Onion Powder Substitutes: 12 Alternatives

Published Categorized as Ingredients Tagged

Are you just about to start cooking a recipe but realize you forgot to buy some precious onion powder? Perhaps you have run out of your favorite brand and dare not touch the congealed stuff at the back of the cardboard. Are there any onion powder substitutes that can get the job done as effectively as onion powder?

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You need hunt no further, for today I have lined up 12 such possibilities for your inspection.

Onion Powder Substitute: 12 Apt Alternatives

Table of Contents

Onion Powder Substitution Chart

SubstituteRatio of substitution (per 1 tsp of onion powder)
Onion flakes1 tbsp onion flakes
Dried mince onion1 tbsp dried mince onion
Granulated onion2 tsp granulated onion
Fresh onions3 tbsp fresh chopped onions
Onion salt1 tsp
Onion paste1 tsp
Chopped chivesto taste
Scallionsto taste
Shallotsto taste
Garlic powder1/2 tsp garlic powder
Leeksto taste
Chopped celery/Fennel bulbto taste
Onion Powder Quantity Equivalent Substitution Chart

1. Onion Flakes

Arguably the greatest substitute for onion powder out there – including fresh onion for that matter – dried onion flakes are essentially just dried onion that hasn’t been ground into powder. Since it is already so dry it can easily be powdered at home, either with a pestle and mortar (old-school style) or with a blender.

If, though, you intend to keep the flakes whole, then you will want to convert them on the basis of one tablespoon of flakes to one teaspoon of onion powder, though there will be space for more conversions later in the list.

Onion Flakes – 14 oz
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2. Dried Minced Onion

Otherwise known as jarred minced onion, this is a similar ingredient to onion flakes, though in this instance it is more finely ground before being kept in its packaging. It is, however, ultimately still more coarse than onion powder.

Thus, in the same way as onion flakes above, you can turn minced onion into a powder through the same methods: via mortar and pestle or a blender.

Similarly, if you intend to just use minced onion without grinding it down, then you will want to use a conversion of one tablespoon of minced onion to one teaspoon of onion powder.

Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Onion Minced, 15 Ounce
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3. Granulated Onion

This substitute for onion powder is arguably the closest you can get to onion powder commercially other than buying the real deal. Granulated onion and onion powder are indeed very similar. The key difference lies in the coarseness of each substance.

Where onion powdered is, as the name suggests, ground down into a powdery and more soft substance, granulated onion is ground down but not quite to the same extent. This granulated onion is more likely to exhibit the consistency of sugar.

In the same way as above, you can either grind down this substance further until it is more of a powder, or you can use double the amount in place of onion powder owing to the fact that there is decreased surface area compared to actual powdered onion.

McCormick Granulated Onion, 18 oz
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4. Fresh Onion

Of course, if you haven’t got any onion powder around, why not turn to fresh onions to get the job done?

Onion powder exhibits a much more concentrated flavor than fresh onion, so you will need to work on the math of the substitution a bit.

Looking at it on paper, one teaspoon of onion powder is broadly equivalent to around three tablespoons of freshly chopped onions.

Compared with powdered onion, fresh onions also exhibit a considerably higher water content which should be adjusted to when using other ingredients in a recipe focused on onion powder.

5. Onion Salt

Another various on the theme of onion comes in the form of onion salt.

In much the same way that garlic salt takes garlic and salt and attempts to combine them as an additive condiment of sorts, onion salt sees the marrying of onion powder or granulated onion with salt.

If you are going to use this as a 1:1 substitute for onion powder – which it is indeed possible to do – then ensure that you reduce the relative use of other salty elements in your recipe too.

Trader Joe's Onion Salt
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6. Onion Paste

While mainly used in the flavoring of sauces and soups, onion paste can also be a pretty helpful substitute for onion powder. The best part is you can even make your own at home:

  • Chop and blend the desired amount of onion in a blender into a fine paste.
  • Freeze it for safe keeping or use it straight away (you can even freeze it in an ice cube tray for easy and quick implementation.

In terms of conversion, you will want to use about one or more tablespoons of onion paste for one tablespoon of onion powder, depending on the dish. Think of the use of fresh onion from earlier for reference.

ANAAJ VALLEY Onion Paste – 350g Red Onion Paste – Vegetable and Cooking Paste – Freshly Ground Onion – Adds Taste and Flavor in Food – All Natural | Traditional Taste | NON-GMO | Thick & Grainy
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7. Chopped Chives

If your recipe is calling for a drier style of spice mix – the kind offered in spades by onion powder – then this might not be the most suitable alternative. However, if you are looking to broadly replicate that signature onion flavor in dishes with a little more room to maneuver in this regard, then chopped chives might be a worthy contender.

