One of the most common seasonings used when it comes to cooking is of course onion powder. This is used in combination with a range of herbs and spices, and it can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
Onion powder is a widely popular seasoning because of this versatility, so it’s hardly surprising that you would run out of it after cooking lots of different recipes.
However, this can of course pose a problem when you’re in the middle of cooking your next meal.
Powdered onion is a crucial ingredient to make the flavors come together, so what can you use as a substitute if you don’t have anymore to hand?
There’s no need to panic! We’ve collated a list of the most popular alternatives for powdered onion so that you can get back to cooking.
Some of the best substitutes for powdered onion include onion flakes, diced onion, minced onion right out of a jar, onion salt, fresh onion, garlic powder, granulated onion, onion purée, granulated onion, diced chives, scallions, diced shallots, chopped leeks, diced fennel bulb and celery, and celery seeds.
Or you can even try to make your own homemade onion powder as a substitute!
Let’s take a look at the best alternatives to onion powder below!
The Best Alternatives For Onion Powder
Finding the best substitute for onion powder is easier than you think.
Even though powdered onion can be quite hard to imitate if you don’t have the right ingredients to hand, the below ingredients will make a suitable alternative in the meantime.
Why not try to give one of the below a try as an onion powder substitute? This should get you back to cooking your favorite dishes in no time at all!
So without further ado, let’s check out the best substitutes for powdered onion below.
If you don’t have any powdered onion to hand, then flaked onion or onion flakes make the next best thing.
Onion flakes are the perfect substitute for onion powder because they are simply missing the last stage of the whole powdering process.
Flaked onion is literally just the flakes of onion before they have been ground down into a fine powder.
So you will have two choices here. You can either use the flaked onion as it is, or you can use your mortar and pestle to grind it down into powdered onion.
If you choose to grind them down into a powder, then you can use them in equal amounts for the required powdered onion.
If you select to use the onion flakes whole, then you will need to alter the quantity that you use. If the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of powdered onion, then you will need to use 1 tablespoon of onion flakes.
Perhaps one of the better choices when it comes to selecting an onion powder substitute, onion granules or granulated onion is highly similar to the original ingredient which you need a substitute for.
The main difference between these two cooking ingredients is that powdered onion is finer, whereas onion granules are slightly coarser and larger.
If you’re searching for a finer ground substitute for onion powder than minced onion from a jar or flaked onion, then onion granules will be the perfect choice.
To get the right quantities for your meal, you will need to double the quantity of onion granules that you use.
Onion Sea Salt
One of the best alternatives to powdered onion is of course onion sea salt, or onion salt as it is more commonly known.
This is basically a mix of both sea salt and either onion granules or powdered onion. It works very similarly to garlic salt, which is a mix of garlic powder and salt.
So it goes without saying that you will need to alter the salt that you use in your dish if you do use onion sea salt. This is because it can make the dish incredibly salty if you use both of these to flavor your food.
In terms of substitutions, you can use onion salt in equal parts for powdered onion. Perfect if you don’t want to be fussing around with working out the different quantities required!
Don’t have any variants of onions to hand to use as an easy substitute? Then diced chives will be a good shout. It’s worth bearing in mind that diced chives are best used with dishes that require fresh ingredients.
If you are looking for a dry herb substitute, then you will be better off opting for another one from our list.
Diced chives can be used to easily capture the onion flavor that your dishes are missing, or you can even use it as a garnish for several types of dishes.
Only have some spare shallots in your pantry or store cupboard? Then these can easily be used in the cooking process as a replacement for powdered onion!
They are also a cousin to the standard brown onion, which makes them an excellent substitution for onion powder.
Shallots are an ideal solution for tomato based dishes, or dishes that require a more subtle onion flavor. You can treat them similarly to spring onions or chives.
Make sure to peel them as you would an onion, then dice them accordingly.
Diced Fennel Bulb And Celery
Other fantastic members of the onion family can make a last minute substitution if you don’t have any powdered onion to hand.
By combining both diced fennel bulb and diced celery, you will be getting the best of both worlds. These two substituted vegetables have a much more subtle flavor than onions.
When it comes to choosing which dishes to use these as a substitute for powdered onion, it is worth bearing their higher moisture content in mind.
They will work best when used in dishes such as casseroles, stews, or soups.
Powdered garlic or garlic powder as it is sometimes known can make a stunning alternative to onion powder. These two seasonings are often used as a combination because of how well they work together.
So it only makes sense to use garlic powder if you don’t have any powdered onion to hand!
The only thing to bear in mind with this alternative is that powdered garlic will have a much more potent flavor than powdered onion. So it will be best to halve the amount of garlic powder that you use.
You can then add any extra pinches of garlic powder if you think the recipe needs it.
Minced Onion From A Jar
If you don’t have any powdered onion or flaked onions to hand, then minced onion from a jar is your next port of call. This is an excellent substitute for onion powder because of how similar it is to flaked onions.
The only difference of course is that minced onion is finer than onion flakes. Minced onion tends to still be coarser than powdered onion.
