What Can You Substitute Onion Powder With? 16 Easy Alternatives

What Can You Substitute Onion Powder With - 16 alternatives

Onion powder is a versatile and popular ingredient found in many kitchens. It offers a quick and easy way to add that delicious and potent flavor to various dishes when you’re in a pinch. But what if you’ve just realized you’re out of your favorite spice? Or you’re looking for an alternative due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences? Worry not, because you’ve come to the right place! This article will provide you with practical substitutes that can save the day.

Onion powder, a staple in many kitchens, imparts a delightful onion essence to dishes. But when you’re searching for the best onion powder substitute fret not! This guide has got you covered with top-notch alternatives.

What Flavor Does Onion Powder Add?

Onion powder adds a sweet and savory flavor to your dishes. It’s the concentrated essence of both the pungency and sweetness of fresh onions, delivering a powerful punch in a convenient powdered form. So, what does this mean for you and your cooking?

When you use this spice in your recipes, you can expect a depth of flavor that enhances and complements the other ingredients. That subtle hint of onion can elevate a bland dish into something flavorful and comforting, all without overpowering your taste buds.

As for texture, it is fine and blends seamlessly with your dish, adding flavor without affecting the overall consistency. For instance, in a creamy sauce, onion powder integrates nicely without introducing the moisture that fresh onions would bring. This means you can maintain a smooth texture in your sauces and a dry crust on your grilled tofu, all while enjoying the delightful oniony taste.

In a nutshell, onion powder is your secret weapon to adding a harmonious and versatile onion punch to a broad range of dishes, without altering their texture. Just a little bit goes a long way, helping you create dishes that are memorable, satisfying, and—above all—delicious.

Onion-Based Substitutes

Fresh Onions: When you want to replace onion powder, freshly chopped onion can be a great option to consider. Not only do they provide a similar flavor, but they also add a touch of texture and freshness to your dishes. To make the substitution, use 1 cup of chopped fresh onion or minced onion for every 1 tablespoon of onion powder called for in the recipe. However, keep in mind that it you use fresh onion, it will add some moisture to your dish, so it’s important to adjust the recipe accordingly if needed. And since fresh onions contain water, you may also notice a difference in the consistency of your dish. Feel free to experiment with the amount and types of onion to find the perfect balance and flavor for your creation.

Onion Flakes: Another great substitute for onion powder are onion dried onion flakes. Just like onion, these flakes are made from dehydrated onions and are a convenient option when fresh onions are unavailable or when you need a time-saving hack. You can use the same amount of onion flakes as onion powder called for in the recipe, but remember that they’ll need to rehydrate as they cook.

Don’t forget that onion flakes retain a noticeable oniony texture which might be an added advantage in some recipes and a challenge in others. Be sure to consider the desired consistency of your dish before making the swap.

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Garlic-Based Substitutes

Garlic: When you need to substitute onion powder, fresh garlic is a great option as it can offer a similar savory, pungent, and slightly sweet flavor that complements many dishes. To mimic the onion powder flavor, finely mince or crush 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic and add to your recipe. Since fresh garlic has a higher moisture content, consider sauteing it for a minute or two in a small amount of oil to remove excess liquid and intensify its flavor.

Garlic powder: Although it has its unique garlicky flavor, it shares the pungent, savory notes that onion powder provides. To substitute, use half the amount of garlic powder as you would onion powder. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon onion powder, use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. This ratio ensures that the garlic flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients in your dish.

Garlic salt: Another option to consider in a pinch. This replacement can offer a similar flavor profile to onion powder while maintaining a balanced intensity. As the name suggests, garlic salt is a mix of garlic powder and salt. To use it as a substitute for onion powder, start with half the amount required and be cautious of the overall saltiness of your dish.

Keep in mind when using this alternative, to adjust the amount of salt in your dish so it wouldn’t end up being too salty.

What Can You Substitute Onion Powder With - Garlic

Other Vegetable Substitutes

When looking for the best substitute, there are several other vegetable options that can add similar flavor profiles to your dish as onion would.