They can also be used as a garnish to trick the taste buds into imagining the presence of onion in a dish.

McCormick Gourmet All Natural Chives, 0.12 oz
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8. Scallions

In much the same way as you might treat chopped chives in a dish to replicate the feel of onion, you can also use scallions to get the job done. They work equally as part of the overall recipe or as a garnish atop the finished product.

Remember that these, along with chives, are not to be used for dishes that require a dry spice flavor.

9. Shallots

Hey, aren’t those things just little onions? Well, not quite, but they are a member of the broad onion family. And they can be called upon to provide that signature onion flavor at a moment’s notice.

Unlike using fresh onion to replicate onion powder, you will want to use these like you would use chives and scallions. Shallots exhibit a more intense, wet flavor that might not always be suitable.

10. Garlic Powder

Though at first glance this might seem like a bit of a faux pas, onion powder and garlic powder are incredibly closely related and are actually used in many dishes together. They are indeed very complimentary of one another and might be likened to a couple of actors that are often paired together in blockbuster movies because of their signature on-screen chemistry.

Because of Garlic’s inherently stronger flavor, you will likely want to start using half the amount of garlic powder as you would onion powder and proceed onward accordingly.

Spice Classics Garlic Powder, 16 oz - One 16 Ounce Container of Garlic Powder, Best to Flavor Vegetables, Grilled Meats, Salads, Dressings and More
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11. Leeks

Also broadly related to the onion family is the leek. Much lauded in the culinary world for its girthy stalk and rich aroma, this vegetable is tougher than chives, scallions, and shallots, so you will preferably want to use them in recipes that allow them to cook down a considerable amount before consumption.

Alternatively, you can sauté them down first so they are a little softer, after which you can get away with using them as you would use any of the other alternatives listed above.

12. Chopped Celery/Fennel Bulb

Though it is always preferable to use a substitute for onion powder that is actually from the onion family, in times of need celery and fennel can provide the palate with a similarly aromatic flavor which is, however, altogether far less pronounced than other onion substitutes.

In a similar way to other wetter onion powder substitutes elucidated above, you will want to ensure that you are reducing the liquid content of other ingredients in the recipe, lest your result be a swampy, boggy mess of fluids.

Onion Powder Substitute: 12 Apt Alternatives

Onion Powder Alternatives

So, there you have it! Hopefully, you have now found a substitute onion powder for you to use at home and elsewhere!

Any substitutes I missed? Let me know in the comments!

FAQs Onion Powder Substitute

What can I use if I don’t have onion powder?

Hey there, relax! There’s no need to worry if you can’t find your onion powder! In fact, there are plenty of things you can use instead of onion powder which, though not exactly the same, achieve broadly the same thing. Granulated onion, for example, is essentially just powdered onion that is more coarse, and the same goes for minced onion which is more coarse than granulated onion, as well as with onion flakes, which are the next step up from minced onion. All of these can be ground down to onion powder or can be substituted for varying measurements.

What is a substitute for 1 teaspoon of onion powder?

This will depend on exactly what you are using to do the substituting. For example, if you were to substitute onion powder with, say, granulated onion, then you would only need to use two times as much of the latter as you would of the former. This is because the finer a substance is, the greater its overall surface area. Since granulated onion is coarser than onion powder, it will have around half the overall surface area.

What is the equivalent of onion powder to an onion?

If you are seeking to use fresh onion in place of onion powder – or indeed vice versa – then you will want to use a conversion scale. Onion powder is a far more concentrated form of onion flavor, so the two certainly can’t be used on a 1:1 scale. For every teaspoon of onion powder, you might use in a recipe, you would want to use an equivalent of three tablespoons of chopped fresh onions. This way, you will be given a broadly approximate intensity of flavoring.

Is onion powder necessary?

While onion powder is an incredibly potent and effective flavoring, it is altogether reasonable to ask oneself whether it is necessary. There are certainly plenty of replacements out there to choose from, such that, if onion powder were suddenly unable to reproduce, humanity would get on just fine. Onion powder’s immediacy and convenience would, however, be sorely missed among those in the culinary world. Thus, it stands to the court that, though onion powder is not exactly necessary, its convenience is something that many would simply rather not do without.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind CooksDream.com, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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