You will probably need a green onion substitute at one point or another because they are such a common and versatile ingredient! Green onions are featured in many different recipes, from cold salads to hot soups, sauces, and casseroles- they are even frequently served as the perfect garnish on many dishes. With this in mind, knowing the best green onion substitutes is bound to come in handy!
The Best Green Onion Substitutes
Green onions (aka scallions) are the perfect addition to many recipes. Whether added as a garnish or mixed in, they provide a mild onion flavor that doesn’t overpower a dish.
If you find you are out of green onions, you may think about just skipping them. While in many cases you can leave out the green onions, you don’t have to! With these delicious and simple substitutes, you can still have a flavor-rich recipe.
- The Best Green Onion Substitutes
- How To Choose A Green Onion Substitute
- 1. Chives
- 2. Shallots
- 3. Leeks
- 4. Ramps
- 5. White Onion
- 6. Yellow Onion
- 7. Red Onion
- 8. Garlic
- 9. Green Garlic
- 10. Green bell peppers
- 11. Dried green onions
- Seasonings to Use in a Pinch
- 12. Onion Powder
- 13. Onion Salt
- 14. Garlic Powder
- 15. Garlic Salt
- 16. Oregano
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How To Choose A Green Onion Substitute
There are many great options for green onion substitutes. Choosing the best for your recipe will depend on the purpose of the green onions.
If the green onions are meant to enhance flavor, any of the substitutes below will work. However, if you need a substitute that can also be used as a green garnish, chives, or any of the substitutes with “green” in the name are best.
Moreover, if you are fresh out of fresh ingredients – reach for one of the dry seasonings in your spice cabinet. While not an exact flavor substitution, these seasonings will give you a more flavorful dish than if you simply leave out the green onions.
A misconception is that chives and green onions are the same thing. They are not. However, they do have many similarities and are great substitutes for one another.
Chives are an herb, while green onions are a vegetable. Despite this difference, they both have a distinct oniony flavor. Although, chives are milder in taste than green onions.
The milder flavor profile of chives makes them an easy substitute for green onions. Since they won’t overpower other flavors, you can substitute them in a 1:1 ratio.
The mild flavor of chives does not hold up well in the heat though. Therefore, to maintain the flavor, only use chives raw in cold dishes or as a garnish.
If you want to learn more about the similarities and differences between these commonly confused foods, check out my green onions vs chives article.
If you haven’t cooked with shallots, you are missing out! These little bulbs are bursting with a complex flavor that is a little bit onion, a little bit garlic, and a little bit sweet.
Although they have a complex flavor, it is a softer overall taste (compared to onion and garlic). Their softer flavor makes them a great substitute for green onion. In addition, like green onions, they are delicious both cooked and raw.
Use chopped shallots in a 1:1 ratio for green onions in any recipe.
Leeks come from the same family as the green onion. They are part of the allium family that also includes, onions, shallots, and garlic. Hence, why they are all great substitutes for one another.
Leeks look a lot like a larger green onion. They have long green stalks and a white bulb at the end. However, they have a milder flavor than green onions.
Like chives, this milder flavor makes them a wonderful and easy substitute. You can swap leeks for green onions in a 1:1 substitution.
The best flavor comes from the bulb of the leek. Focus on using the lower end of the stalk and the bulb (rather than the green tops).
Ramps are sometimes referred to as wild leeks. They have a flavor that resembles a cross between garlic and onion. Although, it does lean more towards the garlic side.
Despite leaning towards garlic, ramps are still a great substitute for green onions! They can be used in a simple 1:1 ratio that will enhance the flavors in many recipes.
Avoid using them raw though, as they are best when cooked.
The only downside of this substitute is that it’s hard to find. So, you probably won’t have it easily accessible in a pinch. However, if you come across ramps at the store grab some to try out (even if you don’t need a substitute).
5. White Onion
White onions are fully matured onions. They have a stronger bite than their immature counterparts, green onions. These fully flavored onions are still a great substitute though.
While you can cook white onions, their flavor is best when used raw. Especially when replacing green onions. Use these chopped up in salads, dips, or salsa.
You can use white onion in a 1:1 ratio if you don’t mind a little bit more onion taste. To avoid too much oniony flavor, start with half and add more as desired.
6. Yellow Onion
Yellow onion is the most versatile of all the onions. It is also the most common one to have at home – making it one of the best substitutes.
