There is just something about sprinkling onion powder onto my food that used to seem wrong to me, almost like cheating.
But once I took the leap and added this amazing ingredient into my cooking, I have never regretted it for a moment in my life since then.
It is awesome, it is great but supposing you ran out and are unable to run to the store to grab more, you do not have to miss out on the oniony flavor.
You can always substitute onion powder with onion salt, dehydrated onion flakes, a grated fresh onion, chives, shallots and so much more. And, I am sure that out of all these alternatives, you will always find one in your pantry.
Where to buy onion powder
Onion powder is readily available at most grocery stores and supermarkets right there in the spice aisle.
Most stores stock various varieties of onion powder; white, yellow, and red. If you are in luck, you may also be able to find toasted onion powder.
Alternatively, you can order it online from the comfort of your home. Be careful not to confuse it with onion salt!!
Homemade onion powder
This alternative is a quick, inexpensive, and frankly speaking, easy way to replace your store-bought onion powder.
You can always make your own onion powder if you have some free time on your hands or if you are feeling adventurous in the kitchen and cooking department.
All you need is a few fresh onions, an oven, a coffee grinder or a food processor, and resealable airtight containers for storing the resultant powder.
Here are the steps to follow in preparing your own homemade onion powder;
- We begin by thoroughly washing the onions and then peeling them.
- Next is to chop them into small, thin slices or whatever shape you prefer
- Make sure to preheat the oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place the chopped onion pieces onto a tray or a baking sheet and place the baking sheet into the oven. After about an hour or so, check on the onions and give them a stir to ensure that they cook evenly on all sides.
- Then, every thirty minutes or so stir your onions and test a few pieces by crushing them. Ideally, the onions will be done when you can easily crumble the pieces in your hand and they will also have a beautiful golden color to them.
- Once the onions are done, take the dried onions out and let them cool down completely.
- Proceed to place the cool dried onions in a coffee grinder or a food processor and grind them to a fine powder or your desired consistency.
- Put your onion powder in resealable airtight containers or jars and store them away in a cool and dry area. This homemade powder can last in your pantry for up to a whole year without going bad. Of course, you can also opt to freeze any excess onion powder that you may have made.
Substitutes for Onion Powder
Get this, you are in the kitchen, your pan is on the stove and you are so ready to eat.
Your meal prepping is going well and you reach out to grab your onion powder only to realize you are all out. Well, do not panic.
You can still prepare your meal without losing out on flavor with some of these alternatives. They are probably in your pantry or your refrigerator as we speak (or read in this case).
- Dehydrated onion flakes
Both onion powder and dehydrated onion flakes are made from dried onions. Because of this, their flavor is exactly the same making dehydrated onion flakes and an almost perfect alternative to onion powder.
The main difference between dehydrated onion flakes and onion powder is in the size of the granules.
Onion flakes have much larger granules. The beauty of dehydrated onion flakes is that you can easily grind them (using a grinder or with a mortar and pestle) and get something very close to onion powder.
It is an ideal substitute for dishes such as salads, stir-fries, casseroles, or baked chicken and fish.
Note that you always substitute one teaspoon of onion powder with one tablespoon of dehydrated onion flakes.
- Onion salt
Onion salt is simply a blend of our missing ingredient “onion powder “ and regular salt making it a rather excellent substitute to use.
The only catch is that you would have to adjust the amount of table salt or other high sodium condiments that your recipes call for or omit altogether.
What onion does is that it offers the same flavor and texture to your dish as onion powder would. Onion salt is best suited for dishes such as soups, broths and stews, marinades, and all manner of egg dishes.
However, due to its high sodium content, onion salt is not a suitable alternative for people who need to watch their salt intake.
- Grated fresh onion
Grated fresh onion is a substitute that offers the freshness and moisture lacking in onion powder. To prepare the grated fresh onion, you simply need to peel an onion and wash it properly, grab your box or kitchen grater and grate the onion to your desired size.
You can also use a food processor to do the grating and make the process quicker and the result finer. Because of their added moisture or water, you may have to make adjustments to the liquids you add to your recipe.
Fresh onions also have a much stronger flavor compared to onion powder. As such you may want to replace every teaspoon of onion powder with a half teaspoon of grated fresh onion.
Then, as always adjust to taste. You can use grated fresh onion in soups, stews, broths, burgers, and salad dressings.
- Granulated Onion
These are onions that have been dried and broken into smaller granules. It offers the same oniony flavor as onion powder typically would but with a kind of rustic feel or structure added.
Granulated onions are great substitutes in meatballs, dry rubs, and marinades.
Because onion powder has a stronger flavor than that of granulated onions, ensure to use two teaspoons of granulated onion for every teaspoon of onion powder as a ratio in your cooking.
- Garlic salt
Garlic salt is a great alternative to onion powder in recipes that do not mind the spicy, delectable garlic flavor.
Garlic salt offers the same exact texture that onion powder normally does. Always keep in mind to adjust the amount of regular table salt you use or omit it completely to avoid it overpowering other ingredients in the meal.
When using garlic salt as a substitute for onion powder, add it to the meal gradually so as not to overpower your dish with the strong and very distinctive garlic flavor.
This is typically a variety of onion with a similar but milder taste to it. If you want to get the intense onion taste, just add more shallots to your meal.
They are perfect for making casseroles, sauces, salad dressing as they tend to caramelize almost immediately.
They are also a healthier option in comparison to onion powder due to the fact that they have everything from fiber to minerals and vitamins that go a long way in keeping us healthy and strong.
Scallions are a type of onion that are picked when they are still young and before the bull is totally matured.
They are members of the “Allium” family that includes leeks, shallots, garlic, chives, and of course, onions.
They have a milder yet sweeter flavor in comparison to that of onion powder. They can also be eaten either raw or cooked.
Scallions are best for use in dishes such as pizza, pasta, and any seafood meal.
- Onion juice
Onion juice works as a great substitute for onion powder in liquid-based dishes such as soups, broths, and stews.
Onion juice offers typically the same onion flavor as onion powder without adding any extra bulk.
What else can be used for other substitutes?
You can prepare this at home by simply blending up chopped onions. It is great for sautéing and thickening all manner of sauces.
You ought to replace one teaspoon of onion powder with two tablespoons of onion paste in a recipe.
These are yet another member of the onion family but with a subtler onion flavor. It is best to use chives when raw as their flavor tends to diminish when cooked and more so when cooked for too long.
You can add the onion-like flavor to a dish without the bulk and mixture just like onion powder. Simply replace onion powder with celery seeds in dry rubs, salads, dressings, and brine.
Another much healthier alternative to onion powder. Fennel bulbs contain lots of nutrients such as potassium that helps maintain healthy blood pressure, vitamins A and C that are powerful antioxidants, and selenium that can prevent inflammation and decrease tumor growth rates.
Use fennel bulbs in stews, salads, and vegetable dishes.
What Is A Suitable Substitute for Garam Masala? Click to read.
Although you might not be able to replicate the exact flavor and texture onion powder offers, the substitutes above can work.
When using vegetables as a substitute, start with members of the “Allium “family for the almost similar oniony flavor.
For convenience purposes, use dehydrated onion flakes, onion salt, garlic salt, and garlic powder to avoid the hassle of preparing vegetables. For healthier alternatives use shallots or fennel bulbs.