An onion powder substitute can be beneficial to have on hand. The seasoning is commonly used in many recipes to add flavor and aroma to dishes, however, onion powder may not always be available in your pantry or suitable for your dietary restrictions.
What is Onion Powder?
Onion powder is a spice made from dehydrated onions that have been ground into a fine powder. It is commonly used in recipes to add a savory, slightly sweet flavor and aroma to dishes. The seasoning powder is a convenient ingredient that can be used in place of fresh onions, especially when you want to avoid the strong smell and texture of fresh onions.
Common Uses for Onion Powder Substitute
- To season soups and stews
- Added to Meat rubs and marinades
- To season Salad dressings
- Add flavor to Sauces and gravies
- Seasoning for roasted vegetables
- Homemade spice blends
- Dips and spreads
Reasons Why You May Need an Onion Powder Alternative
- Allergy or intolerance to onions
- Unavailability of onion powder
- Need for a low FODMAP diet
- Preference for a different flavor
- Dietary or religious restrictions
15 Best Onion Powder Substitute Options
1. Onion Flakes
Onion flakes are dried, and minced onions are one of the best replacements for onion powder. In fact, the only difference is the texture, which is rarely a problem. Tastylicious has a quick overview of the difference between the two ingredients.
2. Fresh Onions
Fresh onions have a less intense flavor than onion powder or dried onion flakes. So you will have to use more fresh onions to make up for the flavor. It is best used where you have other chopped veggies or don’t require the powdered form. Hungry Huy shows you how to swap the two ingredients.
3. Chopped Green Onions or Chives
If you are able to use fresh ingredients, both green onions and chives give your dish a distinct onion flavor. The Food Network has a great overview of chives and how to use them. Similarly, the same is applicable to green onions when substituted for onion powder.
4. Onion Salt
Onion salt is simply salt mixed with some onion powder, making it an easy alternative to onion powder. Simply adjust the amount of salt in your recipe. Then slowly add the onion salt to avoid your dish being too salty. Leaf TV shows you how to replace onion powder with onion salt.
5. Onion Paste
Onion paste is a great replacement option for onion powder if you’re making stews, sauces, and dressings. Conveniently, the onion paste won’t affect the texture as much as chopped onions would and can add the same onion flavor as onion powder would. Use it in a 2:1 ratio to replace onion powder, and if you can’t buy it in-store, follow Greedy Gourmet’s recipe to make your own.
Garlic is not the same as onion powder. However, when used in small amounts, garlic can add the same umami flavor to your dish as onion powder would. In fact, you can even use dried garlic products or fresh garlic, depending on your recipe or preferences. McCormick has some tips on using garlic powder as well as pairings to try.
Shallots are in the same family as onions, but they do have some differences. They can be a great substitute for onion powder, but due to it usually being used fresh, you would have to adjust the amounts added. Masterclass has a great comparison article between onions and shallots.
Leeks are another vegetable in the same family as onions and have an onion-like taste. They are very mild in flavor, so you will need to add much more to your dish than you would onion powder or fresh onions to achieve the same results. Love and Lemons has a guide on how to use leeks.
9. Fennel Bulbs
Fennel bulbs can be used like fresh onions but will add a distinct anise or licorice flavor to your dish, which may or may not work well, depending on your preferences. So, it’s important not to use fennel powder or seeds that have an even stronger licorice flavor. Food Network gives an overview of this vegetable.
10. Granulated Onion
The only difference between onion powder and granulated onion is the coarseness to which the dried onion is ground. Therefore, you can use granulated onion in a 1:1 ratio for onion powder. The Fork Bite notes that granulated onion is slightly stronger in flavor than onion powder.
Celery has an aromatic flavor that can be used in some dishes to replace onion powder, but it isn’t very close to the same flavor profile. It is slightly peppery, and bitter and has a very fresh taste. Thrive Cuisine gives you an overview of celery’s flavor profile.
12. Celery Seeds
Celery seeds have a taste similar to fresh celery, according to The Spruce Eats. In fact, celery seeds can be used in recipes where you’d need a powder instead of a fresh ingredient, such as seasonings or rubs.
Tips for Onion Powder Substitution
- Check the ingredients of your substitute and adjust the same ingredients, such as salt, in your recipe to avoid any overwhelming flavors.
- If the texture is an important factor, choose a powder or puree to ensure the same results are achieved.
- Fresh ingredients are about 2-3 less intense than powdered ingredients, adjust the amount as needed and to taste.
- Additional flavors can be found in some substitutes for onion powder. Leeks are slightly sweet, fennel has an anise flavor profile and