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5 BEST Substitutes for Onions: Flavor Boost

Onion is one of the major ingredients in most recipes. But, some people suffer from allergies as onions cause allergies.

Therefore some people look for the best substitutes for onions.

However, this root vegetable belongs to the Allium family, and the other members include leeks, garlic, scallion, chives, and shallot.

Onions are used in all cuisines globally as it adds a spicy flavor to everything including stir-fries, stews, and soups.

However, you cannot replace onions with other alternatives when the onion is the main ingredient, such as pickled or roasted onions.

But, if it is used as a secondary ingredient, you can look for other alternatives for onions.

Here are some of the best substitutes for onions that you can use in place of onions to reduce allergy symptoms.

What is Onion?

what is onion

It is also popularly known as a common onion or bulb onion.

It is a very popular root vegetable cultivated widely worldwide, and it is a well-known vegetable among other genus Allium varieties.

Shallot joined the family of Allium only in 2010 before it was categorized as a separate species.

Shallot is a botanical type of onion. Onions make dishes taste flavorful, and you can feel you eating real food.

That is why there is no proper substitute for onion, as it carries a special aroma and flavor.

What are the best substitutes for an onion? Well, here, you can find the five best substitutes for onions that can help you relish your dish even without onions.

They are very sweet, aromatic, and savory vegetables, making them a staple ingredient in any recipe.

When you eat raw onion, you can feel the spicy flavor, but when cooked, they get caramelized and become soft, giving out a sweet flavor.

5 Best Substitutes for Onions

1 – Shallot


Shallot is one of the best substitutes for onions. Shallots are small onions and contain a mild and delicate flavor.

The flavor of shallot works well as an alternative for onions.

You can use shallots for sautés, soups, or risottos for better taste and flavor.

As shallots are smaller than onions, you have to use more shallots to replace one onion.

The substitution ratio for one medium onion equals two large shallots, four medium shallots, or six small shallots.

2 – Leek


This is another substitute for onions, and it is a member of the allium family.

This vegetable has a mild onion flavor and looks like the big brother to the green onion or scallion.

Leeks look like long and large green onions, and they can be eaten raw and cooked.

You can substitute chopped leeks with chopped onion to get a better flavor.

Leeks have a peculiar flavor; it has a mild garlic onion flavor, considered a more refreshing and trendy flavor than an onion.

The substitution ratio for one medium chopped onion is equal to one large leek.

3 – Green Onion or Raw or Cooked Scallions

green onion or raw or cooked scallions

If you cannot consume onions for some reason, try using scallions instead of onions in your favorite recipes.

Scallion is a popular ingredient, and it is also called green onion or spring onion.

The flavor is similar to onion but not as strong and intense.

Green onions are also called scallion, and they give out a mild onion flavor and can be used to replace cooked or raw applications.

Green onions are smaller than shallots, so when you use green onion in the place of onion, make sure to cut more green onion to get an equal amount of onion.

The substitution ratio for one medium onion (chopped) equals six to eight medium green onions.

4 – Fennel


Fennel is a vegetable that is used widely in Europe and South Asia.

Fennel has a mild licorice flavor with anise, and it is usually eaten raw or just cooked to maintain its crispiness.

Fennel can be considered the best substitute for onion when you cannot eat onions for medical reasons such as stomach upset or gas problems.

Fennel is crunchy and has a fresh, aromatic flavor.

Though fennel resembles an onion, the raw fennel contains a solid black licorice flavor.

But, if you use cooked fennel, it can come a bit closer to the onion flavor.

Also, fennel adds a refreshing taste to stews and soups, and the flavor and the aroma that you get from the cooked dish are irresistible.

The substitution ratio for one large to medium onion equals one fennel bulb or one and a half cups chopped fennel.

5 – Chives


Chives are the smallest member of the onion family, and they have a very mild flavor.

You can use chives in place of onions in salads, sauces, or cream cheese.

They are also perfect for dips and dressings due to their delicate taste.

Chives are generally used in place of the onion because they have a very mild flavor.

Chives can be added raw or sautéed; they provide a light onion flavor that is not overpowering.

The best thing about chives is that it does not leave you with an aftertaste because it has a mild flavor.

The substitution ratio for one medium onion is equal to four to six tablespoons of chopped chives.


Onions are available in different colors, shapes, flavors, and sizes.

The most standard types are white, yellow, and red onions.

People cultivate different varieties of onions depending on the season.

Onions are one of the most beneficial ingredients and the best staple vegetable used in most dishes.

However, some people are not accustomed to the strong smell and flavor of onion, and some are allergic to onion.

The substitutes mentioned above can help people who are allergic to onion, as these substitutes provide a similar flavor so they can enjoy their favorite dishes.

best substitutes for onions

The 5 Best Substitutes for Onions

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Shallot
  • Leek
  • Green Onion or Raw or Cooked Scallions
  • Fennel
  • Chives


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Follow the substitution ratio to determine how much is required in your recipe.
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