If you’re working your way through a recipe and are all out of onion powder, never fear! We’ll find you the perfect substitute for onion powder in any recipe. Here are the best substitutions for onion powder (and you probably have at least one of these in your kitchen)!
What is Onion Powder?
Onion powder is a substitute for an onion that is used in cooking. It can be used as a seasoning or as an ingredient in many dishes, especially meat dishes. Onion has a way of giving savory dishes a well-rounded flavor is one of the most common flavor builders people use!
Onion powder is made from dehydrated onions, which are ground into a fine powder. It has a similar flavor to fresh onions, but more concentrated. It’s an excellent way to boost a recipe’s flavor with minimal effort! Plus, it’s a great alternative to fresh onions in a pinch.
Onion powder is often used as a substitute for onion because it doesn’t spoil quickly and it has a long shelf life. It’s especially popular for people on the keto diet because you get the onion flavor with way fewer carbs!
What are the Best Substitutions for Onion Powder?
There are so many great substitutions for onion powder, but they aren’t all completely interchangeable. It’s important to understand how you’re using onion powder in the first place. For example, are you cooking it in a recipe? Is it meant to make something tasty really oniony? Or are you using it for its aromatic properties?
If you need an onion powder substitute that has a strong oniony flavor, try one of these ideas!
Summary: Replace onion powder with other dried onions like granulated, minced, and flaked. If you don’t have those, substitute raw onions instead! Keep reading for more options & specifics.
Dried Onion Substitutions for Onion Powder
Granulated onion is one of the best substitutes for onion powder because it’s basically the same thing! The only difference is the size of the granules.
Use 2 times as much granulated onion as onion powder
Minced onion is made from small pieces of onions that are dehydrated. They are the same basic ingredient as onion powder except they aren’t a powder! You can crush your minced onion with a mortar and pestle or food processor to make your own onion powder.
Use 3 times as much minced onion as you need for onion powder.
Just like minced onion, dehydrated onion flakes are also dehydrated onion pieces. They’re simply larger pieces than minced and granulated onion pieces. Blitz them up in your coffee grinder for a DIY onion powder!
Use 3 times as many onion flakes as you need for onion powder.
To find the right amount of onion flakes to use in place of onion powder, triple your measurement. For example, use 3 tablespoons of onion flakes to replace 1 tablespoon of onion powder.
Homemade onion powder
Did you know you can make your own onion powder? It might not be exactly what you’re looking for if you need an onion powder swap right away, but you might want to try it!
Simply slice your onions into thin slices and allow them to dehydrate in the oven at its lowest temperature. It will take 3-5 hours but once they are fully dried out, you can crush them into a powder.
We like to make this green onion powder which is another great onion powder substitute! You could also use this green onion salt, although it will have a much milder flavor and is better as a garnish.
Onion salt is an excellent substitute for onion powder because it’s actually made with onion powder! Onion salt is a combination of onion powder and salt. This means that you can remove the salt from your recipe and use onion salt instead.
Since the amount of onion powder in onion salt is not consistent, it’s hard to know exactly how much you need to replace the specific amount of onion powder in your recipe. I recommend starting with the same amount of onion salt as onion powder. If it’s not too salty and you want more onion flavor, add a little more. Just keep tasting as you go to make sure you aren’t oversalting your recipe.
Replace a teaspoon of onion powder with a teaspoon of onion salt, but skip the salt in your recipe!
Just like onion salt, you’ll want to be wary of the salt content in your recipe. Start with half as much garlic salt as onion powder and taste the recipe as you go to make sure it isn’t too salty. Garlic is a great onion swap, but a little goes a long way!
Replace half of the onion powder with garlic salt
You can substitute onion powder with garlic powder, but you will need less since garlic has a stronger taste.
Use 2/3rd as much garlic powder as onion powder for best results
Check your spice mixes
So many seasoning mixes include onion powder! Check your ingredients lists. It’s very possible you’ll find a seasoning salt with a hearty dose of online powder. If the other seasonings make sense in your recipe, consider adding some to your recipe! Just be way of the amount of salt and consider skipping the rest of the salt in your recipe.
For example, onion soup mix is loaded with onion flavor! Just use a small amount and watch out for the added salt.
Fresh Onion Substitutions for Onion Powder
You can replace onion powder with any of the following onion relatives. These swaps are best for recipes that cook the onion. Otherwise, the fresh, raw onion will be too sharp for most recipes.
Because the intensity of raw onion products will vary, these are approximate measurements. They will add great flavor, but may not be a perfect substitution for onion powder. However, they’ll work just fine in a pinch!
Use raw chopped onions
If your recipe requires you to cook the onion powder, try cooking raw minced onion instead! Onion powder is just dehydrated onion, which means it has less moisture and a concentrated flavor.
Replace 1 tbs of onion powder with a whole medium onion
Does the type of onion matter? Typically, yellow onions and white onions have a stronger flavor than red onions. When you’re cooking onions down though, they’ll be very similar in terms of flavor.
Remember that there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon so you can replace 1 tsp of onion powder with 1/3 of an onion.
Shallot has a milder, more subtle flavor than regular onion. You’ll need more shallot to replace your onion powder than raw onion.
Replace one teaspoon of onion powder with 1 minced shallot
Scallions, green onions, and spring onions
These immature onions are another great way to get onion flavor in any recipe! Focus on just the whites as the greens will have a milder flavor.
Replace one teaspoon of onion powder with about 1/4 cup sliced green onions
Leeks are part of the onion family and have a milder flavor. Just like green onions, focus on the white bulb portion of the leeks. You’ll want to slice them really thin. They taste best when they’re cooked (especially in butter).
Replace one teaspoon of onion powder with about 1/4 cup of thinly sliced leeks.
Garlic is a member of the onion family (allium), but has a more robust, unique flavor. In a pinch, you can add a little garlic to replace your onion powder. Just be careful! One shake too many will take your dish from oniony to garlicky.
Replace 1 teaspoon onion powder with 1 clove of minced garlic.
Did you know you can cook down onions in a paste and store them in the freezer? This is a great way to preserve excess onions and concentrate some of their flavor down. They’re a great addition to soups and stews, especially with beef!
You can even freeze it in an ice cube tray to use as desired.
Alternative Substitutions for Onion Powder
Now that we’ve worked through the best onion powder substitutes, let’s think about some creative swaps that give an onion-like flavor.
I love using celery seed in my kitchen because it has an unexpectedly pungent flavor. You can crush celery seed or find celery seed powder. I’d recommend replacing your onion powder with about half as much celery seed powder.
Just like onion salt, celery salt has an herby punch that can really refresh a recipe. Be sure to taste as you go to make sure your dish isn’t too salty!
Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant and it has a delicious, nutty flavor when crushed into a powder. This unique, aromatic flavor can really enhance your recipe. Consider replacing half of the onion powder with coriander.
Which substitutions for onion powder are the best?
Personally, I think you should stick with substitutions for onion powder that are the closest to regular powdered onion: granulated, minced, or flaked onion. After that, your best option to get that onion taste without onion powder is to cook down fresh, minced onions. Remember that 1 medium onion replaces 1 tablespoon of onion powder! Scale that up or down depending on how much you need.
Onion powder is an important ingredient in every home cook’s spice cupboard! It helps build so much flavor and is a key ingredient in many recipes.
Do you have a favorite substitute for onion powder?
Have you ever tried some of the more unusual substitutions for onion powder out there like fennel, chives, or even paprika? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Share them in the comments below.