How to Find the Best Green Onion Substitute

The green onions are a common food ingredient in many cuisines across the world because of their specific and refreshing taste which adds up to the flavor of many traditional dishes. However, there are many equally delicious substitutes for the green onions which are interesting for people who like to add some exotic ingredients to make their meals unforgettable.

Also, some people don’t like the taste of green onions, or they’re allergic to some of its natural traits. Therefore, a green onion substitute might be the right solution for all those people who want their meals to have that delicious final touch with a taste of onion that is well-mixed with other ingredients.

Each green onion substitute that we will mention here features a unique onion taste which can expand your palette of tastes and become your all-time favorite later on.

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What are the green onions?

Sometimes called scallions and spring onions, the green onions are standardly used in Asian cuisines, but many other world cuisines are known for frequent use of green onions in meals. The green onions have a distinct taste that features a sharp flavor with the white part of the onion having the strongest taste.

Because of the strong taste, the opinions are divided when it comes to the frequent use of green onions in meals. Some people find this sharp onion taste attractive, but others find it too strong and thus reluctantly include the green onions while cooking.

Therefore, a green onion substitute won’t feature such a strong taste as it’s more versatile which means that it can be used in a variety of different meals and significantly add up to their flavor.

How to Use Green Onions in Meals?

Some people find themselves puzzled about which parts of the green onions are best used for cooking. Also, some of the most common problems with the preparation of green onions is a question whether all of the green onion parts are edible.

In most recipes which list the green onions among the ingredients, you’ll only need the white root and the pale green portion which is just above the root. Also, the green leaves have a purpose as they can be thinly sliced and used as a delicious garnish for a big number of meals.

It is also important that you know how to choose the quality onions as you may encounter a big difference in taste between the lower and higher quality onions. So, before you decide to buy a few green onions, make sure that you’ve checked these things first:

  • Generally, the green onions feature long, straight green leaves and straight bases, rather than bulbous-shaped. Look for the green onions with the straight bases as such a trait means that the onions were harvested when they were still young before they had time to develop into a large, rounded mature onion that features a notably different taste.

  • It’s also important that you choose green onions with fresh-looking green tops and clean white ends because these traits provide you with instant insight into the freshness of the vegetables.

  • When buying green onions for a recipe, it’s good to keep in mind that 1 medium green onion is the same as 2 tablespoons sliced green onions concerning the taste intensity.

There are useful tips for green onion preparation to help you get the best of this vegetable:

  • The onions are best rinsed under cool tap water and also it’s important that you remove any wilted or damaged tops on the white parts.

  • When it comes to cutting the onions, it’s recommended that you lay several onions on a cutting surface and trim off the stringy root ends using a chef’s knife.

Substitutes for green onions

As it was already mentioned, some people would rather try a recipe with a green onion substitute as they don’t like the taste of the green onions, or they just want to include some exotic choices in their meals.

Therefore, the following list of green onion substitutes should help you make a good decision while considering the alternatives. Each green onion substitute features a unique taste and may inspire you to make your own original recipes which include them.


Chives are best used for garnishes and raw dishes as they feature a distinct taste that is not too sharp but leaves a unique and pleasant feeling on your taste buds. The chives are not as crunchy as green onions, but among all of the green onion substitutes, they taste the most similar to green onions.


Leeks feature a look that is quite similar to green onions but with the much wider stalks that are more leaf-like. The leeks feature a strong taste, similar to fully-grown onions, so make sure that you don’t overuse them in the recipe. This green onion substitute is recommended to be used only in a cooked dish where the flavors mellow differently.


Ramps are foraged in the spring and present a sort of wild leeks which grow throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, and the Eastern United States. The ramps have an interesting flavor which is somewhere in between the onion and garlic flavors. The ramps are not appropriate as a garnish, so use them in a cooked recipe or sauce.


This is the sweetest green onion substitute as it features a mild and sweet flavor which adds up to the overall deliciousness of your dish. The shallots should be used in small amounts and only as a substitution in cooked dishes.


White or yellow onions are listed among the green onion substitutes as they can add up to the flavor balance if finely minced and used with discretion. Also, you can use red onions as they are sweeter and mellower. The red onions are best used for preparing a garnish on tacos or in salsa.

Tips on how to use the green onion substitutes in recipes

All of the mentioned substitutes have specific recipes in which their full flavor potential can be emphasized. We will show you a few ways to prepare each green onion substitute and enjoy its full taste.

  • The chives are best prepared if snipped with scissors instead of chopping them. Also, it’s important that you don’t subject them to much cooking as they will lose their delicate taste. Purple blue chive flowers can also be eaten and used as a garnish.

    One of the recipes which may introduce you the best to the taste of the chives is mushroom and asparagus risotto recipe.

  • The leeks are easy to prepare as you only have to trim off the roots and the coarse dark green part of the tops, then cut the leeks in lengthways, wash them under a running tap and drain thoroughly afterward.

    Remember not to throw away the roots and dark green parts of the tops. If you want to feel the full taste of the leeks, check the creamy one-pot spaghetti with leeks recipe.

  • One of the best ways to use the ramps in the recipe is to make a pizza with ramps, morels, and eggs. Also, if you like the taste of the ramps, you can pickle them and by doing so, preserve their taste.

    The garlic-like flavor of the ramps is well-combined with vinegar as the vinegar enhances the taste of the ramps, making them taste sharper. The ramps are also great when grilled in combination with white cheddar grits. This recipe brings the bright, onion-like ramps and introduces the springtime.

  • As mentioned, the shallots have a milder, sweeter flavor than onions. The shallots are very versatile as they can be used in everything from pies and tarts to pickles, sauces, etc.

    If you want to taste the shallots at their finest, then you should check the shallot and red wine sauce which presents a magical flavor addition to rib-eye steaks. This recipe allows for the shallots to express their sweetness to the maximum and perfectly merge with the rest of the ingredients to form one of the best steak sauces out there.

  • The white onions are known to have a very strong flavor, but in certain recipes, if prepared properly, they can be a slight, but noticeable addition to the overall flavor of the meal. One of the best ways to see how the white onions can make a discrete addition to the taste is to prepare them in a quick veggie risotto recipe.

    The red onions feature a specific preparation method which allows for their full taste. If you want to prepare the best red onions, you should slice them as thin as possible by using a mandolin. Then, stuff the onions in the jar and combine them with apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and warm water.

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