5 Must-Have Substitutes For Onion Powder

We are all tired of chopping onions and shedding tears over the cutting board, right? Well, fret not, as behind every dilemma lies a viable solution. With onion powder, this trial is a thing of the past. It not only gets the job done flawlessly but also provides an unbeatable quality of convenience. And if it’s not available you can always substitute for onion powder.

Onion powder is a spice produced from dried and ground onions. Onions are usually dehydrated to retain the sweet and savory flavor they’re known for making onion powder. It’s generally used in homemade spice blends or seasoning vegetables, fish, meat, or salad dressings.

Although onion powder is often used as a backup player to other more overpowering flavors, it brings a savory subtlety to the dish. Which, frankly, I’ve always found quite hard to mimic. Onion powder comes in various forms, from toasted powder to dehydrated chopped onions depending on the requirements of your dish. It is used in numerous kinds of cuisine, especially savory dishes, to add depth to flavors.

Onion powder has a much longer shelf life, and it lends onion-like flavor with very little bulk. Since the onion taste is paramount in so many dishes, you should always try to keep some onion powder on hand. But if you can’t find any, there are quite a few onion powder alternatives ideal for use.

What is onion powder?

Onion powder is a seasoning made by drying onions that retain some of the zest and flavor of fresh ones. Most markets carry onion powders, so you wouldn’t have a problem finding them.

Bulb onions are used to create onion powder as the bulb concentrates much of the flavor and distinctive smell of the onion. Usually, the bulbs are dried and then ground. However, some companies prefer grinding them into a paste before dehydration. They claim it’s to enhance the flavor. Either way, the result is a fine whitish powder with an intense onion scent.

Versatile as they are, onions are widely available in the market as fresh, chopped, caramelized, pickled, frozen, or in canned form. In addition, its dehydrated product is available as a seasoning in the form of powder, salt, sometimes sliced, minced, ringed, or granulated forms.

Is onion powder healthy?

Yes! Onion powder has a long list of benefits, some of which are mentioned below.

  • Onion powder has anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties. Its bioactive components boost immunity, prevent bacterial infestation, and help to reduce the risk of various bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Onion powder’s anti-asthmatic properties make it essential for treating the common cold, cough, and flu symptoms. It also reduces chest or nasal blockage, gets rid of excess sputum, and stops nasal discharge. It is also helpful in combating bronchitis and asthmatic ailments.
  • Onion powder is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals like quercetin, which help to reduce the chances of varying types of cancer, including stomach and colorectal cancer.
  • Onion powder helps form collagen tissues in the scalp, increases blood circulation in the hair follicles, and stimulates new hair growth. The antimicrobial nature of onion also prevents dandruff and scalp infections and strengthens the hair from within.
  • Onion powder is abundant in potassium. Potassium is a crucial mineral that helps the body significantly control blood pressure. It facilitates balancing out the adverse effects of salt and thus effectively helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Onion powder effectively heals wounds and prevents skin infections. Moreover, it contains antioxidants and vitamin C, which prevent itching and burning sensation besides disinfecting wounds to prevent infection.

5 Substitutes For Onion Powder

There are a plethora of onion powder replacements you can use to enhance the flavor of your dish. Following are some of my most favorite ones:

1. Dehydrated Onion Flakes

You can use dehydrated onion flakes as a substitute for onion powder. They are made by drying onions, similar to onion powder. But they aren’t wholly alike; the most apparent difference between the two is the size of their granules.

Moreover, onion powder and onion flakes vary in flavor strength too. Onion powder gives a more robust taste as compared to onion flakes. For example, a tablespoon of onion powder equals three tablespoons of dehydrated onion flakes for substitution. 

But they have a similar feel, which means that onion flakes will not add any extra moisture or elbow grease to your dish.

Now, you have a couple of choosings when it comes to using flakes. First, you may use them as it is, or two, you can blend or grind the flakes into smaller pieces. The second option is better since it will make flakes an even closer approximation of onion powder. 

Moreover, blending will also prevent your dish from getting bulky, which is typically the main reason behind using onion powder.

You can substitute flakes for onion powder in numerous casserole dishes, salads, baked chicken and fish, or stir-fries. Desiccated onion flakes prevent heart disease by enhancing our circulatory system. Moreover, it contains vitamin C that regulates blood sugar, and its probiotics reduce stress and boost sleep quality.


2. Freshly Grated Onions

You can substitute onion powder for chopped onion too as it is excellent for plant-based recipes, casseroles, egg dishes, dips, soups, and dressings, as freshly grated onion provides more freshness. In addition, finely grated, fresh onions from a moist paste when cooked without adding any noticeable bulk to the dish. Apart from this, they also have a more potent aroma and flavor than flakes or powders.

Where onion powder is dry and refined in texture, fresh onions are bulky and fibrous even when grated. Therefore, If you substitute grated onion in sauces, it’s, naturally, not going to be as smooth.

Another benefit of this onion powder substitute is that you can make it at home. So, to create grated fresh onion, all you have to do is peel an onion and its edges. Next, get a grater and crush it to the appropriate size. On the contrary, you may use a food processor to grate the onion.

You can also crush the onion to a paste. This moisture-packed sauce will deliver a strong taste without bulking up the sauce. However, note that the flavor would be a lot stronger than when using the powder. 

