Top 8 Substitutes For Green Onion

May 6, 2021 | Cooking Tips

Here’s a list of our top 8 substitutes for green onion.

Green onion is a delicious garnish to top your savory dishes with. It gives you the kick of fresh onion without have to bite through onion meat. It’s a good way to “color” your food if you feel like it’s too monochrome.

We often struggle though on what the difference between chives, scallions, green onion, spring onion and leeks are. They’re all green and somehow, we think that they taste the same.

Which is which? What to do when you’re out of green onion?

Spring Onions

1. Spring Onions

Spring onions are the older version of green onions. The difference is the time when these were harvested. Spring onions are harvested when the onion is more mature. They tend to be longer and more pungent than green onion but they basically taste the same. It serves as a good substitute for green onion for garnish and the addition of the onion flavor.


2. Scallions

Scallions are basically the younger version of green onions. Scallions have a grassier aroma compared to green onions but they display the same flavor that is sharp and sulfur-like.


3. Leeks

Leeks are green onions but in 2XL. Leeks are bigger and less pungent in flavor. They’re usually used to flavor stocks and soups more than the thinner green onions.

In Taiwan, there’s a famous street food that highlights leeks. The leeks add sweetness to this laminated pancake with lingering onion sharpness.

If you’re absolutely out of green onions, leeks would serve as an easy replacement for it.

Red Onions

4. Red Onion

Red onion is the stronger kind of onion. It shows in its color. Red onion is usually used in Asian cuisine because it complements oriental flavor more. If you’re looking for a strong onion flavor, use red onion as a substitute for green onions if you’re absolutely out of it.

They won’t be as nice and green but they still add color to a dish.


5. Shallots

Shallots and scallions are quite similar in name but the difference is in the appearance. Shallots are small bulbs of onion and are usually red or white. They’re usually stronger than matured onion.

Shallots are great to top salads with because of their nice petite size. They look great when thinly sliced. If you don’t want the big bits of onion, use shallots.

Shallots are also great for caramelizing or deep-frying. It brings sweetness to dishes, most especially salads.


6. Chives

Chives are more of an herb than an onion. They’re also green in color and great to use as garnish.

Chives are more aromatic and have a subtle flavor. If you’re looking for a less potent taste in your food, chop up some chives and sprinkle them over your food.


7. Celery

Celery might be off on this list but if you’re looking to replace that green color in your food garnish, celery is a pretty good substitute for green onion.

The flavor won’t be the same but it’ll serve as a nice crunchy alternative to green onions in dishes.


8. Ramps

Ramps are wild leeks found in North America. They’re more garlicky in flavor compared to the sharp onion flavor of leeks. They’re not available for a very long time in the season but try to get a hold of ramps to taste the addition of garlic flavor into your onion-like substitute.


Hey there! I'm Isabel. I love cooking, dogs, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good flavorful food, to share with family and friends.



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