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Exploring Substitute For Leeks (7 Best Options)

Looking for a suitable leeks substitute? Whether you’re out of leeks or seeking a different flavor, explore these top alternatives that bring a unique twist to your recipes.

From mild shallots to flavorful green onions, discover versatile alternatives that add depth and aroma to your dishes. Whether you like a different flavor in your recipe or leeks are just unavailable at the moment, these swaps are great options. Read on and learn about the ingredients you can use. 

Cutting board with sliced leaks.

What Are Leeks?

Leeks, or Allium porrum, are vegetables from the Alliaceae or onion family.

This vegetable is closely related to onions, garlic, and shallots.

One of their standout features is the unique flavor. Leeks offer a milder taste compared to onions. It delivers a delicate and subtle sweetness with a hint of an onion flavor. 

The stalks are tender and succulent, while the leaves impart an herbaceous and slightly earthy taste.

Leeks are extremely versatile, as they effortlessly elevate various dishes with their mild flavor:

  • They are perfect in soups, stews, and broths. It brings a natural sweetness with savory elements that add depth and complexity. 
  • Sautéed or grilled leeks make a delightful side dish but are also good ingredients in quiches and frittatas.
  • Leeks seamlessly complement meats, seafood, grains, and other vegetables. Moreover, their pleasant sliced appearance brings an elegant touch to any culinary creation.

The good thing about raw leeks is that they are readily available in grocery stores, supermarkets, and farmers’ markets. You can usually find them throughout the year, but they peak during fall and winter. 

Best Substitutes For Leeks

A substitute for leeks is handy if they are unavailable due to seasonal constraints or regional limitations. Furthermore, some individuals may need to swap because of personal taste preferences.

Here are the top leeks substitutes for you:

1. Green Onion

Diced green onion in the bowl on top of the wooden table.

One of the best leek substitutes is green onions. Green onions either do not form a bulb, or people harvest them before they can develop bulbs. 

People also call them scallions. After all, the difference between these two ingredients is just how soon they are harvested. 

They look the same as leeks; it’s just that they look like mini versions with narrow and more petite stalks.

Green onion is a bit sweeter than leeks, but generally, it has a similar flavor profile. 

For this reason, you can use it to replace leeks in most recipes. It is suitable for raw and cooked dishes, so that’s a plus. 

The good thing about green onions is that they are accessible; you can find them in almost every store. Plus, they won’t break the bank. 


Green onions are a lot smaller than leeks. You’ll need more of them to replace a single leek. Use around 6 to 8 green onions to substitute one large leek.

Note that green onions cook very quickly. If you’d like to add them to cooked recipes, you are better off adding them towards the end of your cooking process. 

2. Spring Onions

Spring onions on top of the cutting board.

Spring onions have long, slender green stems with white bases. Sometimes, they develop a small, tender bulb. 

They offer a mild and delicate flavor, so they taste less spicy than fully-grown onions.

The white part delivers a slightly stronger onion taste than the rest of the plant. On the other hand, their green tops bring a fresh, grassy flavor and a gentle crunch.

Because of their taste and appearance, these onions can serve as a leek substitute in most recipes.

You must remember that spring onions have a stronger taste than leeks. Using it might cause a slight shift in flavor, but it is almost unnoticeable. 


Use both the green and white parts of the spring onions when replacing leeks. Chop them and use the same amount as you would do leeks.

Reduce the cooking time; they are more delicate than leeks, after all. 

3. Onions

Whole onions on the black backdrop.

Because leeks have an onion-like flavor, the most obvious swap for them would be onions.

They are a household staple that people use in cooking almost daily. That said, they’re quick options that you most likely have in your pantry. 

A sweet onion, for instance, is a white onion that offers a subtle onion taste.

It is perfect if you do not like the spiciness of red onion. Use it raw or cooked; it’ll work. 

Yellow onions have a sharper taste than white or sweet onions. Still, they make a great option if you find the flavor of white onions lacking.

Finally, you may also use red onions. They have the strongest flavor, which can be slightly overwhelming, especially if you expect leeks in a recipe. However, if you are a fan of spicy flavors, then a red onion is perfect.

One thing you must remember when using onions is that they do not look like leeks. Your swap will be noticeable, and it will change the appearance of your dish.

For instance, if the leeks in your recipe act as a garnish, expect an entirely different look in your final dish. 


Use a 1:1 substitution ratio when substituting leeks with any onion.

4. Shallots

Shallots on top of the white tabletop.