I recommend substituting 1 tbsp of onion powder with one medium onion (grated) for optimum results.

Grated onions are packed with compounds and antioxidants which:

  • lessen the cholesterol levels in the body
  • diminish triglycerides
  •  fight inflammation

This helps in diminishing the risk of heart diseases. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory characteristics lower high blood pressure and prevent the formation of clots in the blood.


3. Onion Salt

Your next best substitute for onion powder is onion salt. It is ideal for marinades, soups, stews, tomato recipes, or eggs. This onion powder substitute is a mixture of salt and onion powder. It is pretty evident that this sub will not add unwanted moisture to your dish but still infuse the much-loved onion powder flavor.

With onion salt, you get the same taste and texture in dishes as you would with onion powder. However, onion powder has a stronger flavor since it is not diluted with salt. And while the textures are almost the same, onion powder is still more delicate since it’s rid of salt granules. However, this difference isn’t noticeable when cooked.

Most onion salt blends are mixed in a 1:1 ratio of onion powder to salt. Thus to practically use this substitute for onion powder, a teaspoon of onion salt is equivalent to one-fourth of a teaspoon of onion powder coupled with a three-fourth teaspoon of salt. 

Remember to compensate for the salt needed in your dish, as onion salt will likely substitute some, if not all, of it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an uneatable salty dish.

If you’re striving to shed some extra pounds or adhere to a healthy lifestyle, I have some excellent news for you. Onion salt lacks calories, fat, and cholesterol. Thus, it relieves cardiovascular disorders, stops infections, controls diabetes, and boosts bone health.


4. Green Onions

If you are out of all of the above options, try scallions to substitute for onion powder. It is an excellent sub for dips, pizza, pasta, stews, soups, and seafood. Green onions are also a kind of onion; only they are cultivated at a tender age. Moreover, they are also referred to as scallions or confused with spring onions.

You can identify this onion powder alternative by their long green stalk and white base. This stalk grows into hollow tube-like leaves which are dark green in color. Scallions belong to the Allium family, along with garlic, shallots, leeks, and onions.

But, the scallion’s handiness in a boatload of recipes sets it apart from the rest of the clan. Besides, you have free rein to eat scallions raw or cooked. When it comes to tastes, green onions are sweeter and more potent than chives. This quality makes them excellent to substitute for onion powder and chives too!

Now, while scallions are stronger than chives, they have a subtler flavor profile than onion powder. Hence, the typical replacement ratio for green onions is 3:1 to onion powder for most recipes.

Green onions are abundant in fibers that keep us full for longer. In addition, it also decreases the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol in our bodies. As a result, people who consume scallions have a lower risk of developing cancer, heart disorders, or diabetes.


5. Shallots

There isn’t an onion that can’t be used as a substitute for onion powder. And shallots are no different. It shares an uncanny similarity with garlic and is an excellent addition to sauces, salads, stir-fries, soups, casseroles, and tacos. A shallot’s color varies from golden-brown to bright red with a green tone and white interior.

Shallots, just like green onions, also belong to the allium family. Thus, it’s not surprising that they have a sharp, sweet, spicy, and sour taste all rolled into one. It is also often why shallots are confused with traditional onions. 

To substitute shallots for onion powder take two minced shallots to replace one tablespoon of onion powder.

One of the many perks of using shallots as an onion powder alternative is that they come in handy in many meals. In addition, a myriad of food enthusiasts appraise its unique flavor and celebrate the fact that shallots are readily available worldwide.

Shallots are rich in nutrients that usher health benefits more than even onions do. They contain a range of vitamins, and elements like manganese, potassium along with fiber, and proteins to keep your health levels high. 

However, you may find evidence of onion taste in shallots; unfortunately, it’s not as strong as onion powder. Thus, if you’re in search of a robust flavor, you’ll have to infuse more shallots in your recipe, which may increase the bulk of your dish.

Chopped Onion Substitutes
Small Onion  = ⅓ cup of chopped onion = 1 tsp onion powder = 1 tbsp dried onion flakes 
Medium Onion = 1 cup of chopped onion = 1 tbsp onion powder = 3 tbsp dried onion flakes
Large Onion = 1 ½ cup of chopped onions = 1.5 tbsp onion powder = 4.5 tbsp dried onion flakes


Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make onion powder in a recipe?
All you need to do is cook sliced onions at about 110 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours in a dehydrator. Once they are crisp enough to snap in half, crush them, and you’ll have your very own onion powder. Finally, store it in an airtight container. When stored properly, you can use onion powder for up to a year, although its flavor may become slightly less potent as time passes.
Do chefs use onion powder?
Absolutely! Many chefs prefer using onion powder in their food as it gives the same flavor without blinking back onion tears. Other cooks like to use it because it’s easier to handle than fresh onions as it requires no chopping or special treatment, and, finally, because a variety of recipes call for it. Nevertheless, there are a few critical differences between onion powder and onions that are worth accounting for. Therefore, before hastily substituting fresh onions with powdered alternatives, you must grasp how each type works.
Is onion powder low in sodium?
Yes! One hundred grams of onion powder contain only 73 mg of sodium! It is one of the spices that have the lowest sodium content.


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