How many onions are in a 2lb bag?

Onions are a staple ingredient in many cuisines around the world. Their versatility allows them to be used in everything from soups and stews to salads and sandwiches. When cooking with onions, it’s helpful to know how many you’re working with, especially when a recipe calls for a specific amount. So how many onions are actually in a typical 2 pound bag?

Quick Answer

There are usually about 5 medium onions in a 2 pound bag. The exact number can vary a bit depending on the size and variety of the onions.

Counting Onions by Weight

A 2 pound bag contains 32 ounces of onions. To figure out how many onions that equates to, we need to know the average weight of a single onion.

Here are some common onion sizes and their approximate weights:

Onion Size Average Weight
Small 2 ounces
Medium 4 ounces
Large 8 ounces

Medium onions are the most common size sold in 2 pound bags. At 4 ounces each, a 2 pound bag contains approximately:

  • 32 ounces / 4 ounces per onion = 8 onions

However, onions can vary a bit in exact weight. Some may be slightly smaller or larger than 4 ounces. So in reality, expect 5-6 medium onions in a 2 pound bag, give or take.

Counting by Number of Onions

Another way to approach this is to simply count the number of onions in a 2 pound bag. From first-hand experience buying and cooking with onions, a typical 2 pound bag contains around 5 medium onions.

Sometimes it may be 4 large onions or 6 slightly smaller onions. But on average, most 2 pound bags have approximately 5 medium onions inside.

Why the Variation in Number of Onions?

Even though a 2 pound bag of onions contains a set weight of onions, the actual number of onions can vary for a few reasons:

  • Onion sizes can vary naturally. Even within “medium” sized onions, some may be a bit bigger or smaller.
  • Different onion varieties have slightly different weights. Yellow, red, and white onions may not all weigh exactly the same ounce for ounce.
  • How the onions are packed in the bag can affect the number that fit. Loose versus tight packing changes the capacity.

The store may also round the total weight of the bag down, meaning you may get slightly more onions than exactly 2 pounds worth.

Onion Weights and Yield Information

Understanding onion weights and yields is helpful for planning meals and estimating how much you need to purchase. Here are some more details:


  • Most recipes assume medium 4 ounce onions when listing quantities.
  • Small onions are around 2 ounces each.
  • Large onions go up to 8 ounces or more.
  • Jumbo onions can be over 1 pound each.


  • A medium 4 ounce onion yields about 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped.
  • Expect 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped from a 2 ounce small onion.
  • Large onions yield around 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped.

Onions Per Pound

  • 5 medium onions make 1 pound
  • 8-10 small onions make 1 pound
  • 2-3 large onions make 1 pound

Pounds Per Onion

  • A medium onion is about 1/5 pound each
  • A small onion equals 1/8 to 1/10 pound
  • A large onion is about 1/3 to 1/2 pound

How Many Onions Are Needed for Common Recipes?

Here is an estimate of how many onions you’ll need for some popular recipes:

Recipe Onions Needed
Homemade Vegetable Soup, serves 6 2 medium onions
Beef Chili, serves 4-6 1 large onion
Guacamole, serves 4 1 small onion
Chicken Fajitas, serves 4 1 large onion
4 Cheeseburgers 1 medium onion
Meatloaf, serves 6 1 medium onion
Chicken and Dumplings, serves 4 3 small onions

As you can see, most recipes call for 1-2 medium or large onions to serve 4-6 people. When scaling recipes up or down, adjusting the number of onions is important for proper flavor and texture.

Onion Equivalents

When a recipe calls for onions, here are some substitution equivalents to use if you don’t have the exact size or type:

  • 1 medium yellow onion = 1 small red or white onion
  • 1 jumbo sweet onion = 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 small onion = 2 shallots
  • 1 medium onion = 1/4 cup dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1/2 medium onion = 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 medium onion = 1/3 cup frozen chopped onions

Overall, onions can be swapped out pretty evenly in similar quantities by volume or weight. Just adjust for slight variations in flavor and spiciness.

Storing Onions

To maximize freshness and prevent spoilage, store onions properly:

  • Store whole, unpeeled onions in a cool, dry, ventilated place away from potatoes, as gases from potatoes can cause onions to spoil faster.
  • Refrigerate chopped/sliced onions in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze extra chopped onions for 2-3 months.

Signs of Bad Onions

Watch for these signs that indicate an onion has gone bad:

  • Shriveled, mushy, or moldy skin
  • Dark/black spots inside
  • Strong, unpleasant odor
  • Dry, crusty outer layers

Discard any onions showing these signs of spoilage.

Types of Onions

Many different onion varieties exist, each with their own unique flavor profile, best uses, and typical size.

Yellow Onions

  • Most common onion variety
  • Medium to large bulbs with golden brown papery skin
  • Sweet, mildly pungent flavor
  • Great for sauteeing

White Onions

  • Crisp, juicy white flesh
  • Milder flavor than yellow onions
  • Often used raw in salsas and salads
  • Small to medium sized bulbs

Red Onions

  • Purple/red outer skin with white interior
  • Mild sweet flavor when raw
  • Turns sweet when cooked
  • Small to medium bulbs


  • Small, elongated teardrop shape
  • Delicate flavor, slightly garlicky
  • Used raw or cooked
  • Grow in clusters like garlic

Sweet Onions

  • Mild, sweet flavor
  • Popular varieties: Vidalia, Walla Walla, Maui
  • Large rounded shape
  • Ideal for eating raw

Green Onions

  • Long green stalks with small white bulb
  • Mild onion and herb flavor
  • Often used raw as garnish
  • Also called scallions or spring onions

Choosing the right onion variety for your recipe can make all the difference in flavor. Consider the unique taste and texture characteristics of each type when cooking.

The Bottom Line

So how many onions are in a 2 pound bag? The simple answer is approximately 5 medium onions. However, the exact number can vary from 4-6 onions depending on the specific size and variety. When cooking with onions, focus on the weight and yields needed rather than exact onion count.

Understanding weights, typical yields, and equivalents is helpful for substituting different onion types. Proper storage keeps onions fresh and usable for longer. With this knowledge, you can get the most out of your onions!

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