If you take a look at spice sets in kitchens all around the world, you will most likely find onion powder in the vast majority of them. It is a type of seasoning that adds a unique flavor to dishes from different cuisines.
As savory and important as the seasoning is, however, it is anything but irreplaceable. If you are looking for the perfect substitute for onion powder, there is an extensive list of options you can check out.
1. Onion Flakes
At its core, onion powder is made of dehydrated onion flakes that have been ground into a fine powdery substance. Thus, the flakes make for a perfect substitute for onion powder.
When adding the flakes to your dish, you can either keep them whole or grind them into powder yourself. If you keep the flakes whole, the substitution works like this:
1 Tsp onion powder = 1 Tbsp whole onion flakes.
2. Jarred Minced Onion
Similarly to onion flakes, minced onion also consists of dehydrated onion. However, it is ground into a powder that is still more coarse than regular fine onion powder. Still, the substitute will add just as much rich flavor as the powder. The most important thing is to add the minced onion in the following ratio:
1 Tsp onion powder = 1 Tbsp jarred minced onion.
3. Granulated Onion
In all the ways that count, granulated onion and onion powder are the same. The only difference between the two is the fact that granulated onion is more coarse. Still, it is less coarse than minced onion. You can substitute the two ingredients as follows:
1 Tsp onion powder = 2 Tsp granulated onion.
4. Fresh Onion
Fresh onion can be a fantastic substitute for onion powder. However, the powder is much more concentrated, so you will need a larger amount of fresh onions for whatever you are making:
1 Tsp onion powder = 3 Tbsp fresh chopped onions.
You should also bear in mind that fresh onion is quite watery. Thus, you’ll need to adjust the amount of water and any other liquids that you have to add to your dish.
5. Onion Paste
If you are making any type of sauce or soup and don’t have onion powder at hand, onion paste can be a great substitute. The best thing about the paste is that you can make it yourself from ingredients that you most likely already have at home.
To make the paste, chop an onion or two and put it into a blender. Blend it into a fine paste, and then use as follows:
1 Tsp onion powder = 1 Tbsp onion paste.
Since the paste isn’t as concentrated as the powder, you can add more than the ratio above suggests. It all depends on your preferences and what dish you are making. If you make more paste than you need at the present, you can simply freeze the rest and use it the next time you make your sauce or soup.
6. Onion Salt
As its name suggests, onion salt is a combination of onion powder or granulated onion and salt. You can use this substitute in the following ratio:
1 Tsp onion powder = 1 Tsp onion salt.
However, you need to be careful when it comes to adding any more salt. This seasoning is salty enough as it is, so you shouldn’t overdo it. The best thing to do is to try out the dish after adding the onion salt. That way, you’ll see whether you need more salt and add it (or not) accordingly.
7. Chopped Chives
If you don’t specifically need a dry onion powder mix and just want your dish to have the rich onion flavor, chopped chives can help you. When you finish cooking your dish, add finely chopped chives onto it as a garnish. Generally speaking, you can add as much as you want and prefer. But for the flavor to be almost exactly the same as if you had added the powder during cooking, add the chives as follows:
1 Tsp onion powder = 20 g fresh chives.
Leeks can be a great substitute for onion powder in soups or any dishes that require longer cooking. You can chop them up into stews and let them cook until they are fully soft. They will add the unmistakable onion-like flavor to the meal, and you’ll also enjoy all their health benefits.
Alternatively, you can sauté the leeks in a pan until they are soft and then add them to a dish that doesn’t require as much cooking. The result will be pretty much the same as with stews or soups. Use this substitute in the following ratio:
1 Tsp onion powder = 30 g leeks.
Shallots are another member of the onion family that can add the same flavor you love to your dish. You should use them the very same way you’d use chives, as a garnish:
1 Tsp onion powder = 20 g shallots.
Similar to shallots and chives, you can add scallions to a finished dish for that oniony taste you like:
1 Tsp onion powder = 20 g scallions.
Just make sure you don’t add them to a dish that actually requires dry onion spice.
11. Chopped Celery/Fennel Bulb
Naturally, it is best to choose any of the onion-related vegetables above to replace onion powder. However, if you don’t have any of them, celery or fennel bulb can help. They will add a flavor similar enough to onion powder that you won’t miss it at all.
If you do opt to use them, just make sure you remember they are extremely watery. Thus, don’t put as much water or other liquids into your dish. The ratio you should use is:
1 Tsp onion powder = 30 g chopped celery/fennel bulb.
12. Garlic Powder
Onion powder and garlic powder often go hand in hand when it comes to preparing most dishes. That means that you can use garlic powder to substitute the other, but always in moderation:
1 Tsp onion powder = ½ Tsp garlic powder.
Of course, you can just try the dish as you add the garlic powder and see how much you need. If you prefer a stronger and richer flavor, adding just as much of it as you would onion powder might be the best idea.
13. Celery Seeds
Just as you can add fresh celery to your dish as a substitute for onion powder, celery seeds can work as well. The seeds are not an exact match flavor-wise, but they will make your dish richer and more savory if you add them in a 1:1 ratio:
1 Tsp onion powder = 1 Tsp celery seeds.