To get the right quantity for your meal, you will need to alter the amount of minced onion that you use. For every teaspoon that the recipe requires, it will be best to use a tablespoon of minced onion from a jar.
However, it’s important to note that you won’t need as much of this as you would need onion flakes, so make sure to change the substitution amount accordingly.
When it comes to finding the best onion powder substitute, it doesn’t get much better than the real thing. You won’t get a better onion flavor than you will from diced onions that you have chopped yourself!
The only thing to bear in mind of course is that powdered onion tends to have a much stronger flavor than the real thing, because it has been concentrated.
This basically means that you will need to use a lot more fresh onions to substitute for their powdered variety.
The general rule of thumb is that for every teaspoon of powdered onion that a recipe requires, you will need to use 3 tablespoons of diced onions.
Another factor to bear in mind is that diced onions will have a much higher water content, so this could affect the consistency of your dish.
One of the more popular choices for soup dishes and sauces, onion purée or onion paste will make an excellent alternative to your missing powdered onion.
You can easily create your own onion purée by dicing your fresh onions, then using your food processor or blender to turn them into a smooth paste.
The handy thing about this onion purée is that you can easily freeze it to use at a later date. Simply pop your onion purée in your prepared ice cube tray, then you can easily pop one out ready to use in your future recipes.
To get the best substitution for onion powder, you will need to use 1 tablespoon or even slightly more for every teaspoon of required powdered onion. You can adjust this quantity according to your personal taste.
Another member of the onion family are of course spring onions, or as they are more commonly known over here in the US, scallions.
If you’ve never cooked with scallions before, you should think of them similarly to chives.
Make sure that you remove the root bulb from the bottom, and trim the top by a couple of millimeters, then dice the scallions up into slices.
Scallions are best used for dishes that don’t need a dry herb as an addition. They work best in salads, pasta dishes, and sauces.
Perhaps one of the more unusual powdered onion substitutes on our list, chopped leeks are also a member of the onion family.
They have a much milder flavor than onions, so you will need to adjust the quantity that you use accordingly.
The thing to bear in mind with this particular substitution is that the leek has a much tougher exterior than other green vegetables on this list such as spring onions or chives.
So chopped leeks will make the better substitution for dishes that require a bit of cooking beforehand, such as sautéing.
Okay, this might not be an exact match in terms of flavor. However, celery seeds can make an excellent last minute substitution for powdered onion if you don’t have anything else to hand.
They are also a splendid choice if you don’t want to add any additional moisture to your dish, or you need a substitute that is a dry herb.
In terms of the quantities that you can use, the great thing about celery seeds is that they can be used in equal measure.
So if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of onion powder, then you should use 1 teaspoon of celery seeds.
How To Create Your Very Own Homemade Onion Powder
It’s all well and good-looking at the different types of substitutes that you can use in place of powdered onion. However, sometimes they don’t quite fit the recipe that you need the substitute for.
So in these cases, it will be worth trying to make your very own homemade onion powder. The great thing is that it couldn’t be easier to make your very own powdered onion!
Let’s take a look at the best way to make homemade onion powder from the comfort of your own kitchen.
What You Will Need
- Plenty of onions
- A dehydrator machine
- Mortar and pestle, food processor, coffee grinder, spice mill, or other type of equipment that can be used for grinding into a fine powder
- First, you will need to prepare your fresh onions. You will need to peel the dry skin from them, then dice them into fine pieces. Make sure to use a sharp kitchen knife so as to make the process even easier for you.
- After you have finished dicing your onions, it will come time to dehydrate them. It will be even easier to do this if you already have a dehydrator in your kitchen. Simply place your diced onion inside the dehydrator, then allow it to dry them.
- If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your hot oven instead. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or aluminum foil, then place your diced onion onto the baking sheet. Make sure to spread them out evenly. Allow your diced onion to cook for around an hour. You will know when the dried onion is ready for the next step when they crumble easily and are visibly dry.
- If you have used the cooker method for drying your onions, you will need to allow them to cool completely.
- When you are ready to follow the next step, move your now cooled dried onions into your mortar and pestle, food processor, coffee grinder, or spice mill. Now comes the hard work – grinding your dried onion down into a fine powder!
- Voilà! After all that elbow grease, you now have your very own homemade onion powder. Make sure to store it in a cool, dry place, and ensure you keep it in an airtight container so that it keeps for longer.
So there you have it! You now know the 13 best alternatives to onion powder if you happen to have run out of your favorite seasoning.
We’ve made sure to cover a wide variety of substitutes so that you can find the best one for your particular dish.
If you have a high amount of liquid in a recipe, then you may wish to choose a suitable alternative.
Some of the substitutions that we have mentioned above are better suited for certain recipes, whereas others are just as versatile as onion powder.
We have also shown you how to create your very own homemade onion powder so that you can get the best results!
Because if you have the right ingredients to hand, nothing will make a better substitution for your favorite brand of powdered onion than a homemade onion powder that you have made yourself.