While white onions are best used raw as a substitute, yellow onions shine as a cooked substitute. Their flavor is slightly subdued when cooked. They also have a very mild sweetness that softens the stronger onion flavor.
Yellow onions can be used in a 1:1 substitution for green onions. Like white onions, you may want to start with half and increase as desired.
7. Red Onion
Red onions have a similar taste to yellow onions. They are slightly more stringent though.
The flavor of red onions is most favored when eaten raw. This makes them a great choice for replacing green onions in salads or other cold dishes.
While their color is quite different than a green onion, the bold reddish-purple color can be a fun alternative to the right dish.
As with the other onions, red onions can be used in a 1:1 substitution. Again, you always have the option to start with less and add more to taste.
In addition to onion, garlic is one of the most popular foods for adding flavor while cooking. The flavor profile of garlic is quite different than any type of onion.
Despite their different flavor profiles, garlic can work as a wonderful flavor alternative to green onion. It will enhance the flavor of your recipe with a bold taste and aroma.
Garlic is much more pungent than green onion. Therefore, start with a small amount (about ¼ ratio). Add more slowly to reach your desired taste.
9. Green Garlic
Green garlic is less popular than green onions. It is essentially the immature version of garlic, like green onions are immature onions.
Just like green onions still have an oniony taste, green garlic still has a garlicky flavor. Therefore, it will not be an exact flavor exchange for green onions.
However, green garlic has an overall softer flavor profile compared to fully matured garlic. So, if you can find green garlic it is a better-suited substitute. It will give a softer and less pungent garlic flavor.
Start with half the amount the recipe calls for and add more if needed.
10. Green bell peppers
If the green onions are intended to add a little bit of color and texture to your recipe, consider using green bell peppers as an alternative. They won’t give you an onion flavor, but they will add a mild sweetness and crunch.
This substitute is best used for dips and salads, or for adding a crunchy garnish at the end of cooking.
Green bell peppers are very mild in flavor, so you can use a 1:1 substitution without overpowering the dish.
11. Dried green onions
Although they are not commonly talked about, dried green onions are quite common to find in stores. They are also easy to find online.
If you use green onions frequently then dried green onions are a good staple to have on hand. They have a long shelf life and can easily be used in any recipe. Although, they tend to do best in sauces and soups.
Unlike dried herbs that are more compounded in flavor dried green onions lose some flavor. So, while you will start with a 1:1 substitution, you may need to increase the ratio for a stronger onion flavor.
Seasonings to Use in a Pinch
In many recipes, green onions are not a primary ingredient. They are added in smaller quantities to simply enhance the other flavors. Therefore, if you find yourself without any fresh substitutes you can use dried seasoning.
The seasonings below will not be an exact flavor exchange for green onions. Moreover, these four seasonings are quite strong. Use them in small amounts to not overpower your recipe.
I suggest starting with as little as ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon. You can always add more, but it is hard to dilute the flavor if you add too much.
Dried seasonings are best used in recipes that you can easily mix the seasoning into: soups, salads, sauces, marinades, and casseroles.
Remember, these seasonings will shift the overall flavor of your dish. Choose the seasoning that is best suited to the recipe you are making.
12. Onion Powder
Made from dried ground onions. Will provide the closest flavor to green onions.
13. Onion Salt
A blend of onion powder and salt. Leave out any additional salt your recipe calls for.
14. Garlic Powder
The garlic version of onion powder. Made from dried ground garlic cloves.
15. Garlic Salt
A blend of garlic powder and salt. Leave out any additional salt your recipe calls for.
A popular ingredient used worldwide. Will lend an earthy and sweet flavor to your dish. Can be used in hot or cold dishes.
With so many easy green onion substitutes to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect ingredient for you on this list! Let us know what recipe you used a green onion substitute in and how it turned out!
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Best Green Onion Substitute: Chives (+More Great Alternatives!)
Best Green Onion Substitute - Chives
- 1 tablespoon chives (fresh, chopped)
More Great Green Onion Alternatives
- 1 tablespoon shallots (fresh, chopped)
- 1 tablespoon leeks (fresh, chopped)
- 1 tablespoon ramps (fresh, chopped)
Best Green Onion Substitute - Chives
- Chives are best used in cold dishes and as a garnish, although they can be used in hot foods. Use as an equal replacement for green onions in a 1:1 ratio.
More Great Green Onion Alternatives
- Additional alternatives that can also be used in a 1:1 ration for substitution include fresh shallots, leeks, and ramps.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!