7 Best Substitute For Onion Flakes

Onion Flakes Substitute

Onion flakes, a pantry staple for many, are small, dehydrated pieces of onion that serve as an essential ingredient in a plethora of dishes. These little gems offer a burst of flavor that elevates the taste profile of your culinary creations. They are especially favored for their long shelf life and convenience, as they can be easily rehydrated and used whenever needed, thus eliminating the laborious peeling and chopping associated with fresh onions.

However, there might be instances where you run out of these flavorful bits or when dietary restrictions necessitate seeking alternatives. This is where substitutes for onion flakes come into play. They are not just mere stand-ins; they are carefully selected ingredients that can replicate or even enhance the flavor that onion flakes would typically impart to your dishes. Whether it’s the freshness of an actual onion, the delicate flavor of chives, or the complex taste profile of garlic flakes, these substitutes ensure your culinary journey continues unhindered.

What are Onion Flakes?

Onion flakes, also known as dehydrated onions, are made by mincing fresh onions and then dehydrating them. These tiny, dehydrated pieces pack an intense flavor punch, adding a rich, savory element to your dishes. Onion flakes are a convenient choice for cooks as they have a longer shelf life compared to fresh onions and can be easily rehydrated when needed. They are commonly used in soups, stews, casseroles, and marinades, providing a burst of onion flavor without the prep work of peeling and chopping.

Quick Glance at Substitutes For Onion Flakes

  • Fresh Onion
  • Onion Powder
  • Onion Salt
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Garlic Flakes
  • Chives

Best Substitutes For Onion Flakes

Choosing a suitable substitute for onion flakes depends on the specific flavor profile and texture you aim to achieve in your dish. Each of these alternatives offers a unique take on imitating the savory depth of onion flakes.

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Fresh Onion

Fresh onions are the most straightforward substitute for onion flakes. Since onion flakes are merely dehydrated onions, using fresh ones provides the closest flavor match. Fresh onions not only bring the same pungent and slightly sweet flavor but also add a more pronounced crunch to your dishes. For every tablespoon of onion flakes, you can use about 1/4 cup of chopped fresh onion.

However, it’s essential to consider the moisture content when substituting with fresh onions. They contain a higher water content which might affect the consistency of your dish, especially in recipes like dry rubs and seasoning blends. To address this, you could sauté the onions before adding them to your recipe to reduce the moisture content.

Another aspect to consider is the type of onion you choose. Yellow onions have a robust flavor, while white onions are milder and sweeter. Red onions are strong and sharp, and they bring a vibrant color to your dishes. Select the type that best complements your recipe.

Onion Powder

Onion powder is another reliable substitute for onion flakes. Made by grinding dehydrated onions into a fine powder, it provides a similar intense flavor. The primary difference between the two lies in their texture. Onion powder lacks the crunchy texture of onion flakes, making it a more suitable alternative for dishes where texture is not crucial.

To substitute onion flakes with onion powder, use a ratio of 1:3. That is, for every tablespoon of onion flakes required, use one teaspoon of onion powder. Keep in mind that onion powder can clump together over time, so ensure you store it correctly to maintain its fine texture.

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Onion Salt

Onion salt, a mixture of salt and ground onion, can serve as a practical alternative to onion flakes. The salt enhances the onion flavor, making this a potent seasoning tool in your culinary arsenal. It’s particularly effective in savory dishes that would benefit from both a flavor and sodium boost.

To replace onion flakes with onion salt, keep the salt content of your recipe in mind. Onion salt will add extra sodium, which could potentially make your dish overly salty. A general guideline is to use half a teaspoon of onion salt for every tablespoon of onion flakes. Additionally, reduce the amount of additional salt in your recipe to compensate for the sodium in the onion salt.


Leeks belong to the same Allium family as onions and thus have a similar flavor profile, albeit milder and sweeter. Their subtle flavor can mimic that of onion flakes, especially when used in stews, soups, and casseroles. To substitute, replace every tablespoon of onion flakes with about two tablespoons of finely chopped leeks.

Bear in mind that the green parts of leeks have a stronger flavor, while the white parts are milder and sweeter. Choose according to the flavor intensity you desire. Remember to wash leeks thoroughly before use, as they often trap dirt and sand between their layers.


Shallots, another member of the Allium family, make for a good substitute for onion flakes. They are similar in taste to onions but have a sweeter, milder, and more sophisticated flavor. This makes them an excellent option for dishes that call for a less pronounced onion taste.

For each tablespoon of onion flakes, use two tablespoons of minced shallots. If your recipe requires a dry ingredient, you can also use dehydrated shallots. These can be rehydrated and used in much the same way as onion flakes.

Garlic Flakes

Garlic flakes, though not identical to onion, can lend a savory depth to dishes much like onion flakes do. This substitute is particularly useful when you want to deviate slightly from the onion flavor and incorporate a more complex taste.

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You can substitute garlic flakes for onion flakes in a 1:1 ratio. But remember, the flavor of garlic is potent and distinct. It could slightly alter the taste of your dish, so use this substitute when such a variation in flavor would be welcome.


Chives offer a delicate onion-like flavor, making them a suitable substitute for onion flakes in dishes that call for a less overpowering onion taste. Fresh or dried chives can add both color and flavor to a wide range of dishes.

You can replace onion flakes with chives in a 1:1 ratio. However, chives have a more delicate flavor, so you might need to adjust the quantity depending on your taste preference. They are best added towards the end of the cooking process to maintain their flavor and color.

Substitutes for Onion Flakes: Nutritional Profile

Here’s a comparison of the nutritional content of ¼ cup of these substitutes for onion flakes:

Fresh Onion170g4g1g0g2mgGluten-Free
Onion Powder810.2g19g1g2g9mgGluten-Free
Onion Salt200g5g0g0g4710mgGluten-Free
Garlic Flakes1030.2g23g2g5g17mgGluten-Free

Final Thought

Finding the right substitute for onion flakes does not have to be a daunting task. With this list of substitutes, you can be assured of finding the perfect alternative based on the specific needs of your recipe. Whether you are looking for a similar flavor, a different texture, or a completely unique twist, there is an alternative that suits your needs. Remember, cooking is an art, and experimenting with different ingredients is part of the process. So, let your creativity run wild, and don’t let a missing ingredient stop you from creating a culinary masterpiece. Happy cooking!

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