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The 5 Best Substitutes for Green Onions

Green onions, also known as scallions, are a popular addition to many dishes and salads.

They provide an excellent flavor base to soups, stews, and stir-frys but can also be eaten raw or cooked for simple side dishes.

Green onions offer a milder taste than their stronger counterparts – such as yellow and red onions – and may be used in place of them in most recipes.

The flavor of green onions is often described as being grass-like or onion-like.

It is both sweet and sharp, with a mild aftertaste that may linger in the mouth for some time.

This distinct flavor may be difficult to replicate, but it can be substituted with several other ingredients.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best substitutes for green onions, as well as offer some tips on using them.

What are Green Onions?

what are green onions

As mentioned above, green onions, usually referred to as spring onions, scallions, or salad onions in various places worldwide, are a vegetable that many people use daily.

Green onions are dark green alliums with white bottoms and long green leaves; they are also sometimes called Welsh onion or Japanese bunching onion.

They have a mild flavor and are often referred to as scallions, but they are not the same as common allium bulbs such as garlic or onions.

Green onion is mostly used in salads and other various dishes.

They can be eaten raw or cooked and have a somewhat mild flavor with many ingredients.

Green onions can be made into a pesto or topped for soups or other dishes.

They are also used to make onion rings, commonly served with French fries.

Other available types of onions include red onions and pearl onions, among others.

Confusion between different types of onions is common.

They are generally all related because they are all members of the onion genus Allium.

Pearl onions are small boiling onions with a strong flavor and are best when cooked, while the red onion is often used raw to provide extra flavor to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.

Green onions can be purchased at supermarkets or grown in one’s garden.

They keep for several weeks after they are harvested, making them easy to keep on hand.

Some people even grow their green onions at home to have them available for use at any time of the year.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Green Onions

Green onions, also known as scallions, are a popular ingredient in many dishes due to their mild onion flavor and vibrant green color.

However, if you find yourself without green onions or prefer alternative options, there are several substitutes available.

In this guide, we will compare the top 5 substitutes for green onions, discussing their key characteristics and suggesting proper ratios to help you achieve similar flavors and textures in your recipes.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
ChivesDelicate and mild onion flavor; thin and long green stalksUse an equal amount of chives as a substitute for green onions
ShallotsMild and slightly sweet onion flavor; small bulbs with purplish-brown skinUse an equal amount of shallots as a substitute for green onions
LeeksMild onion flavor with a hint of sweetness; long white stalks and dark green leavesUse an equal amount of leeks as a substitute for green onions
Red or Yellow OnionsStronger onion flavor; various sizes and colorsUse an equal amount of red or yellow onions as a substitute for green onions
RampsSimilar to green onions with a garlic-like flavor; slender bulbs and broad green leavesUse an equal amount of ramps as a substitute for green onions

Now let’s explore each substitute in more detail:

1 – Chives

chives

In place of green onions, one could opt for using chives.

Chives are a pleasure to use because they’re tasty and offer lovely color and aroma.

In addition, this particular herb is rather pretty too.

They also have a milder flavor than green onions and can be mistaken for grass clippings in some cases.

Chives are part of the onion family, and they may be found fresh or freeze-dried.

You can find this herb in Southeast Asia, Portugal, Spain, France, the United States of America, India, China, and Russia.

It is best to opt for chives than garlic because garlic tends to overpower other flavors.

They can be added to a salad, soup, or even deviled eggs.

  • Key Characteristics: Chives have a delicate and mild onion flavor with thin and long green stalks. They can be used as a versatile substitute for green onions, especially for garnishes and toppings.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of chives as a substitute for green onions. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements and desired flavor intensity.

2 – Shallots

shallots

In place of green onions, you can opt for using shallots.

Shallots are more pungent than their lily family counterparts, and they offer a lovely flavor as well as color.

The taste is stronger than green onions, but it’s also sweeter.

The smell is very similar to garlic, and this particular vegetable tends to be found in Europe, Australia, and the United States of America.

When using shallots, one can slice them up and add them to a stir fry or a salad.

This particular vegetable is often used in Mediterranean dishes and French cuisine.

As for taste, it’s best not to cook the dish too much if you’re going to use this particular vegetable because grilling will cause the flavor of this vegetable to burn.

  • Key Characteristics: Shallots have a mild and slightly sweet onion flavor with small bulbs and purplish-brown skin. They can serve as a suitable substitute for green onions in various dishes.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of shallots as a substitute for green onions. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements and desired flavor intensity.

3 – Leeks

leeks

First and foremost, it’s vital to note that both green onions and leek are onion family members that taste quite similar to one another.

However, they are not the same thing.

While green onions tend to have an extra kick of flavor, leeks offer a milder flavor than green onions.

When it comes to taste, usage depends on personal preference.

Leeks are usually bigger than green onions, and they offer a lovely flavor and an aroma.

People tend to use leeks in stir-fries or creamy sauces when using leeks.

They can be used in green onions for onion soup, chowder, or stir fry.

  • Key Characteristics: Leeks offer a mild onion flavor with a hint of sweetness. They have long white stalks and dark green leaves. Leeks can be used as a substitute for green onions in both cooked and raw preparations.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of leeks as a substitute for green onions. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements and desired flavor intensity.

4 – Red or Yellow Onions

red or yellow onions

If all you have available in your pantry is red or yellow onions, these can be used as a substitute for green onions.

Red and yellow onions are slightly sweet in flavor, and they’re very mild compared to green onions.

They offer a lovely color in addition to the aroma, and they tend to be found more often than green onions.

While these tend to be very pungent, they offer a lovely flavor and aroma.

This particular vegetable can replace green onions for salad, pizza, or other dishes that call for green onion as an ingredient.

  • Key Characteristics: Red or yellow onions have a stronger onion flavor compared to green onions. They come in various sizes and colors. While the flavor may be more pronounced, they can still work as a substitute in recipes that call for green onions.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of red or yellow onions as a substitute for green onions. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements and desired flavor intensity.

5 – Ramps

ramps

Last but not least, ramps can also be used as a substitute for green onions.

Ramps are related to shallots, but they are slightly spicy compared to other onion family members.

This particular vegetable has taper leaves and a white bulb.

They offer an earthy flavor that is rather mild compared to other onion family members.

The taste is also quite similar to garlic, and these onions can be found in the United States of America.

People tend to use ramps a lot in the spring and autumn months because this particular vegetable isn’t available all year round.

Ramps are best used for pasta, sandwiches, dips, and non-soup dishes.

  • Key Characteristics: Ramps are similar to green onions but have a unique garlic-like flavor. They have slender bulbs and broad green leaves. Ramps can add complexity to dishes as a substitute for green onions.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of ramps as a substitute for green onions. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements and desired flavor intensity.

Conclusion

Green onions are a versatile vegetable that can be used to substitute many other vegetables.

In addition, the flavor of green onion is rather pungent, and it offers an aroma and color.

In this particular article, we have discussed five alternatives you can use in place of green onions.

These include chives, shallots, leeks, red and yellow onions, and ramps.

Each vegetable offers a different degree of pungency, and they also offer their unique flavor.

People tend to use these vegetables in place of green onion for a salad, stir fry, or sandwich, among other dishes.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Green Onions

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes
Servings

4

Servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calorieskcal
Total time

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • Chives

  • Shallots

  • Leeks

  • Red or Yellow Onions

  • Ramps

Directions

  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

Recipe Video

About The Author

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