in the family Amaryllidaceae. It is generally classified under bulb vegetables because it is not usually eaten alone – it is combined with other vegetables to serve as food or used to prepare a meal.

While most vegetables and fruits grow from seeds, onions can grow from their bulbs; the confusing thing here is that the bulbs do not hold any seed, but still, they can reproduce new onions.

However, onions store their nutrients in their bulbs, and they can reproduce asexually.

Plants that reproduce asexually do so with either bulb, tuber, or runner. In the case of onion, it doesn’t need a seed to grow, the food and nutrients stored in the bulb are sufficient for reproduction.

Key Notes:

  • Onion is not a fruit because it does not grow from the plant’s flower
  • You can’t generally call onion a vegetable because of its bulbous structure
  • “Bulb” may look like the perfect place to classify onion, but most nutrition experts don’t think so.

Related Posts:


So, is onion a fruit or vegetable? From all that has been said so far in this article, it is safe – and more appropriate – to classify onions as vegetables.

You may think of “Bulbs” right? Well, since the onion plant leaves are edible, it is not appropriate to call it a bulb plant.

Hence, in conclusion, and based on the several factors analyzed in this article, onions are generally vegetables because you can eat every part of them raw or cooked.