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10 Best Onion Powder Substitutes

The best onion powder substitutes include onion salt, onion flakes, and garlic powder.

Fresh onions and shallots also work when you need flavor in a flash.

10 Best Onion Powder Substitutes
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Onion powder is a staple in many kitchens, mine included. 

In fact, it’s one of my go-to seasonings. I use it on every savory dish you can think of.

And if you’re like me, chances are, you run out of onion powder all the time. But don’t cry over it – there are options. 

This list of 10 onion powder substitutes is here to bail you out. Each one can step in and do the job when onion powder is off-duty. 

What Is Onion Powder? 

Onion powder is simply dehydrated, ground onions. It gives that onion kick without the fuss of chopping or the tears. 

It’s great in rubs, marinades, or when you’re out of fresh onions. A little goes a long way, so sprinkle with caution. 

Keep this seasoning handy, and your dishes will thank you. It’s quick, no-nonsense, and packed with flavor.

Best Onion Powder Substitutes 

Out of onion powder and in a bind? These 10 substitutes won’t let your flavors fall flat.

Let’s jump right in.

Onion Powder and Sliced Onions on a Black Table Surface

1. Onion Salt

Have some onion salt in your pantry? It’s the best swap for onion powder because it’s onion powder plus salt. 

And doesn’t every dish include salt, anyway?

Onion salt offers that familiar onion punch. You just need to ditch extra salt from the recipe, and you’re golden. 

This two-in-one seasoning is fantastic in dips, marinades, and rubs. It amps up flavors and keeps things moist, to boot.

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How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 1 teaspoon of onion salt. Remember to cut out any additional salt already in the recipe.

White Onions

2. Fresh Onion 

Well, this one’s a no-brainer. 

One awesome thing about this alternative, though, is you get to choose your onion type and cut.

Use diced, sliced, or rings. Add it raw or cooked. Or maybe even caramelized.

Sure, onion powder is convenient. But when you need an easy swap, fresh onions are the obvious choice.

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 3 tablespoons of diced fresh onions (about 1/2 medium onion).

Note: Fresh onions bring extra moisture. They’re great for sauces and wet rubs, but you may need to adjust the other liquids in the recipe.

Granulated Onion Powder

3. Granulated Onion

Granulated onion is like onion powder’s cousin. It’s just more coarsely ground.

It’s not as fine as powder, but it’s way finer than flakes or minced onions.

What’s awesome is that it doesn’t clump as easily as the powdered stuff. So you can add it easily enough to pretty much anything.

The only caveat is that it’s not as concentrated. So you’ll need more. I suggest starting with double and adding more as needed.

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 2 teaspoons of granulated onion.

Peeled White Onions and Onion Flakes on a Wooden Table

4. Onion Flakes 

Onion flakes are manufactured almost the same as dehydrated onions. But they’re not ground into powder.

So, you can use them whole or grind them into a finer texture yourself (though I find they’re an easier swap when they’re ground).

Either way, they’ll add that onion kick to your dishes. Dips, spreads, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and marinades are all fair game. 

Plus, onion flakes come with vitamins B and C, calcium, and antioxidants. 

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 1 teaspoon of ground onion flakes.

Garlic Cloves and Wooden Spoon With Garlic Powder

5. Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is another wonderful alternative because it has a savory punch that’s a lot like onion.

They’re in the same allium family, after all. Garlic is just, well, extra garlicky. 

Just like onion powder, garlic powder is made from dehydrated, ground garlic. So basically, they’re like culinary cousins.

Here’s the catch: garlic is bolder. So, to swap it for onion powder, you’ll only use half the amount – especially if you don’t want garlic stealing the show.

It’s brilliant in garlic bread, sauces, salad dressings, soups, and curries. 

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.

Wooden Spoonful of Dried Celery Seeds

6. Celery Seed

Celery seed is not actually celery, but seeds from a celery relative. And man, it’s packed with flavor. 

It’s aromatic, astringent, and a bit pungent. And it makes a fantastic onion powder substitute. 

Granted, it’s not as bold as onion, but it has a savory vibe that works well in soups, stews, and more. 

Grind the celery seeds with either a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and you’re all set.

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 1 teaspoon of ground celery seeds.

Fresh Shallots in a Bamboo Basket

7. Shallots

Shallots are part of the onion family but don’t mistake them for baby onions. They’re sweeter and less sharp.

Imagine a blend of garlic and onion – that’s a shallot. 

They’re perfect for when you want depth without the onion punch. Plus, the sweet undertone adds a refined touch that onion powder doesn’t have.

They’re also versatile, retaining their unique flavor whether cooked or raw. 

They’re a star in stir-fries, soups, and casseroles, especially when you’re not after a super smooth texture. 

Finely mince them, and you’re golden.

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 1 teaspoon of diced shallots.

Note: Two medium shallots are roughly a tablespoon of onion powder. 

Sliced Leeks

8. Leeks

Long and stalky leeks look like oversized green onions. While they’re not actually onions, they belong to the same family.

They boast a similar aromatic and pungent flavor, but it’s milder and slightly sweeter.

If you’re seeking a fresh, fun alternative to onion powder, leeks make an intriguing choice.

They have a tough texture, so leeks are trickier to incorporate seamlessly compared to other substitutes. 

However, they shine in stews and soups, where their texture softens beautifully.

Like their cousins, chives and scallions, leeks also work well in sauces, marinades, and wet rubs. 

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 1 cup of finely chopped leeks.

Fresh Fennel Bulbs

9. Fennel Bulbs

Fennel bulbs might surprise you as a substitute for onion powder. But don’t be fooled by their appearance – they pack a sweet, aromatic, and pungent flavor. 

They carry hints of celery and onion, with a dash of anise (or licorice).

A word of caution: Fennel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So, before diving in, be sure you appreciate its distinct taste.

If you’re already a fan, though, you’re in for a treat.

When replacing onion powder with fennel bulbs, use more to match the intensity. And be sure to finely chop the fennel so it incorporates well.

Fennel bulbs are especially tasty with vegetables, poultry, and fish. In soups, stews, and sauces, they effortlessly lend their aromatic and unique flavor.

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fennel.

Fresh Chopped Chives

10. Chopped Chives

Chopped chives are also from the allium family, so they bring an onion flavor with a delicate touch. 

Unlike their cousins, chives are a herb, not a vegetable, and they have a milder, more refined taste.

Chopped chives are fantastic in soups, stews, sauces, and wet rubs. They blend effortlessly with other ingredients, enhancing the depth of flavors. 

Keep in mind they’re not the best fit for dry spice rubs.

Chives tend to lose their flavor when cooked, so they’re stars in cold dishes. Think salads, dressings, or a fresh topping for a baked potato.

They shine as garnishes, adding that little oomph to your dish. Along with a pop of green, of course.

How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 4 teaspoons of finely chopped chives.

Best Onion Powder Substitute

Cuisine: American
Servings

1

serving
Prep time

3

minutes
Total time

3

minutes

The best onion powder substitutes include onion salt, onion flakes, and garlic powder. Fresh onions and shallots also work when you need flavor in a flash.

Ingredients

  • Option 1 – (Best Overall) Onion Salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt

  • Option 2 – (Easiest Swap) Fresh Onions
  • 3 tablespoons diced fresh onions

Instructions

  • (Best Overall) Onion Salt
  • Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 1 teaspoon of onion salt.
  • Remember to cut out any additional salt already in the recipe.
  • (Easiest Swap) Fresh Onions
  • Swap 1 teaspoon of onion powder with 3 tablespoons of diced fresh onions (about 1/2 medium onion).
Onion Powder Substitutes

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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