Shallots: Shallots are a great option when substituting onion powder. With their mild yet distinct onion-like taste, they can easily be incorporated into your recipes. To use shallots as a replacement, simply chop them finely and add them directly to your dish. Remember, a little goes a long way with shallots, so start slow and adjust to your taste.

Leeks: Another vegetable alternative to consider is leeks. They provide a subtle onion flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes. Clean and chop them finely, then sauté them to release their flavors before adding them to your dish. In general, use about 2-3 tablespoons of chopped leeks for every teaspoon of onion powder required in the recipe.

Celery: An excellent substitute for onion powder when you’re looking to add a touch of earthy, slightly sweet flavor to your dish. Its crisp texture also adds a pleasant crunch. Dice the it finely and use about a 1:1 replacement ratio.

Celery Seed: Another alternative to onion powder, offering a flavor that’s slightly stronger than fresh celery. It’s often used in soups, stews, and homemade pickles. Use a small amount of celery seed (about 1/4 teaspoon) for every teaspoon of onion powder called for in the recipe, and adjust to taste.

Fennel Bulbs: Fennel bulbs are a fantastic substitute for onion powder, providing a sweet, licorice-like flavor. Thinly slice or dice the fennel bulb and incorporate it into your dish to enjoy its unique taste. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped fennel bulb for every teaspoon of onion powder needed.

Scallions: Scallions, also known as green onions, can be a good alternative for onion powder. They have a milder flavor, making them ideal for dishes where you want a hint of onion taste without overpowering other flavors. Use both the green and white parts, finely chopped, as a replacement at a 1:1 ratio.

Chopped Chives: Fresh chives offer a delicate onion flavor that works well as a substitute for onion powder, especially in lighter dishes and garnishes. Sprinkle finely chopped chives onto your dish at the end of cooking to retain their subtle taste. Typically, use about 1 tablespoon of chopped chives in place of 1 teaspoon of onion powder.

What Can You Substitute Onion Powder With - Shallots

Spice Blends and Mix Substitutes

Onion Salt: A simple and effective onion powder substitute is onion salt. You might be wondering if you can substitute onion powder for onion salt. The answer is yes! Onion salt is versatile and works well in soups, stews, marinades, egg and tomato dishes, and various recipes. To use onion salt as a substitute, keep in mind that it’s a bit saltier than onion powder, so you’ll need to adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Homemade Onion Powder: Did you know you can make your own homemade onion powder? All you need is some fresh onions. Slice the onions thinly and dry them at a low temperature in the oven or a dehydrator. Once the onions are completely dry, grind them into a fine powder using a blender or a coffee grinder. Congratulations, you now have a handy onion powder substitute!

Soup Mixes: Another useful alternative are soup mixes. While it may seem unconventional, dry soup mixes, such as onion soup mix, can be a valuable onion powder alternative in various recipes. These mixes often contain onion powder along with other spices and flavors, so they can add depth to your dish. Keep in mind that soup mixes can be high in sodium, so you might need to adjust salt content in your recipe.

Spice Blends: Lastly, consider using spice blends as your onion powder substitute. You can find pre-made spice blends that contain onion powder, such as Italian seasoning or steak seasoning. These blends not only provide a hint of onion flavor but also enhance your dish with other complementary flavors. Experiment with these spice blends to find the perfect combination that suits your taste buds.


Navigating the culinary world means sometimes needing to improvise and adapt. Though this potent powder holds a revered spot in many kitchen cabinets, there are numerous worthy alternatives to consider when you’re in a bind or seeking a change. From dehydrated onion alternatives to diverse flavorful ingredients, there’s no reason for your dishes to lack the savory notes of onion. And if you are asking, which are the best substitutes for onion powder? Well, I’ll let your taste buds be the judge of that.

Remember, cooking is as much about creativity as it is about following recipes. So, the next time you’re out of onion powder or searching for a different spin, refer back to these alternatives and continue to make your dishes shine with zest and aroma.

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Gregory Knox
Gregory Knox

A certified nutritionist, father, and animal lover combines 13 years of veganism with his expertise in food and nutrition, offering readers a wealth of knowledge on plant-based diets and cooking.