Shallots are also among the best substitutes for leeks. They are also part of the onion family and look like small and elongated red onions. 

Regarding flavor, shallots boast a mild onion flavor and hints of garlic. Because of this taste, they make a good leeks substitute. In fact, they’re a closer flavor match to leeks than a red, yellow, or white onion. 

They’ll taste great in almost any dish that calls for leeks. Try them in a soup or stew recipe to give them a mild onion taste.  

When you use shallots in a dish, it will significantly alter the appearance. You’ll lack the vibrant green hue of leeks, which can either be a pro or a con, depending on the recipe.

Shallots are also easy to find, so you won’t have trouble looking for them on your next grocery trip. 


Use the same amount of shallots as the leeks your recipe calls for in cups. For the best results, slice the shallots thinly so they will blend well with the other ingredients in your dish. This way, they’ll also cook more evenly. 

5. Onion Powder

Bottle with onion powder next to whole onions.

Onion powder, as the name suggests, is onion in powder form. To make this powder, people dehydrate and grind fresh onions. 

This process produces a fine, white powder with the same exact flavor as regular onions. That said, they are among the most convenient leeks replacement you can find.

However, you have to note that the flavor of onion powder is much more potent than its fresh counterparts. A small amount goes a long way so that you won’t need much.

It is also worth noting that because of their form, they won’t be a suitable replacement for leeks as a garnish.

In other recipes, though, it will provide the onion taste that leeks offer. However, you still have to be mindful that it will change not only the texture of your dish but also its appearance.


Use 1 teaspoon of onion powder for each cup of chopped leeks your recipe calls for. 

6. Green Garlic

Green garlic is another ingredient that will work great as a substitute for leeks. Green garlic is just a garlic plant that is yet to mature.

At first look, you won’t notice the difference between green garlic and leeks. They look so alike that you must rely on your sense of smell to tell them apart!

That said, this option is among your best bets when using leeks as a garnish. Using them won’t change your recipes look any different than when you used leeks. 

Regarding taste, green garlic has more of the original garlic flavor than leeks’ oniony taste.

It has a more subtle flavor than regular, mature garlic, though.

It is perfect for those who don’t like the garlic taste overwhelming their dishes.

Also, despite this difference in flavor profile, green garlic can add complexity and depth to your dishes. It serves the same purpose as leeks.


To avoid straying away from your recipe’s classic taste, sparingly use green garlic as a leek swap. Start with using ¼ cup to replace 1 cup of leeks. 

7. Garlic

Tabletop with garlic cloves.

Of course, the good old garlic can also work as a leeks replacement in certain dishes.

Leeks and garlic come from the same plant family, so they have similarities.

For one, they are both great flavor enhancers. They can make recipes that call for leeks equally tasty and complex. Also, people can use both of them in raw and cooked dishes.

Garlic has a different taste from leeks, though. It has a spicy and pungent taste, especially when raw.

For this reason, it is best to avoid them if you are looking for something as mild as leeks. They’re best if you dislike how leeks taste, though.


To lessen garlic’s intense flavor, chop and roast them before use. Also, if you do not have access to fresh garlic, using garlic powder will work in a pinch.

Use a teaspoon of roasted or raw garlic to replace 1 cup of leeks. Follow the same proportion when using garlic powder.

Related Questions

Do Leeks Have An Onion Flavor?

Yes, leeks possess an onion-like flavor. After all, it is a part of the Allium family alongside onions, garlic, and shallots. They have a milder taste than onions, so people who are not particularly a fan of the onion flavor can use them instead.

Are Leeks And Onions Interchangeable?

In some recipes, you can use leeks and onions interchangeably. Note that substituting leeks with onions can alter the dish’s taste and appearance. In dishes where leeks are not the main ingredient, you can use any onion as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

Can I Use Scallions As A Substitute For Leeks?

Yes, scallions can serve as a substitute for leeks. Just remember that while they offer a similar flavor profile, scallions tend to be milder and sweeter. Also, you’ll need more scallions to replace a single leek due to their smaller size. 


When leeks are unavailable or if you prefer a different flavor in your recipe, there are several excellent swaps to choose from.

With their mild and sweet taste, green onions are a convenient replacement that works well in raw and cooked dishes. Spring onions offer a slightly stronger flavor. Still, it is a suitable option for most recipes. 

Onion or garlic powder offers convenience while adding depth to recipes. Green garlic, on the other hand, serves as a great garnish replacement. In a pinch, even wild leeks or garlic can be a substitute for leeks.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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