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What’s The Best Substitute For Green Onion?

What’s The Best Substitute For Green Onion?

Are you looking for a substitute for green onion? We may have here the list you are looking for—everything from yellow onions, dried chives, green garlic, shallots and more. 

Green onions are known as delicious, crispy and gorgeous toppers on different dishes such as omelets, soup, tacos, dips and more. 

This versatile vegetable can add color and texture to your favorite meals. 

Also labeled as scallions, green onions are young shoots that have small stalks and bulbs.

They can also be grown in your backyard, as the bulbs and roots regenerate easily after the stalk has been removed. 

Green onions are also easy to find outside, as they are mostly sold in packages at your local market or grocery stores. 

However, if you were not able to secure green onions the last time that you went shopping, you can still complete your dish by using one or a combination of these 8 substitutes. 

Read on as we go through them one by one and teach you how to prepare them.

What flavor does green onion add?

Green onions consist of three parts, the roots, the bulb and the green stalk. 

The stalk itself is divided into two colors: light green, which is near the root, and dark green, which is at the tip. 

This versatile vegetable has distinct flavors. 

The bottom part tastes just like an onion, though it is more on the sweeter side and it is less pungent. 

The stalk, which is considered as its potent part, can be eaten raw. 

This is why it is placed as a garnish or ingredient in most dishes, and the taste is a mixture of onion and spice with a bit of grassy flavor. 

SubstituteSpecific Usage or Ratio to Green Onions
Chives1:1 ratio; similar flavor, milder and sweeter
Leeks1:1 ratio; use pale green and white parts, bolder flavor
Shallots1:1 ratio; sweeter and milder, use less in cooking
Ramps1:1 ratio; garlic aroma, milder taste
Red onionsStart with less, then adjust; stronger flavor
Green garlic1:1 ratio; milder than regular garlic
Yellow onionsUse 1/4 tbsp yellow onion for 1 tbsp green onion
Green bell peppersCombine with yellow onion for color and flavor

What part of green onions do I use?

As mentioned above, green onions have three parts: bulb, roots, and stalk. 

In most recipes that involve green onions, you will use the white bulb and light green portion that is just above the root. 

When it comes to garnish, the dark green leaves are the ones that you should use. 

You can sprinkle them on top of soups, casseroles, dips, roasts and other dishes. 

You don’t have to cook them, unlike the light green portion and the white bulb. 

Remember to properly wash and trim the green onions before you use them. 

Remove the wilted parts on the leaves and the slimy parts on the root before mixing it up with other ingredients.

Substitutes for green onion and how to use them

If you run out of green onions, don’t worry!

There are other vegetables and herbs that you can use instead. 

Below are the best substitutes for green onions that you can also find anywhere.

1. Chives

Often mistaken for green onions, chives are one of the best substitutes because they come from related plant species which means they grow in the same style. 

Compared to green onions, chives are smaller and they are darker. 

They are also more prone to damage and wilts easily. 

Chives have a much sweeter and milder flavor compared to green onions since it is technically an herb and not a vegetable. 

You can use them to add a bit of flavor to your favorite dish instead of using it as a primary ingredient while cooking. 

Note that chives cook faster compared to green onions, so if you do end up using it while cooking, it is advisable to adjust the cook times and keep an eye on your dish. 

Plus, you can get dried chives that are shelf stable and last for months stored in a dark, dry pantry—the same flavor readily at hand when you need them. 

Substitute chives for green onions in a 1:1 ratio.

How to use chives

You can use chives in making omelets and stir fry. If you have chives available, you can try Chinese chives and eggs stir fry.

2. Leeks

Just like chives, leeks are also similar to green onions but they are much larger. 

However, unlike green onions wherein you can eat the green stalks, you will have to remove the thick and dark green leaves of leeks.

The only parts that you can cook with are the pale green and white parts.

Leeks are only eaten fried or roasted. 

They are great substitutes for green onions in most recipes, though they have a bit of sour taste and they have a bolder flavor. 

Substitute leeks for green onions in a 1:1 ratio, meaning you can use the vegetable as a direct replacement.

How to use leeks

If you have leeks available and are looking for a recipe to use them with, then you can try our Kale & Leek Rice Casserole.

3. Shallots

Shallots are a lot sweeter compared to green onions. 

They are also milder in flavor and they don’t have the grassy smell that green onions have. 

Just like traditional onions, shallots are caramelized when cooked. 

Shallots are softer, so it is best to slice them into small pieces and use less of them than you would with green onions when cooking. 

