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Onion powder is hard to replace, but there are a few options if you don’t have this spice on hand! Here’s the best onion powder substitute.

Onion powder substitute
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Making a recipe that calls for onion powder and don’t have it? Onion powder is a seasoning made of dried and ground onion. It’s often used in homemade seasoning blends or as a seasoning for vegetables, seafood, meat, and salad dressings. Onion powder is often a backup player to other more dominant flavors, but it brings a savory nuance that’s hard to replace.

Onion powder is hard to replace so if at all possible, go to the store and buy some! But if you’re in the middle of a recipe with no time to shop, we get it. Here’s the best onion powder substitute!

Best onion powder substitute

Note that how these options work depend on how the onion powder is used in the recipe.

1. Onion flakes (dried minced onion).

The best onion powder substitute? Onion flakes! Onion flakes are dehydrated, minced onion that are also sold in the spice aisle. The way we use them most? Homemade Everything Bagel seasoning. If you’re at the store and can find onion flakes, grab a package. To mimic the texture of onion powder, you can grind the flakes in a blender, with a mortar and pestle, roll them with a rolling pin. Use onion flakes as a 1:1 replacement for onion powder. This works for most uses of onion powder in recipes.

2. Garlic powder.

Another onion powder substitute? It’s not an exact flavor comp, but you can use half the amount of garlic powder in place of onion powder. Often the two are used in combination in recipes. Garlic powder adds a garlicky flavor, of course, but it mimics some of the savory quality of onion powder. Again, use ½ teaspoon garlic powder in place of 1 teaspoon onion powder.

3. Chopped chives (in special cases).

This onion powder substitute doesn’t work in seasoning blends or recipes where you need a dry spice. But if you simply need a little onion flavor, you can substitute chopped chives for onion powder. This can work in cooked dishes and or something like a dip or salad dressing. Of course, chopped chives are chunky and bright green, so only use them if they seem to make sense in the recipe you’re making.

Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring onion powder:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Cindy Gorman says:

    I love your tip for cumin as a substitute for garlic! I do not process onion or garlic well, so I do not cook with either in my home cooking. I have long thought that there must be some other spice or herb that I could use to add some additional flavor with our adding the onion or garlic.
    Thank you for listing cumin and explaining that it add a flavor complexity!
    Any suggestions for a substitute spice or herb for onion? Or is cumin the answer for both of them?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I would do cumin for both!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Excellent thank you

  3. David Schmidt says:

    Lifesaver idea. At 6 a.m. I started to make a pumpernickel bread from scratch and had all the odd ingredients EXCEPT onion powder. I ground the onion flakes in my coffee grinder. All is well.