substitute for onion powder

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Have you just run out of onion powder? Are you looking for a suitable substitute for onion powder to use right now? If you are, then you’re in luck.  Here, we’ve taken the liberty to list 10 easy alternatives to onion powder for when you’re in a pinch.

And, while these substitutes will never 100% mimic the flavor of onion powder in your recipe, many of them do a decent job at adding some onion flavor to a dish!

substitutes for onion powder

What is onion powder?

Onion powder is a potent spice made from onions that have been either dehydrated, air dried, or freeze-dried, then ground into a fine powder. Onion powder typically has a sharp smell with just a hint of sweetness similar to that of fresh onions.

Uses of onion powder

Onion powder is very popular in most kitchens. As such, onion powder has many uses as shown below:

  • It is used in many savory recipes as a way to enhance flavor.
  • Used to season seafood, meats, vegetables, casseroles, soups, stews, eggs
  • Use to add to dressings, sauces, marinades, vinaigrettes, and more.

So, if you’re in the middle of making a recipe and you’ve just realized that you have no onion powder on hand, the best onion powder substitutes I’ve used are listed below. Again, nothing can truly mimic the exact flavor of onion powder. However, some good options that work as good substitutes for onion powder include:

  • Dehydrated minced onions
  • Dehydrated onion flakes
  • Fresh onions
  • Onion juice
  • Onion salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Chives
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Green onions

Let’s speak more about each in more detail below:

10 easy ways to substitute for onion powder

Dehydrated minced onions

One of the best substitutes for onion powder is dehydrated minced onions. Made by mincing, then dehydrating fresh onions, dehydrated minced onions are just as flavorful as onion powder.

Minced onions can be used to replace powdered onion in recipes such as beef stew, gumbo, salad dressings, dips, dry rubs, burgers, roast meats, and just about any other recipe that would call for onion powder.

In sauces, you may come across some pieces of minced onions that are harder to dissolve.

Or, you can simply use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind the dehydrated minced onions into a powder form and use them in equal amounts as an onion powder substitute.

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1 tablespoon minced onions

Dehydrated onion flakes

Onion flakes are another great way to replace onion powder in cooking. Onion flakes are coarsely chopped fresh onions that have been dehydrated to form flakes.

Onion flakes have less potency than you would find in onion powder, but, in a pinch, they can be used as a substitute for onion powder at a 1:3 ratio.

Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon onion powder = 3 teaspoons onion flakes

Fresh onions

fresh onions

Fresh onions are a great onion powder alternative in certain dishes. While onion powder has more concentrated flavors than fresh onions, it can definitely work in a crunch for recipes like certain sauces, soups, stews, or chowders.

Note that onions have lots of water. In fact, they are 89% water, so you will likely need to adjust the other liquids in your recipe to reflect that extra water.

Also, fresh onions will add more substance and texture to the recipe than the onion powder would not have added, so keep that in mind as well. Otherwise, fresh onions are a great onion powder replacement that you likely have in your kitchen right now.

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1 cup chopped onion

Onion juice

Can’t find onion powder? Why not try out onion juice as a replacement? Onion juice is the juice extracted from fresh onions. You can buy onion juice to replace both onion powder or fresh onions easily. 

Onion juice can be used to enhance the flavors of many recipes including marinades, soups, stews, salads, sauces, meats and so much more. 

However, because it is a liquid, onion juice cannot be used in seasoning mixes.

Also, because it is a liquid, it can add more moisture to certain recipes so use and make adjustments to reflect that extra liquid added to the original recipe from the onion juice.

I personally like to use onion juice as a sub for onion powder in my eggs. In place of 1 teaspoon of onion powder, I simply use about ⅛ a teaspoon of onion juice in my egg recipes.

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1/2 teaspoon onion juice 

Onion salt

Onion salt is a mixture of table salt and onion powder sold in many retail stores. Typically the ratio of table salt to onion powder is roughly about 3:1.

This means that there is less onion powder found in onion salt and so you must make the adjustments to your recipe with this knowledge in mind. This may mean cutting back on the other sources of salt in the recipe.

Besides the table salt, one tablespoon of onion salt has 3 times less onion powder than 1 tablespoon of plain onion powder.

So, it is important to recognize that the flavor of onion may not be as strong as you may expect when using onion salt vs onion powder.

This ingredient is best used to replace onion powder in marinades, dips, and dry rubs. 

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1 tablespoon onion salt

Garlic powder

Garlic powder

Can I substitute onion powder for garlic powder? Yes, you can! 

While each of these powders has a different flavor profile, it is possible to substitute one for the other in some recipes such as soups, stocks, stews, and other such recipes.

Especially since naturally, the flavor of onion powder does have hints of garlic. 

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder


If you’re looking to impart a bit of onion flavor to a dish, chives are a great way to do so. They’re a member of the onion family and work well to substitute onion powder or onions in dishes like stir fries, added to vegetables, added to eggs, used to make creamy pasta sauces, or simply as a garnish for soups.

While chives have somewhat of a milder oniony flavor, in a pinch they can be used as a worthy onion powder replacement.

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1/2 cup finely minced chives


substitutes for onion powder

Chives and leeks have very similar flavors. Therefore, in a pinch, you can also use leeks as a substitute for onion powder. 

Leeks are related to garlic, chives, shallots, and onions and have a sweet, oniony flavor.

So, if you ran out of onion powder, and the recipe will not be altered too much with the added texture or added bulk from the leeks, then finely mince up some leeks and add it to your dish for that sweet pungent onion-like flavoring.

Some recipes in which leeks can replace onion powder include soups, stews, casserole dishes, eggs, stir-fries, and more.

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1/2 cup finely minced leeks


Shallots can also act as a great alternative to onion powder. They have a mild onion-like flavor that can be used in dressings, stews, soups, stir-fries, sautés, and even marinades. This makes shallots an okay alternative to onion powder in a pinch.

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1/2 cup chopped shallots

Green onions

green onions

Another great substitute for onion powder is fresh minced green onions as they can both be used to add onion flavor to food.

Green onions make a good onion powder substitute because they can be used in recipes where some extra texture and bulk are not an issue like omelets, dips, stews, soups, stir-fried vegetables, meat dishes, etc. 

Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon onion powder = 1/2 cup finely minced green onions

These are our top substitutes for onion powder that you can use in a crunch. Most are very convenient as they’re easily accessible and easy to use in cooking. However, if you cannot find an onion powder substitute, consider this other option.

Learn how to make onion powder at home…

To make, use a dehydrator to dehydrate minced fresh onions.

Then, use a food processor or a blender to grind the dehydrated minced onions to a powder for your very own homemade onion powder! You can see exactly how to do this here

Recipes that use onion powder

Frequently asked onion powder substitution questions

What is the equivalent of onion powder to an onion?

For every teaspoon of onion powder, replace with 1 chopped small onion.

Can I replace onion powder with onion salt?

Yes! Onion salt is an ok substitute for onion powder. Onion salt is made with a combination of table salt and onion powder, typically at a 3:1 ratio. Onion salt thus contains more salt and you should always adjust the other sources of salt in the recipe so as not to have an overly salty dish. Also, because onion salt contains less onion powder, the onion powder flavor in your dish won’t be as strong compared to if you used onion powder itself.

Final thoughts

Many times I’ve gone to the grocery store and found no onion powder or sometimes I just run out without noticing. If you’ve ever had these experiences before, then you now have 10 more other items that you can pick up as onion powder replacement options in your cooking.

More substitutes for…

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