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Substitute for Onion Powder


Don’t you love using onion powder when cooking?! It is really convenient and adds so much flavor. What happens when you don’t have it in your pantry? Read the post below and find the best onion powder substitute that works for you!

large onions with bottle with white powdered onion

What is Onion Powder?

Onion powder is one of the most common seasonings in recipes from all around the world. It adds a layer of depth to the flavor of savory dishes without even needing to chop up an onion. Onion powder is made with finely ground dehydrated onion. It has a sharp and pungent aroma with a slight hint of sweetness. Adding onion powder to your dishes gives those who are eating it all of the aromatic flavors of an onion without the commitment of eating an actual, fresh onion. 

Best Onion Powder Substitutes

1.Onion flakes 

Onion flakes are number one on the list for best substitutes for onion powder. This is because onion flakes have the same composition as onion powder, but the dehydrated onion is just mined into larger pieces.

If you want to make onion powder out of onion flakes, you can even blend them in a blender or grind them with a mortar and pestle. Onion flakes give recipes the same flavor as onion powder.

You can use the same amount of onion flakes in your recipes as you would onion powder. 

2. Garlic powder 

Garlic powder is another commonly used spice. It is usually paired with onion powder since they compliment the flavor of one another. Garlic powder has a more robust flavor than onion powder, but it still elevates the depth of flavor.

To use garlic powder instead of onion powder, use ½ teaspoon of garlic powder in place of 1 teaspoon of onion powder. 

3. Chopped Chives

Chopped chives have the same onion flavor as onion powder. They can be stir-fried or used as a garnish for meat, pasta, or even risottos. It may not be the best option if the recipe needs a dry spice mix, but adding chives is a suitable flavor replacement for onion powder. 

4. Shallots 

Shallots are part of the onion family and are an excellent replacement for onion powder since they have more subtle flavors than fresh onion. Although they are not dehydrated, they are sweeter and not as sharp as onions.

You can add raw shallots to your dish or chop them up and cook them to add an oniony flavor. 

5. Leeks

Leeks are a type of vegetable that is also part of the onion family. They have a stronger flavor than chives or green onion, but they are a perfect replacement for onion powder used in soups or stews. The soup will absorb all of the flavors from the leek without having to add onion powder. You can even remove the leeks from the soup later on if you just want to add them for flavoring. 

6. Fresh Onion

Fresh onion works well as a replacement as it adds an oniony taste to dishes. As dried versions of herbs have a more robust flavor, you will need a higher quantity of the fresh version to mimic the taste.

When using fresh onion, it opens the possibility of which onion you add to recipes. This versatility allows you to cater the taste better to compliment the other ingredients that a recipe requires. For example, a red onion may work better with tacos than onion powder, adding an extra bite.

As a note, when using fresh onions, additional liquid is included, which will change the consistency of the recipe. You may need to alter other ingredients to account for this.

On a positive note, fresh onions are easy to find in grocery stores. Or, you may already have some on your counter that you need to use up. Either way, this ingredient is highly accessible, making it a suitable replacement in recipes.

Use a 3:1 ratio when using this swap.

7. Jarred Dried Minced Onion

This replacement is similar to onion flakes. As jarred dried minced onion is also made from onions, it will provide the onion flavor you seek. The main difference between minced onions, onion flakes, and onion powder is the consistency. Minced onions offer the most significant onion pieces, with onion flakes following. Onion powder is a finely ground version.

You’ll want to use jarred dried minced onion similarly to onion flakes – ground to a powder. This version will yield a similar consistency. However, if you enjoy the taste of onion, you can leave it in minced form. As this option derives from onions, you can use it in any recipe which requires onion powder.

Use this substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

8. Onion Salt

Onion salt is what you imagine it to be – onion powder and salt together. Some brands may sell this option with granulated onion instead. Either way, you’ll get the onion taste that you seek when using this replacement.

As salt is included, you will also want to adjust any other seasonings that include salt to avoid an overpowering salty flavor. This option can essentially save you the step of adding salt into the dish, depending on how much salt you enjoy in your recipes.

Use onion salt in a 1:1 ratio when using it in place of onion powder.

9. Garlic Salt

As noted above, garlic powder and onion powder complement each other in many dishes. Garlic salt is no different. You can easily substitute garlic salt in recipes that call for onion powder. As with onion salt, you will want to adjust the added salt to keep the flavor appealing.

Since garlic has a bolder taste, you will need less in recipes. Too much can be overpowering and cause the taste difference to be noticeable.

If you are a garlic lover, you may want to use a 1:1 ratio. However, it’s best to start with less. Then, work your way up due to the inclusion of salt in this seasoning.

Use half of the amount your recipe calls for, then add more to your taste preference.

10. Scallions

Scallions work well as a replacement because they add an onion flavor to dishes. They are in the same plant family as onions. For a milder flavor, the top part of the stems works best in dishes. This section is more delicate and should be added as a garnish or towards the end of cooking to avoid shriveled green onion pieces.

The white part near the roots offers a more robust onion flavor if you seek a bolder taste. While scallions work in most onion powder recipes, they do not work in dry rubs. However, you can use scallions in marinades.

Use scallions in a 1:1 ratio when swapping them for onion powder.

11. Celery

Celery may seem like an odd choice for a replacement. However, it adds a similar smell to dishes. The flavor is much milder than fresh onions and onion powder, so you will want to add more than the recipe requires.

Use celery when creating soups or other dishes that require liquid as it will add moisture to the dish. Because of this, you may need to adjust other liquid sources in your recipe. Since it has a subtle taste, you can use celery in many recipes that require onion powder. It will change the texture, though.

Many people have celery in their kitchen already, so this option is also easily accessible. When using this substitution, ensure you chop celery finely to mimic onion powder more closely. Of course, since it is a vegetable, not a powder, the consistency will never be the same.

Start with 1.5x the amount of celery the recipe requires. Add more if you need to adjust the flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much onion powder is equal to one onion? 

You should use about 1 teaspoon of onion powder for every 1/3 cup of freshly chopped onion. The amount of onion powder you put in your recipe is mainly based on personal preference, so if you love that onion flavor, feel free to add more onion powder. 

How much minced onion is equal to one onion?

If you want to replace onion with minced onion, you should use about 1 tablespoon of minced onion for every ⅓ cup of freshly chopped onion. Again, adjust the amount of minced onion to your personal preference.  

How to make onion powder?

If you are truly craving that onion powder taste, use a dehydrator and place chopped onions inside, or bake them in the oven at 150 for an hour. Once they are dry and crispy, grind them up with a mortar and pestle, a blender, or a food processor. And there you have it, homemade onion powder! 

Recipes to Make with Onion Powder

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

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One-Pot Goulash

white bowl filled with pasta in red sauce

Swiss Chard Soup

large pot filled with soup with soup ladle inside

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document easy real food recipes perfect for busy families. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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