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15 Ways To Substitute For Green Onion

Here are 15 easy ways to substitute for green onion, how to freeze green onion, and several yummy recipes with green onion you’ll love!

Green onions are a popular ingredient in many of our favorite dishes.

You can use them as a garnish for tacos, chili recipes, and salads. Or you can enjoy them in cooked dishes like casseroles, dips, and quiches.

But, you may not always have green onions on hand when you need them.

Luckily, there are several easy ways to substitute green onions, and we’ve created a list of the top 15 options.

Keep scrolling for the best substitutes for green onion, plus yummy recipes to try!

Green Onions 101

Several bundles of green onion piled together on a burlap cloth.

Before we get to the green onion substitutes, here’s some green onion 101!

Green onions, also known as scallions, are dark green alliums with white bottoms and long green leaves.

They have a milder flavor than traditional onions. And some describe them as having a grassy flavor.

Green onions are either harvested very young from the regular bulb-forming onions we are familiar with, or they may come from other varieties that actually never form bulbs.

You can eat both the white part and the green part of green onions, and you can enjoy them raw or cooked.

The white and light bottoms should be added early on in dishes so they can add flavor. The green tops are best for finishing dishes like you would use chives. The root end should be discarded.

You’ve probably seen green onions in recipes for crab cakes, party dips, and countless other savory dishes.

The Best Ways to Substitute for Green Onion

Green onions are regularly available in local grocery stores, but sometimes your store may be fresh out.

Below are several different types of onions that you can use to substitute for green onions, and other common produce options that make suitable stand-ins.

1. Dried Green Onions

A rustic wooden ladle filled with dried green onion next to fresh green onion on a table.

If your grocery store happens to be out of stock of the fresh kind, you can use dried green onion as a substitute.

It’s best to use the dried version in soups, stews, or sauces, where there’s some liquid to rehydrate the scallions.

And you can also use the dried version as a substitute for green onion in stir-fry recipes.

However, you shouldn’t use dried green onion as a garnish as it loses some flavor when dried. And the texture will not be the same.

Start with a 1:1 substitution, but you may need to increase the ratio for a stronger onion flavor.

2. Spring Onions

Close up image of a bunch of spring onions on a wooden cutting board.

Spring onions are regular onions that are harvested early before they grow to their full size.

You can recognize them by their large white bulb.

They’re a great substitute for green onions because they have tender green stalks that are very similar in flavor to the bright green parts of scallions.

And you can use them anywhere you would green onions as a 1-to-1 substitute.

3. Chinese Onions

Several purple white and green Chinese onion stalks with the roots showing.

If you happen to have access to Chinese onions, they’re a very similar substitute to spring onions.

They have the texture of green onions and a similar taste.

And you can use them as a 1-to-1 substitute.

4. Fresh Chives

A large bundle of chives tied together with twine next to chopped chives.

Many agree that chives are the best direct substitute for the green part of green onions.

They have a very similar flavor profile, but a slightly milder taste. They’re also not quite as crunchy and they have no white bulb.

Chives are a great option to substitute for green onion in salad recipes, dips, soups, and anywhere else you’d use green onion.

Substitute one green onion stalk with 2 to 3 tablespoons of finely chopped chives.

5. Wild Leeks (aka Wood Leeks or Ramps)

Close up image of wild leeks on a wooden cutting board held together with twine.

Professional chefs consider wild leeks to be a delicacy because they only grow in the springtime and they grow best in nature.

They have similar green tops to scallions and they make a suitable replacement if you can find them.

Your best bet is a local farmer’s market because you probably won’t see them in stores.

They have a pungent garlic-onion flavor, so you should use them sparingly.

And they’re best used as a green onion substitute for a cooked dish or pickling.

6. Leeks

A large bunch of leeks in wooden box lined with burlap cloth.

Regular leeks are more similar to green onions but have a slightly milder taste.

Their stalks are wider and leaf-like. And they’re also tougher and require a longer cooking time.

Most people only eat the white and middle parts, and you should always give them a good wash before adding them to a dish.

Trim the leeks by removing the tough base and the rougher upper green tops. Then cut them lengthwise and wash them under running water to remove the dirt and grit between the layers.

Add leeks at the beginning of cooked recipes like you would regular onions.

And if you plan to eat them raw, be sure to slice them very thinly to overcome the more fibrous texture.

1 green onion = 1 baby leek or 1/3 large leek.

7. Green Garlic

Several bundles of green garlic held together by red ties on a market shelf.

Green garlic is the immature version of fully-grown garlic.

It’s not regularly available in grocery stores, but you may be able to find it at the farmer’s market.

Green garlic has the distinct flavor of fully grown garlic but in a milder form.

Start with half the amount the recipe calls for and add more if needed. And only use the leaves!

8. Red Onions

Wooden basket filled with whole unpeeled red onions over a burlap cloth.

Regular onions have a much more intense and biting flavor than green onions. But red onions tend to be sweeter and milder than the options, below.

You can use them to garnish tacos, chilis, and salads or in cooked recipes.

Use red onions as a 1-to-1 substitute for green onion in cooked recipes, and start with a little less for raw preparations.

NOTE: You can soak red onions and other onion varieties in cold water for 10 minutes to help lessen the bite.

9. Yellow Onions

Close up image of a large rustic basket filled with whole yellow onions.

Yellow onions are the most common onion to have at home, so they may come in handy in a pinch.

If you use yellow onions to substitute for green onion, a little will go a long way.

To replace green onion as a topping, be sure to chop the yellow onion very finely. And use 1 tablespoon to replace one stalk.

However, for cooked recipes, you can use the regular onion as a 1-to-1 substitute.

10. Sweet Onions

Overhead view of several whole and sliced sweet onions on a brown kitchen cloth.

