Are you looking for a way to add flavor and texture to your dishes without using red onions?
Red onions are one of the most popular ingredients in cooking, but they’re not always the best choice.
Whether you’re trying to avoid their strong taste or just don’t have access to them, there are plenty of alternatives out there.
In this article, I will discuss ten of the best substitutes for red onions.
From shallots and leeks to scallions and chives, I will provide an overview of each substitute and explain how it can be used in different recipes.
What Are Red Onions?
Red onions are a type of onion that is characterized by its deep purple skin and reddish-white flesh.
They have a mild, sweet flavor with just a hint of sharpness.
Red onions are most commonly used raw in salads, sandwiches, and salsas due to their crunchy texture and vibrant color.
When cooked, they become sweeter and more mellow in flavor.
Red onions can be grilled, roasted, sautéed or caramelized for use in dishes such as soups, stews, pizzas or tacos.
They also make an excellent addition to pickles or relishes when sliced thinly.
The 10 Best Substitutes For Red Onions
If you’re looking for a flavorful onion substitute, then look no further than red onions.
However, if you can’t find them or don’t have access to them, there are plenty of alternatives that will still give your recipes delicious flavor and texture.
Here are ten great substitutes for red onions:
1 – Onion Powder
Onion powder is a seasoning made from ground, dehydrated onions.
It has a strong onion flavor and can be used as a substitute for fresh onions in many dishes.
- How & When To Replace: Onion powder is most often used to add flavor to savory dishes such as soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles. It can also be used to season meats or vegetables before cooking. The amount of onion powder needed will depend on the dish you are making and your personal taste preferences. Generally speaking, 1 teaspoon of onion powder is equal to 1/4 cup of chopped fresh onion.
- Common Uses: Onion powder is commonly used in dry rubs for meats and poultry and added to breading mixes for fried foods like chicken wings or fish sticks. It can also be mixed into dips or spreads such as hummus or guacamole for extra flavor. In addition to savory recipes, onion powder can also be used in sweet recipes like cookies or cakes for an unexpected twist of flavor!
2 – White Onions
White onions are the most common type of onion.
They have a mild, sweet flavor and are usually white or light yellow in color.
The skin is thin and papery, and the flesh is crisp and juicy.
- How & When To Replace Red Onions With White Onions: White onions can be used as a substitute for red onions in many recipes. They have a milder flavor than red onions, so you may want to add more if you’re substituting them for their bolder counterparts. If using raw white onion in place of raw red onion, chop it very finely so that it doesn’t overpower other flavors in the dish. You can also cook white onions until they become caramelized to bring out their sweetness; this will make them less pungent than when they’re raw.
- Common Uses of White Onions: White onions are versatile ingredients that can be used in both cooked dishes and salads. They can be added to soups, stews, tacos, burritos, casseroles, curries, stir-fries and pasta dishes for extra flavor and texture. Raw white onion slices are often served on burgers or sandwiches as well as on nachos or pizza toppings. Caramelized white onion is great for adding sweetness to savory dishes such as French Onion Soup or shepherd’s pie.
3 – Scallions/Green Onions
Scallions, also known as green onions or spring onions, are a type of onion with a mild flavor and tender texture.
They have long green stalks that can be eaten raw or cooked.
The white bulb at the base is slightly more pungent than the stalk and is often used for cooking.
- How & When To Replace Red Onions With Scallions/Green Onions: Red onions can easily be replaced with scallions in recipes calling for raw onions. However, if you are looking to replace red onions in recipes that call for cooked onions, it is best to use scallions only when they will not be cooked for too long (such as stir-fries). If you need to cook them longer, it would be better to use another type of onion such as yellow or white onions since they will hold up better during cooking.
- Common Uses For Scallions/Green Onions: Scallions are commonly used in salads, sandwiches, soups, omelets and other egg dishes, stir-fries and other Asian dishes such as lo mein noodles. They can also be grilled or roasted whole like regular onions and served as a side dish. Chopped scallion greens make an excellent garnish on top of tacos or burritos.
4 – Chives
Chives are a member of the onion family, but they have a milder flavor than other onions.
They are long and slender with hollow leaves that grow in clumps up to 12 inches tall.
The tiny white flowers bloom in late spring or early summer and can be used for decoration.
