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The 11 Best Granulated Onion Substitutes

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The best granulated onion substitutes include onion flakes, onion powder, minced onion, onion salt, chopped fresh onion, onion paste, scallions, and shallots. If you want a non-onion-based substitute, you can also use chopped chives, garlic powder, chopped celery, celery seed, leeks, and fennel. 

If you’re following a recipe that requires you to add granulated onion and discover you have none in your pantry, don’t worry. There are numerous substitutes available for this ingredient, and you should have at least one in your home. To learn more about the many options, you can use, keep reading.

1. Onion Flakes

Dried onion flakes in a bowl on a burlap cloth

Onion flakes are very similar to a granulated onion. These two ingredients – and onion powder – are made in the same way. The only difference between the three is how fine they are ground. 

Onion flakes are the coarsest of the three options. You can grind them down with a mortar and pestle to make onion powder, but this isn’t necessary. If you’re keeping the onion flakes whole, you’ll need to add a little more of it to your recipe than you would granulated onion – for every two parts of granulated onion, you should add three parts of onion flakes.

2. Onion Powder

Powered onion held in a hand

As mentioned above, onion powder is very similar to granulated onion and onion flakes. 

How Much Onion Powder Is Equal to Granulated Onion?

Onion powder is the finest of the three options and offers a much stronger oniony flavor than its counterparts. 

In flavor, onion powder is about double the strength of granulated onion. So, if you’re substituting onion powder for granulated onion, you should add about half the amount of onion powder as you would use granulated onion. 

3. Minced Onion

Minced onions are essentially onions that are chopped extremely finely. If you don’t have granulated onion but do have an onion, you can simply chop your onion very finely and use it as a replacement for the missing ingredient. You do not need to peel an onion before mincing it, making the process easier. 

Can I Use Minced Onion Instead of Granulated Onion?

You can use minced onion as a substitute for granulated onion. Granulated onion is finer than minced onion, just as it is finer than onion flakes. Because minced onion is generally made with fresh onion, it packs quite a punch when used as a replacement for granulated onion. 

That said, it is still not as oniony as onion powder and granulated onion – it is simply more oniony than chopped onion. For this reason, you should substitute minced onion for granulated onion in the following ratio: one part granulated onion to three parts minced onion.

4. Onion Salt

Onion salt is essentially salt that has been mixed with onion powder. You can either buy this at the grocery store or make your own at home. To make your own onion salt, you will need:

  • Onion powder
  • Salt 

Once you have your ingredients, you should mix three parts salt with one part onion powder. If you aren’t using it immediately, or won’t be using all of it in your recipe, store it in an airtight jar. 

Onion salt should be substituted in a one half-to-one ratio. Essentially, replace the amount of granulated onion called for in your recipe with about half as much onion salt. 

Keep in mind that onion salt will add to the saltiness of your dish, so you may need to vary the other ingredients in your recipe to prevent it from tasting too salty. Depending on how much granulated onion your recipe calls for, you can probably do away with salt altogether if you’re using onion salt as a substitute. 

5. Chopped Fresh Onion

Chopped fresh green onions isolated on a white background

Chopped fresh onion is similar to minced onion – the only difference is that, instead of chopping it extremely finely, you can dice it instead. 

How Do I Replace Granulated Onion With a Chopped Fresh Onion?

To replace granulated onion with chopped fresh onion, dice your onion and add it to your recipe in place of the granulated onion. Cook it along with the rest of your dish as instructed in the recipe.

A chopped fresh onion does not have as much of an oniony flavor as granulated onion or even minced onion. Essentially, the finer an onion is chopped or ground, the stronger the flavor. 

Because the flavor is milder, you should substitute four and a half parts of chopped fresh onion for every one part of the granulated onion. Keep in mind that this will alter the texture of your recipe, so you may have to make further changes to the dish until you’re satisfied with the final product.

6. Onion Paste

Finely chopped onions in a blender

Onion paste essentially involves chopping and blending onion until you get a paste-like consistency. You can buy onion paste in the grocery store, but it’s easy to make at home and works out to be much cheaper.

