13 Substitutes For Onion Powder

Onion powder is a versatile seasoning made from dehydrated onions ground into a fine powder. It has a concentrated, savory onion flavor that adds depth and aroma to various savory dishes. Onion powder has a sweet, earthy taste that enhances the overall flavor profile of recipes without overpowering them.

Substitutes For Onion Powder

The seasoning powder blends seamlessly into sauces, soups, stews, rubs, marinades, and more. It's appreciated for its ability to elevate the umami taste in recipes ranging from hearty roasts to quick weeknight pasta. Onion powder also has a toasty, rich quality that isn't quite as sharp as raw onion. This makes it an ideal way to infuse onion flavor without the pronounced bite and astringency of fresh onion.

Consider Why You Need an Onion Powder Substitute

There are several reasons you may need a substitute, including:

  • Allergies or sensitivities: Onion allergies or intolerances like IBS may require avoiding onion powder.
  • Dietary restrictions: Certain diets like low FODMAP eliminate onion powder.
  • Flavor preferences: You may prefer a different flavor profile in a recipe.
  • Unavailability: Onion powder may be out of stock or inaccessible.
  • Religious considerations: Some religions prohibit onion and garlic.

Having onion powder substitute options helps accommodate various dietary needs and preferences while still delivering flavorful results.

Fresh Onion

Fresh Onion

One of the most readily available substitutions is fresh onion. When swapping, remember that onion powder has a concentrated flavor. So increase the amount of fresh onion to compensate.

  • Use a 3:1 ratio, with 3 tablespoons chopped onion for every 1 tablespoon onion powder.
  • Add fresh onion at the start of cooking to develop flavor.
  • Reduce liquids slightly to account for the onion's moisture.

While not a direct flavor match, fresh onion adds a pleasant natural sweetness and bite to dishes.

Minced Onion

Minced Onion

Minced onion offers a flavor profile extremely close to onion powder. It provides the same punch of onion taste in an easy, shelf-stable form.

  • Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing onion powder with minced onion.
  • It incorporates well into soups, stews, dressings, and sauces.
  • Avoid minced onion in rubs or blends needing a fine powder.

Minced onion is an effortless way to mimic the essence of onion powder without the chopping required for fresh onion.

Onion Flakes

Onion Flakes

Onion flakes are dried, minced onion pieces with a concentrated onion flavor. They are one of the most versatile onion powder swaps.

  • Use onion flakes whole or grind them into a powder.
  • For whole flakes, use a 1:3 ratio per 1 teaspoon onion powder.
  • Ground onion flakes can replace onion powder 1:1.
  • Onion flakes work well in nearly any savory recipe needing onion powder.

Onion flakes deliver concentrated onion taste and aroma similar to onion powder, with added visual appeal from the flakes.

Granulated Onion

Granulated Onion

Granulated onion has a virtually identical flavor profile to onion powder but a slightly coarser texture. The easy substitution ratio is:

  • Use 2 teaspoons granulated onion for every 1 teaspoon onion powder.
  • Whisk well into liquids for even distribution and full flavor impact.
  • The heartier texture holds up well in cooking applications.

Granulated onion captures the essence of onion powder with a pleasantly toothsome crunch.

Onion Salt

Onion Salt

Onion salt combines onion powder and salt, typically in a 3:1 ratio. When swapping:

  • Use onion salt in a 1:1 ratio for onion powder.
  • Reduce additional salt in the recipe to prevent over-salting.
  • Add onion salt slowly and adjust to taste.

Onion salt efficiently infuses dishes with onion flavor while contributing seasoning saltiness. Just be mindful of overall sodium levels.

Chopped Chives

Chopped Chives

Fresh chopped chives make an excellent onion powder substitute when used as a finishing garnish.

  • Use a 5:1 ratio with 5 tablespoons of chopped chives for every 1 tablespoon of onion powder.
  • Add chives at the end to preserve their delicate onion and garlic nuances.
  • Finely mince chives and use them as a topping for soups, tacos, bakes, and more.

Chives provide a fresh, herbaceous onion powder alternative with visual and textural appeal.



Leeks have a mellow onion-garlic flavor that works well swapped for onion powder.

  • Use a 3:1 ratio with 3 tablespoons chopped leeks for every 1 tablespoon onion powder.
  • Cook leeks thoroughly until very softened.
  • Add leeks early in soups, stews, and braises for full flavor infusion.