- How & When To Replace Red Onions With Chives: Red onions have a strong flavor that is slightly sweet, while chives are milder and more delicate. If you’re out of red onions, chives can be used as an alternative, but they should not be used as a direct replacement since the flavors will differ significantly. You can use them raw in salads or cooked into dishes like omelettes or quiches to add color and texture without overwhelming the dish with too much onion flavor.
- Common Uses: Chives are often added to salads, soups, sauces, egg dishes, potatoes, vegetables, fish and seafood dishes. They also make an attractive garnish for dips and spreads such as cream cheese or sour cream-based dips. Chopped chives can also be sprinkled over baked potatoes or casseroles just before serving for added flavor and visual appeal.
5 – Leeks
Leeks are a member of the onion family, but they look more like giant scallions.
They have a mild flavor and can be used in place of onions in many dishes.
- How & When To Replace: Leeks can be used to replace red onions in most recipes, though they do have a slightly different flavor. If you’re substituting leeks for red onions, it’s best to use them raw or lightly cooked as this will help preserve their sweet flavor. If you’re using them as an onion substitute in cooked dishes such as soups or stews, add them at the beginning of cooking so that they have time to soften and release their flavors into the dish.
- Common Uses: Leeks are often used in French cuisine and are popular additions to soups and stews such as potato-leek soup or beef stew with leeks. They can also be added to omelets or frittatas for extra flavor and texture, sautéed with other vegetables such as mushrooms or carrots, or served raw on salads for crunchy texture.
6 – Shallots
Shallots are a type of onion that have a milder flavor than most onions, and can be used as an alternative to red onions.
They look similar to garlic cloves in shape but are slightly larger, with a reddish-brown skin and white flesh.
- How & When To Replace Red Onions With Shallots: Shallots can be used as a substitute for red onions in many recipes. If you’re looking for the same crunchy texture that red onions offer, then shallots are your best bet. However, if you want more sweetness and less bite, then shallots may not be the right choice. In this case, sweet onions or even leeks could be better options.
- Common Uses For Shallots: Shallots can add flavor to salads, soups, stews, sauces and marinades. They can also be roasted or sautéed until golden brown and served as a side dish or added to other dishes such as pasta or rice dishes. They pair well with fish and poultry dishes as well as vegetables like mushrooms and peppers.
7 – Onion juice
Onion juice is the liquid that comes from onions when they are blended or juiced. It has a strong, pungent flavor and is used in cooking to add flavor to dishes.
- How & When To Replace Red Onions With Onion Juice: Onion juice can be used as a substitute for red onions in many dishes. It should be added at the end of cooking, as it will lose its flavor if cooked for too long. The amount of onion juice needed may vary depending on the dish, but generally one tablespoon per cup of chopped red onion is recommended.
- Common Uses For Onion Juice: Onion juice can be used in soups, stews, sauces and marinades. It adds an intense onion flavor to dishes without adding any texture or crunchiness that would come from using chopped onions. It can also be used as a condiment on burgers or sandwiches instead of ketchup or mustard. Additionally, some people believe that drinking onion juice helps with health issues such as colds and sinus infections due to its antibacterial properties.
8 – Garlic
Garlic is a pungent and flavorful bulb that belongs to the onion family.
It has a sharp, spicy flavor when raw and becomes mellower and more complex when cooked.
Garlic is widely used in many dishes around the world, from Italian pasta sauces to Chinese stir-fries.
- How & When To Replace Red Onions With Garlic: If you’re out of red onions, garlic can be an excellent substitute. The flavor of garlic is much more intense than that of red onions, so it’s important to adjust the amount accordingly. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup of chopped red onion, use only one-third cup or less of minced garlic as a replacement. Additionally, since red onions are often served raw in salads or sandwiches while garlic is usually cooked or sautéed before eating, consider adding some fresh herbs such as parsley or chives for additional texture and flavor if replacing with garlic.
- Common Uses for Garlic: Garlic can be used in both savory dishes such as soups, stews, sauces and marinades; as well as sweet desserts like cakes and cookies. It pairs particularly well with other vegetables such as mushrooms or bell peppers; meats including beef, pork and poultry; seafood like shrimp and salmon; grains like rice; legumes like beans; nuts like almonds; spices like cumin; herbs including oregano and basil; cheese such as feta or Parmesan; fruits including tomatoes and avocados; vinegars such as balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar; oils including olive oil or sesame oil; beverages including wine and beer.
