Can’t find leeks? This unique ingredient is hard to replace, but there are a few options. Here’s the best leek substitute to use in recipes.

Leek substitute

Making a recipe that calls for leeks and can’t find them? A leek is a vegetable that is part of the onion or Allium family, much like onion, garlic, shallot, scallion, and chives. Leeks are long and cylindrical: you eat only the tender light green and white bottom portion of the vegetable. It’s similar to a very large green onion (or scallion). Leeks have a mild, onion-y garlic flavor that’s much more nuanced and sophisticate than an onion.

Can’t find leeks? This ingredient is very unique, so we recommend finding it if at all possible. It’s especially important for recipes with the word leek in the title, like Potato Leek Soup. But if you’re using it as a backup ingredient and your store is all out…here’s the best leek substitute!

How many cups is 1 leek chopped?

Before we start: you can use this substitution ratio for chopped leek. Here’s the ratio:
1 large leek = about 1 cup chopped

Best leek substitute

1. Shallot

The best leek substitute? Thinly sliced shallots! Shallots are a small onion with a delicate, mild flavor. The flavor is closer to a leek than a yellow or white onion, so it works particularly well as a substitute. It’s great for soups, sautés, or risottos.

Use the following substitution ratio: 1 large leek (1 cup chopped) = 2 large shallots or 4 medium shallots

2. Sweet onion or white onion

Another good leek substitute? Sweet onion or white onion. Keep in mind, though: onions are much stronger than leeks and they have less nuance and subtly in flavor. Sweet onion is particularly suited because it’s a milder option, but white onion also works. Yellow onion can stand in if absolutely necessary, but it’s the strongest of the three.

Use the following substitution ratio: 1 large leek (1 cup chopped) = 1 medium onion

3. Green onion / scallions (in a pinch)

A last leek substitute? Green onions, also known as scallions! Green onions look like a smaller version of a leek. The only problem is, because they’re so much smaller it takes more green onions to equal a leek. So we prefer using shallot or onion! But if you have a bunch, the flavor will be closer than that of an onion.

Use the following substitution ratio: 1 large leek (1 cup chopped) = 6 to 8 medium green onions

Here are some of our favorite leek recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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