When substituting granulated onion for onion paste, you should add three parts onion paste for every two parts granulated onion.

7. Chopped Scallions, Shallots, and Chives

Chopped fresh green onions isolated on a white background

Chopped scallions (also known as green onions), shallots, and chives are all good solutions for giving a dish an oniony flavor without messing with the spice mixture. Unlike the above-mentioned options, you will not use these ingredients as direct substitutes for granulated onion.

Instead, continue making the recipe as usual, just without adding any granulated onion. Then, add the chopped scallions, shallots, or chives as a garnish to provide the onion flavor you could not add to the dish. This is a good option if you don’t want to alter the dish’s texture (as with chopped onions) or affect the balance of the other ingredients (as with onion salt).

You can add as much or as little of this garnish as you like. However, for an easy rule of thumb, you should add one and a half parts of chopped scallions or two parts of chopped chives for every one part of the granulated onion. For shallots, you should use one shallot for every tablespoon (or every three teaspoons) of granulated onion mentioned in your recipe.

8. Garlic Powder

Garlic-Powder-Container-That-Spilled-on-the-Counter

Garlic powder doesn’t have quite the same flavor as a granulated onion but is often used as a substitute in a pinch when there are no onion-based substitutes available. Keep in mind that garlic powder tastes very strong, so you should only use a quarter part of this ingredient for every one part of the granulated onion.

9. Chopped Celery and Fennel

Chopped celery on a cutting board

Celery and fennel are good substitutes if you’re looking to replicate the aroma of granulated onion rather than the flavor. Keep in mind that both of these ingredients have distinctly different flavors to onions, and they aren’t for everyone. 

This is especially true for fennel, as many people feel this herb has an extremely overpowering flavor. Additionally, they have a high moisture content, so you may have to alter the rest of your recipe to compensate for this. 

That said, if you’re okay with the taste, you can use both chopped celery and chopped fennel bulbs in a 1:1 ratio with granulated onion. 

10. Celery Seed

Dry organic celery seeds in a bowl and on a spoon

If you enjoy the taste of celery but aren’t keen on changing your recipe to compensate for the additional moisture provided by fresh celery, celery seed is a good alternative.

Celery seed has a much more pronounced flavor than fresh celery, so you should substitute it in a ratio of one part granulated onion to half a part of celery seed.

11. Leeks

Chopped leek on a cutting board

Leeks look similar to scallions and are related to onions. Though they aren’t onions, this relationship means that their flavor is relatively similar to that of an onion – and, as a result, to that of granulated onion. 

This ingredient should only be used as a substitute in dishes with a long cook time. Leeks are a tricky ingredient, and a lengthy cook time will allow them to soften and become more palatable. Alternatively, you can also use leeks as a substitute in recipes that need to be sauteed. 

Leeks should be substituted in a ratio of half a cup of chopped leeks to one teaspoon of granulated onion.

How To Make Granulated Onion at Home

If you’re not keen on substituting granulated onion for a different ingredient and you have onions at home, you can simply make your own granulated onion.

All you need for this recipe is an onion (or several onions) and either an air dryer, dehydrator, or a freeze-drying machine. As freeze-drying machines are generally considered professional appliances and are unlikely to be found in a home kitchen, most people will have either an air dryer or dehydrator on hand. 

Once you have all your ingredients and tools, here’s what you need to do:

  • Dehydrate, or air dry your onion(s). Onions are about 89% water, and you need to get rid of this water content before making your granulated onion. 
  • Once your onion is ready, grab a broad-bladed knife or a mortar and pestle.
  • Use this to crush your onion into granulated onion. 

Making granulated onion at home gives you greater control over the texture of the final product. This is the same method you can use to make homemade onion flakes and onion powder – the only difference between the three is how finely you will shred or crush your dehydrated onion.

For more, don’t miss How To Fix Too Much Garlic Powder | 6 Simple Solutions.

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