9 – Celery
Celery is a vegetable that belongs to the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots, parsley, and fennel.
It has long stalks with leaves at the top and a white crunchy center.
Celery is known for its mild flavor and high water content.
- How & When To Replace Red Onions With Celery: Red onions are often used in salads or as a topping on sandwiches due to their strong flavor. If you’re out of red onions, celery can be used as an alternative. Celery has a milder flavor than red onions but still provides crunchiness and texture to dishes. To replace red onions with celery, simply dice up some celery stalks and add them to your dish in place of the onion.
- Common Uses for Celery: In addition to being used as an onion replacement, celery can be cooked or eaten raw in many dishes such as soups, stews, salads, casseroles, stir-fries and more. It’s also great for adding texture and flavor to dips like guacamole or hummus. You can even use it as an ingredient in smoothies or juices!
10 – Fennel
Fennel is a vegetable that looks like an onion, but with a white bulb and long green stalks.
It has a sweet flavor with hints of licorice and aniseed.
Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked, and is often used in salads, soups, stir-fries, and other dishes.
- How & When To Replace Red Onions With Fennel: Fennel can be used as a substitute for red onions in many recipes. The best way to use fennel as a replacement is to slice the bulb thinly or dice it into small pieces before adding it to the dish. For example, if you are making salsa or guacamole, you could replace the red onions with finely diced fennel for added flavor and texture.
- Common Uses of Fennel: Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked in many different ways. Raw fennel makes a great addition to salads and slaws; it adds crunchy texture and subtle sweetness. Cooked fennel is wonderful when roasted or sautéed – try roasting it with olive oil until lightly browned for maximum flavor! You can also add sliced fennel to soups or stews for extra depth of flavor, or use it as part of an aromatic base for risotto dishes.
Can I use regular onion instead of green onion?
Yes, you can use regular onion as a substitute for green onion.
Just be aware that regular onion is much stronger in flavor than green onion, so if you are using them raw, like as a topping on a dish, it is best to use only a small amount and chop them finely.
This will help to reduce the pungency of the onion and provide the flavor you desire.
Can I use white onion instead of red in salads?
Yes, you can use white onion instead of red in salads. While red onions are usually preferred for salads due to their milder and sweeter flavor, white onions can also be used.
White onions are sharper and have a slightly stronger flavor than red onions, so you may need to use a smaller amount to avoid overpowering the other ingredients in the salad. If you do choose to use white onions, you may want to marinate them for a few minutes in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt to help mellow out the flavor.
Can I substitute red onion for green onions?
Yes, you can substitute red onion for green onions in certain recipes.
However, it’s important to note that red and yellow onions are not the same as green onions and will not provide the same flavor or texture. Red and yellow onions are much milder in flavor and have a slightly sweet taste, so you may need to adjust the seasoning in the recipe accordingly if you use them as a substitution.
Additionally, red and yellow onions are much firmer, so they won’t provide the same crunchiness that green onions do.
Can I substitute red onion with shallots?
Yes, you can substitute red onion for shallots when cooking. Red onions have a more intense flavor than shallots, so you may want to use slightly less red onion than the recipe calls for when substituting.
Raw red onion can be used as a direct replacement for raw shallots, while cooked red onion can be used as a replacement for cooked shallots. Keep in mind that the flavor of red onions will be more pungent than shallots, so you may want to adjust the other seasonings in the recipe accordingly.
In conclusion, red onions are a great way to add flavor to a dish without being overpowering.
However, if you don’t have any on hand, there are plenty of other ingredients that can be used as a substitute.
Some of the best substitutes for red onions are onion powder, white onions, scallions/green onions, chives, leeks, shallots, onion juice, garlic, celery, and fennel.
Each of these ingredients has its own unique flavor and aroma, so you can experiment with different combinations to find the perfect taste for your dish.
Using a combination of these ingredients is a great way to add flavor to your dish without having to use red onions.
With so many options, you’ll never have to go without the flavor of red onions again.
The 10 Best Substitutes For Red Onions
- Onion Powder
- White Onions
- Scallions/Green Onions
- Onion juice
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.