Tender leeks impart a subtle sweet onion essence without overpowering other ingredients.



Shallots are in the onion family but have a gentler, more nuanced flavor.

  • Use a 5:1 ratio with 5 tablespoons minced shallots for 1 tablespoon onion powder.
  • Sauté shallots before adding to balance their sharper raw bite.
  • Add later in cooking since shallots become bitter when overcooked.

Shallots provide a mellower, onion-garlic undertone compared to regular onion powder.



Fresh scallions or green onions are another onion powder alternative. They work best as a fresh finishing touch.

  • Use scallions generously as needed based on taste and preference.
  • Thinly slice scallions, using both the green tops and white bulbs.
  • Add raw at the end of cooking or as a garnish for soups, tacos, rice bowls, and more.

Scallions lend a vibrant, fresh onion flavor and burst of color as a flavorful onion powder substitute.



In a pinch, celery adds an aromatic foundation of flavor reminiscent of onion powder.

  • Use a 3:1 ratio with 3 tablespoons chopped celery for 1 tablespoon onion powder.
  • Reduce liquids to account for celery's high water content.
  • Add celery early in cooking to develop its flavors.

While not a perfect match, celery provides an onion-like flavor base when no other onion swaps are accessible.



Fennel bulb has a slightly sweet, licorice-like flavor that works in some savory dishes needing onion powder.

  • Use a 3:1 ratio, adding more fennel to taste based on preference.
  • Saute fennel first to mellow its anise edge.
  • Add to tomato-based sauces, roasts, soups, and stews.

Fennel brings a unique sweetness and edge that can replace onion powder’s rich savoriness in moderation.

Garlic Powder

Garlic Powder

Garlic powder makes an easily accessible onion powder substitute but use a light hand.

  • Start with a 2:1 ratio, using 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder for every 1 teaspoon onion powder.
  • Slowly add more garlic powder to achieve the ideal onion flavor intensity.
  • Garlic powder works best in small amounts in rubs, dressings, and marinades.

When used judiciously, garlic powder can provide a similar umami richness and aromatic quality to onion powder.

Celery Seeds

Celery Seeds

Celery seeds aren’t a direct match, but their concentrated flavor allows them to work similarly to onion powder.

  • Use a 1:1 ratio, replacing 1 teaspoon onion powder with 1 teaspoon celery seeds.
  • Toast celery seeds briefly to amplify their earthy flavor before adding to a dish.
  • Use celery seeds in dry rubs, savory baked goods, salad dressings, soups, and stews.

Celery seeds impart a robust, savory quality that makes them a creative onion powder pinch hitter.


What's the difference between onion powder and onion salt?

Onion powder is made purely from dehydrated, ground onions. Onion salt contains a blend of onion powder and salt, typically mixed in a 1:3 ratio. Onion salt is saltier and usually contains anti-caking agents. Use onion salt sparingly to avoid over-salting food.

What's a good onion powder substitute for those with IBS or following a low FODMAP diet?

Those with IBS or on a low FODMAP diet should avoid onions. Good onion-free substitutes are asafoetida powder, leeks, celery, fennel, and celery seeds. Always confirm a substitute is suitable for your specific dietary needs.

Can I use onion powder and garlic powder interchangeably?

Onion powder and garlic powder complement each other but aren't direct substitutes. For best results, use a 2:1 ratio, with 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder replacing 1 teaspoon onion powder. Garlic powder has a more potent flavor, so add it slowly and adjust to taste.

What's the best way to replace onion powder in homemade seasoning blends or dry rubs?

The finest options for homemade blends and dry rubs are onion flakes, granulated onion, or onion salt. Using granulated forms avoids the need to grind flakes. Just mix in using the same quantity as onion powder.

Can I use chopped onions or shallots instead of onion powder when making salsa?

It's best to avoid substituting fresh onions in salsa recipes. Onion powder dissolves into salsas for smooth, even distribution. Chopped raw onions or shallots won't incorporate as seamlessly. For salsa, use onion flakes or granulated onion for an even texture and flavor.


Onion powder is valued for the rich depth and aroma it adds to all types of savory recipes. When you need an onion powder alternative, options like fresh and dried onions, shallots, leeks, chives, and celery can all provide workable substitutions.

Consider the flavor profile you want, dietary needs, and recipe application when choosing a replacement.

With so many viable alternatives, you can confidently recreate delicious onion powder flavor.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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