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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.

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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

When the recipes one is cooking call for green onions, and none are available, a few different substitutions can be used.

While those who have never cooked with green onions before may not know what they taste like or how to use them, it’s easy to learn to substitute similar ingredients in their place.

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Below are five suggestions for what one can use as a substitute for green onions.

1 – 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.

2 – 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.

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3 – 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.

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.

5 – Ramps


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

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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.


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.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Green Onions

The 5 Best Substitutes for Green Onions
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Chives
  • Shallots
  • Leeks
  • Red or Yellow Onions
  • Ramps


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