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15 Ways To Substitute For Onion Powder

Need a substitute for onion powder? Here are 15 easy stand-ins, instructions to make your own, plus delicious recipe ideas!

Onion powder is a common seasoning and flavor agent found in most spice sets and kitchens across America. It is used for many types of cuisine to add a depth of flavor to savory dishes.

So, what do you when when you’re fresh out and need to start cooking?

Here are several easy ways to substitute for onion powder, in a pinch!

Fresh onion next to onion powder in mortar and pestle.

Common Onion Powder Substitutes

Onion powder is made from dehydrated onion that has been finely ground into a powder. It is often a backup to more dominant flavors in a dish, but would still be missed if omitted. It’s also a great alternative for those who don’t like fresh onions (like me!).

Here are some common substitutes that may already be in your pantry and are readily available in stores.

1. Onion Flakes

Onion flakes in a white bowl on top of checkered kitchen towel.

Onion flakes are a great substitute for onion powder. These flakes are simply dehydrated onion that hasn’t been ground into a powder. You can keep the flakes whole or grind them with a mortar and pestle for a 1:1 substitute.

If keeping whole, substitute 1 tablespoon per 1 teaspoon onion powder.

2. Jarred Minced Onion

Minced onion on wooden spoon next to mortar and pestle and fresh onion.

Jarred minced onion is another similar ingredient to onion flakes. Minced onion is dried onion that is more finely ground, but still more coarse than powder. Use 1 tablespoon jarred minced onion per 1 teaspoon onion powder.

3. Granulated Onion

Granulated onion on wooden spoon next to whole, fresh onion.

Granulated onion and onion powder are very similar. The only difference is that granulated onion is more coarsely ground, but still more fine than onion flakes or minced onion. To substitute, simply double the amount!

4. Fresh Onion

Several onions stacked on rustic wooden cutting board.

Onion powder has a much more concentrated flavor than fresh onion, so you’ll need a lot more to make an adequate substitute.

1 teaspoon onion powder = 3 tablespoons fresh chopped onion. Fresh onions also have a pretty high water content so you’ll want to make adjustments to the other liquids in your dish as needed.

5. Onion Salt

Fresh aromatics next to wooden spoon with salt.

Onion salt is a similar seasoning to garlic salt. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a mix of onion powder or granulated onion with salt.

You can use it as a 1:1 substitute, but be sure to reduce other salty elements in the dish to keep the flavors balanced.

6. Onion Paste

Half of an onion sits next to a spoon of onion paste.

Onion paste is a great flavor agent for sauces and soups. To make onion paste, simply chop and blend your desired amount of onion in a blender. You can freeze the paste in an ice tray and keep the cubes on hand when you need them.

Use a tablespoon or more of onion paste to stand in for a teaspoon of onion powder, depending on your taste and the dish.

7. Chopped Chives

Chopped chives on knife next to fresh bundle.

Chopped chives are not great for recipes that need a dry spice mix, but can be used to add onion flavor in other dishes. Use as a garnish to replace the onion flavor to your taste.

8. Scallions

Bundle of scallions next to chopped scallions in small glass bowl.

Treat scallions the same way you would chives. They work great to top or finish off a dish that calls for onion powder. They add great flavor but be sure to use them for a dish that doesn’t require dry spice.

9. Shallots

Two shallots on wooden countertop.

Shallots are another member of the onion family that add a great oniony note to dishes. Use them as you would chives and scallions in your favorite dishes.

10. Leeks

Fresh leek stalk next to cut slices on wooden cutting board.

Leeks are also related to the onion family. This stalky aromatic is more tough then chives, scallions or shallots. You’ll want to use them to replace onion powder in stews or soups which will allow them to cook down or sauté them in a pan.

11. Chopped Celery or Fennel Bulb

Celery and fennel bulb on wooden table.

While it’s best to choose a substitute from the onion family if you can, celery and fresh fennel bulb can add a similar aromatic flavor, though much less pronounced. If using in a soup or stew, be sure to reduce other liquids to compensate for their high moisture content.

12. Celery Seed

Celery seed spills from wooden spoon next to fresh celery and onion.

Celery seed is not an exact match in flavor but can add a similar note to a dish without adding more moisture. Use as a 1:1 substitute or to taste.

13. Garlic Powder

Garlic powder on wooden spoon next to fresh cloves.

Onion powder and garlic powder go hand in hand and are often used together. Garlic powder has a different and stronger flavor than onion powder. To substitute, start with half the amount of onion powder, and increase to your taste.

Make Your Own

Homemade onion powder next to kitchen tools and dehydrated flakes.

Did you know you can make your own onion powder? It’s an easy process but does take a little time. Go for it if you’ve got an hour or so to spare.

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Onions (as many as you like)
  • Dehydrator (optional)
  • Coffee grinder, food processor, spice mill, or mortar and pestle

DIRECTIONS:

PEEL your onions and CHOP them into small pieces with a sharp knife.

If you have a dehydrator machine you can place the chopped onions inside to allow them to dry. Otherwise, SPREAD the onion pieces on a baking sheet and COOK them in the oven at 150 for about an hour. They are ready when completely dry and easily crumble.

Let COOL then GRIND in a coffee grinder, food processor, spice mill or mortar and pestle, until fine. (Coffee grinders produce the best results, just be sure to use a separate grinder from the one you use to brew coffee as the onions can leave a strong taste).

NOTE: Be sure to store your homemade onion powder in an airtight container.

How much onion powder equals one onion?

Here are some easy equivalents to keep in the back of your mind:

  • Small onion (1/3 cup, chopped) = 1 teaspoon onion powder or 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • Medium onion (1 cup, chopped) = 1 tablespoon onion powder or 3 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • Large onion (1 1/2 cups, chopped) = 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder or 4 1/4 tablespoons dried onion flakes

How much minced onion equals one onion?

You can use the same equivalencies for minced onion as the dried onion flakes, above. While minced onion is finer than the coarser onion flakes, the amount of variance is fairly minimal.

  • Small onion (1/3 cup, chopped) = 1 teaspoon onion powder or 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • Medium onion (1 cup, chopped) = 1 tablespoon onion powder or 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • Large onion (1 1/2 cups, chopped) = 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder or 4 1/4 tablespoons minced onion

Recipes with Onion Powder

Here are some delicious recipes that call for onion. Use the equivalency guide in this post to try out your homemade onion powder and onion powder substitutes!

Cream of Mushroom Meatloaf Without Breadcrumbs

Pieces of meatloaf without breadcrumbs on a dinner plate.

Cheesy Zucchini, Black Bean, and Rice Skillet

Zucchini black bean and rice skillet on a plate.

Simple Crock Pot Hamburger Stew

Easy Spaghetti with Chili Sauce (aka Cincinnati Chili)

Spaghetti with chili sauce on a dinner plate.

Italian Ground Turkey Patties With Vegetables Provencal

Italian ground turkey patties on a plate.

Delicious Calico Baked Beans with Ground Beef and Bacon

Calico baked beans on a wooden spoon.

Posh Squash (The Yummiest Zucchini and Yellow Squash Casserole)

Zucchini and yellow squash casserole on a table.
Pinterest graphic with collage of substitutes for onion powder.
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