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Onion Powder Substitute (7 Best Swaps + Ratios)

Onion Powder Substitute (7 Best Swaps + Ratios)

If you’re out of onion powder or can’t find it in a store near you, one of these 7 options is likely the best onion powder substitute for your needs.

Dehydrating and grinding onions transforms them into onion powder, a seasoning commonly used in seasoned salt and spice blends, like beau monde seasoning. Onion powder has numerous culinary uses–from seasoning mixes to direct cooking. 

While you can make it at home, there may be times you need an alternative due to its unavailability or simply a personal preference. In this article, we list six alternatives to onion powder, complete with recommended ratios and other helpful tips. 

Our top 7 onion powder substitutes are:

SubstituteRatio to Onion Powder
Fresh Onions1 small onion per 1 tsp
Onion Flakes1:1
Garlic Powder1/2 tsp per 1 tsp
Onion Puree3 tbsp per 1 tsp
Scallions/Leeks3 tbsp chopped per 1 tsp
Shallots2-3 minced shallots per 1 tsp
Onion Salt3-4 tsp per 1 tsp
A glass jar of onion powder sits on a table.

Understanding Onion Powder

Onion powder is a seasoning made from dried and ground onions. It’s prepared by hot air drying onion slices followed by grinding. This process preserves the distinct onion flavor, which makes it an excellent addition to dishes like soups, stews, and sauces. 

The seasoning has a robust, savory taste with a subtle hint of sweet flavor characterizing its flavor. It also lends depth and complexity to recipes without fresh onions. 

Onion powder makes food taste better with its onion flavor. It also offers the advantage of easy storage and a longer shelf life compared to fresh onions.

Top Substitutes for Onion Powder

Now that you know more about onion powder, let’s explore some great substitutes for onion powder. Keep in mind that while they may not taste exactly the same, they offer a similar flavor.

1. Fresh Onions

Fresh onions are a fantastic substitute for onion powder. You get that authentic onion flavor and a satisfying crunch when using fresh onions. 

It works well in recipes that require cooking onions, like soups, sautés, and stir-fries. For recipes needing a smooth finish, like gravies or dressings, they might not be the best choice.

Use 1 small fresh onion for every teaspoon of onion powder.

2. Onion Flakes

Another reliable alternative is onion flakes. These flakes are pieces of dried onions that retain much of their flavor. They provide a similar texture to onion powder and work well with soups, stews, meat dishes, dressings, and dips. 

To substitute onion powder with onion flakes, use an equal amount.

Note:  In some dishes, especially those with less moisture, you might want to rehydrate the onion flakes before use. This can be done by soaking them in a small amount of water for a few minutes.

3. Garlic Powder

While not precisely the same, garlic powder can substitute for onion powder if you desire a different but equally appealing flavor. It has a pungent, slightly sweet taste with a hint of garlic, ideal for marinades, roasted vegetables, and garlic bread.

Keep in mind, though, that garlic powder has a more robust flavor, so it’s recommended to start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.

Substitute 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder for every teaspoon of onion powder.

4. Onion Puree

Onion puree is another great substitute that adds onion flavor to recipes. It’s made by blending cooked onions into a smooth paste. Ideal for dishes with high water content, like soups and stew, onion puree can be made at home or found in stores. 

Remember that puree has a higher water content when substituted for onion powder, so you may need to slightly reduce other liquids in your recipe or simmer the puree in a saucepan to evaporate some water. 

Substitute 3 tablespoons of onion puree for every teaspoon of onion powder.

5. Scallions/Leeks

Scallions or leeks can step in as substitutes for a milder onion flavor with a touch of green. These ingredients bring a fresh and slightly garlicky note to dishes. Chop them finely and use them in recipes where you desire a delicate onion flavor, like salads or garnishes.

Replace 3 tablespoons of finely chopped scallions or leeks for every teaspoon of onion powder.

6. Shallots

With their mild, onion-like flavor and subtle garlic notes, shallots can be an excellent onion powder substitute. They work wonders in sauces, dressings, and gourmet dishes where you require a more refined and nuanced onion flavor.

Replace 2 to 3 finely minced shallots for every teaspoon of onion powder. 

Tip: Shallots have a milder flavor than regular onions, so you may want to use more to achieve a similar oniony taste.

7. Onion Salt

Onion salt can serve as a handy substitute for onion powder, especially in sauces, dressings, and gourmet recipes where a subtle and sophisticated onion touch is desired. However, due to its salt content, always adjust other seasonings to maintain the perfect flavor balance in your dish.

Use 3 to 4 teaspoons of onion salt for every teaspoon of onion powder. 

These ratios are approximated and should be adjusted based on your preferences and the dish you’re preparing. Always taste your dish as you go along to achieve the desired flavor.

A white scoop containing onion powder sits on a light-colored table.

How to Use Substitutes in Recipes

When swapping onion powder with substitutes in recipes, follow these simple steps:

Choose the right substitute

Select a suitable alternative, like fresh onions, garlic powder, or shallots, based on your taste preferences and the dish you’re making.

Adjust quantities

Modify the quantity of the substitute to match the onion powder. Use approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cups of finely chopped fresh onions, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, or 1 to 2 minced shallots for every teaspoon of onion powder.

Taste as you go

Throughout cooking, taste your dish to gauge the flavor. You may need to add more of the substitute to achieve the desired onion taste.

Consider flavor depth

Be mindful of how the substitute affects the overall flavor profile. Fresh onions provide a more robust onion flavor, while shallots offer a milder, nuanced taste. Adjust accordingly.

Texture matters

Substitutes like fresh onions or shallots contribute texture, which can be desirable in some recipes but not others. Consider the impact on your dish. 

Following these guidelines, you can seamlessly introduce onion powder substitutes into your recipes, ensuring that your dishes maintain a delightful taste and meet your expectations.

The bottom line

Several flexible substitutes, like fresh onions, garlic powder, and shallots, can replace onion powder. Each of these alternatives brings its unique flavor, enhancing dishes in different ways. 

Some alternatives might be stronger or more pungent than others, so starting with smaller amounts and gradually adding more is a good approach. The key is to trust your palate and adjust accordingly.

More About Onion

7 Best Substitutes For Onion Powder

7 Best Substitutes For Onion Powder

If you're out of onion powder or can't find it in a store near you, one of these 7 options is likely the best onion powder substitute for your needs.


  • Fresh Onions - 1 small onion for 1 t onion powder
  • Onion Flakes - 1:1 ratio
  • Garlic Powder - 1/2 t for 1 t onion powder
  • Onion Puree - 3 T for 1 t onion powder
  • Scallions/Leeks - 3 T chopped for 1 t onion powder
  • Shallots - 2 to 3 minced shallots for 1 t onion powder
  • Onion Salt - 3 to 4 t for 1 t onion powder


  1. Replace onion powder with one of our 7 recommended options. 
  2. Use one of the above ratios when substituting for onion powder in a recipe.

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