Sweet onions like Vidalias, Walla Wallas, and Texas Spring Sweet are similar to yellow onions as a substitute.

However, they have less water content and are more sulfur-like.

These onions are only available a few months of the year from April to August, and they don’t store well for long periods.

Use sweet onions to substitute for green onion the same way you would yellow onions.

11. White Onions

Close-up view of a large pile of whole, unpeeled white onions in a market.

White onions have a stronger flavor than, red, yellow, and sweet onions. So you’ll need even less to substitute for green onion.

Use ½ – 1 tablespoon of chopped white onion to replace green onion in cooked recipes.

12. Pearl Onions

A large pile of whole unpeeled pearl onions on a burlap cloth.

This smaller white boiling onion has a strong flavor. So it’s best to use them for soups, stews, and other cooked recipes.

Use pearl onions to substitute for the white part of green onions.

1 pearl onion equals three green onion bulbs.

13. Raw Shallots

A large pile of unpeeled raw shallots on a rustic wooden table.

Shallots are small onions with a delicate flavor.

They have a more intense onion flavor than green onions, but they also have a sweeter taste.

You can use shallots to substitute for green onions in cooked dishes like soups, stews, and casseroles. And they also work in dressings, potato salad, and egg salad.

1 green onion = 1/2 shallot.

14. Green Bell Peppers

A woman touches a white bowl filled with diced green bell pepper on a table.

If you don’t like the taste of green onion. Or, if you can’t get your hand on a more “onion-y” substitute, you can use green bell pepper.

They don’t have a similar flavor, but you can use them as a substitute for green onions to add color and texture to a dish.

However, they don’t make a great garnish.

Use them in cooked recipes as a 1-to-1 substitute.

15. Onion Powder

A whole white onion next to two wooden bowls of onion powder.

You can also use onion powder to substitute for green onion in a pinch.

It’s not a good substitute for raw dishes like salads, but you can use it to season cooked recipes.

Onion powder is made from dried ground onions, so you’ll get the same flavor. But, you’ll miss out on the color and texture.

1 green onion = ½ teaspoon onion powder.

How to Freeze Green Onion

A woman holds up a clear container filled with frozen diced green onions.

If you use green onions a lot, it might be a good idea to freeze some to have on hand.

The great thing about freezing green onions is that they don’t require blanching. Just slice off the roots and leaf tips, wash and dry well, chop, and freeze.

Depending on how you use green onion, you may want to freeze the green and white parts separately, so keep that in mind.

DIRECTIONS:

Place your chopped green onions on a parchment-lined tray, pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes, and then transfer them to freezer containers or bags.

Or, for easier use, you can place flash-frozen scallions in plastic drink bottles, like water or juice containers, to create a scallion shaker dispenser.

If you’d like to cook your green onions, you can sautee them in olive oil before freezing. Then follow the instructions above for flash freezing once they are cooked.

Use raw green onions within a few weeks for the best results. And, use cooked ones within a few months.

FAQs

Can I substitute onion powder for green onions?


Yes.

You can use onion powder in place of green onions in cooked recipes. But, you should not use it to replace green onion as a garnish.

1 green onion = ½ teaspoon onion powder.

Can I substitute red onion for green onions?


Yes.

However, red onions have a much more biting flavor than green onions, so keep that in mind.

Use red onions as a 1-to-1 substitute for green onion in cooked recipes, and start with a little less for raw preparations.

NOTE: You can soak red onions and other onion varieties in cold water for 10 minutes to help lessen the bite.

How many green onions equals one onion?


1 medium onion is about 2 cups, chopped. And you’ll need about 18 chopped green onions to achieve the equivalent amount.

However, green onions are milder than regular onions, so they won’t be equivalent in taste or pungency.

If you want to achieve the same flavor intensity, you’ll need to increase the amount of green onions by at least 1/2 cup.

Recipes with Green Onion

Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring green onions. Each of these dishes is kid-friendly and full of flavor.

You’ll find easy weeknight dinners, appetizers, and a breakfast recipe, too!

The Easiest Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and sour meatballs over cooked white rice in gray bowl with chopsticks laying on bowl.

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs feature frozen meatballs, pineapple chunks, and peppers all covered in a tangy sauce. It’s an easy dinner to throw together that’s perfect for a crowd!

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers with Pineapple

Hawaiian turkey burger with pineapple slices on plate with potato chips and teriyaki sauce in background.

These Hawaiian Turkey Burgers feature a juicy patty glazed with teriyaki sauce and topped with melted cheese and a sweet pineapple ring. It’s a delicious break from the traditional burger that will leave you wanting seconds!

Toasted Almond and Swiss Cheese Dip

Close up photo of Swiss cheese dip in white baking dish surrounded by various crackers.

Toasted Almond and Swiss Cheese Dip is served hot and features lots of gooey cheese, green onions, and a little spice. It’s a delicious holiday or party appetizer that’s sure to go quick!

5 Ingredient Crock Pot Asian Chicken Thighs

Asian chicken thighs garnished with green onion and sesame seeds in bowl with green beans and rice.

These Crock Pot Asian Chicken Thighs feature juicy and rich meat covered in a brown sugar and soy sauce glaze. They are bursting with flavor and so easy to make!

Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream White Sauce

Pan of creamy chicken enchiladas with tomato and green onion garnish on table with bowls of toppings nearby.

These Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream White Sauce are filled with a creamy sauce, tender chicken, and lots of cheese. Your family will fall in love with this non-traditional recipe!

Healthy Crustless Broccoli and Ham Quiche

A slice of quiche with ham and broccoli on a white plate garnished with sliced green onions.

This Crustless Broccoli and Ham Quiche features a delicious egg filling and is topped with melty cheese. It’s low-carb and a healthy option for your breakfast or brunch.

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