Remember that shallots are recommended to be the substitute of green onions in cooked dishes. 

Substitute shallots for green onions in a 1:1 ratio.

How to use shallots

The sweet flavor of shallots make them ideal for a lot of saute dishes. If you are looking for a recipe for shallots, you can try shallot & red wine sauce.

4. Ramps

Ramps may not be as popular as the other vegetables and herbs mentioned above, but they do make a great stand-in for green onions. 

Finding ramps in grocery stores can be challenging, but if you do end up finding one, you can use them as a substitute for both green onions and garlic. 

This is because ramps have a garlic aroma and they taste a bit like them too. 

But ramps do have the same mild contribution in dishes as green onions. 

Feel free to substitute ramps for green onions in a 1:1 ratio.

How to use ramps (aka wild leeks)

Ramps may be hard to come by, but if you manage to purchase some, then you can try the delicious sweet and sour ramps recipe.

5. Red onions

Red onions have a stronger flavor compared to green onions, but they are a delicious addition to cooked recipes. 

If you do not have green onions to add in to your ingredients while cooking, red onions are a suitable stand-in. 

What makes red onions better than yellow and white onions is that you can eat them raw. 

This means that aside from adding them to cooked dishes, you can also add chopped red onions on tacos, potatoes, soups, condiments and as a garnish. 

To use them as a replacement, I recommend starting with a small quantity of red onion then build the recipe from there.

How to use red onions

Red onions can also be made as side dishes or appetizers. 

In fact, you can make pickled red onions and pair them with your main dish.

6. Green garlic

Green garlic is a young garlic plant. 

They are removed from the stalks of the plant when they grow above the ground. 

Green garlic is often harvested before the bulbs have matured.

This makes them milder in taste compared to regular garlic cloves. 

Because of its mild taste, they are a good substitute for green onion. 

Substitute green garlic for green onions in a 1:1 ratio.

How to use green garlic

There are a lot of amazing dishes that you can make using green garlic. 

Green garlic are just the immature bulbs of “regular” garlic. But you can use the shoots as you might with green onion. 

If you wish to make a meal to serve at dinner, then you can try spaghetti with green garlic and olive oil. 

7. Yellow onions

Yellow onions are pretty affordable, one of the most common vegetables that you can find in U.S. grocery stores. 

In fact, almost all households have yellow onions in their pantry. 

If you do not have any green onions for your dish, then you can always use yellow onions as a substitute. 

There are so many recipes that you can make using yellow onions, and their flavor is needed as a base and as the main player, like in roasted dishes and soups. 

While yellow onions are more potent than green onions, they can be used as a substitute for green onion as long as they are chopped and cooked properly. 

They are great to add in soups or omelets. 

To substitute, replace 1 tablespoon of green onion with 1/4 tablespoon of yellow onion in your recipe.

How to use yellow onions

You can use yellow onions to create a hearty soup. 

We made these amazing whole grilled sweet yellow onions and it’s still one of our favorite recipes to this day. Plus, there’s bacon.

8. Green bell peppers

Green bell peppers can add a lovely color and satisfying crunch to a recipe. 

You can use finely chopped green bell peppers as a substitute for green onion. 

These peppers can be added as a topping for omelets, soup, and roasted meat. 

The flavor is also there, as green bell peppers have a mild garlic-like flavor but they can be eaten raw. 

For best results, combine green bell pepper and yellow onion to get that green hue and onion taste in your recipes.

How to use green bell peppers

What makes green bell peppers unique is that aside from using them as toppers, they can also be filled with delicious ingredients. 

They can serve as a container. 

One such recipe is our tried-and-true no-rice Italian Stuffed Peppers.

Want to freeze a mighty batch of fresh and crunchy bell peppers? Check out these 3 easy freezing steps!

The bottom line

Green onions are delicious toppings and garnish that adds color and flavor in every dish that it can be added to.

Read up on the different types of onions, too, in case what you have on hand isn’t listed here. 

Luckily, since green onions are part of a massive plant family, you can always substitute it with the vegetables and herbs listed above. 

If prepared correctly, these substitutes can make the dishes tastier. 

You can also learn how to cut and store green onions at home so you can easily throw them in your recipes anytime!

Substitute For Green Onion: Fresh Chives

Substitute For Green Onion: Fresh Chives

Fresh chives are a good replacement for green onions.


  • Chives


  1. Substitute fresh chives for green onions in a 1:1 ratio.

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A close-up photo of a white plate topped with green onions.

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