9 Spring Onion Substitutes to Use in Hot or Cold Dishes

Spring onions, similar to green onions, are a member of the onion and garlic family and therefore taste oniony, fresh and slightly sweet. Both the bulb and the leaves are edible but the leaves come with a stronger flavor. 

Spring onion is used in salads, soups, dumplings, dips, marinades, sauces, stir-fries and stuffing. This is a seasonal green and in case you can’t find it, you can refer to the substitutes in this article. 

On the other hand, spring scallions smell strong and if you don’t like it you can use odor-free alternatives. 

So, the best spring onion substitutes are scallions, chives, leeks, yellow onions, red onions, shallots, dried spring onions and onion powder. 

Best Substitutes for Spring Onion

1. Scallions or Green Onions

Scallions or green onions are another type of young onion only with a smaller bulb and thinner leaves. Scallions have a chance to grow larger but they taste milder and have a more pleasant texture when younger. 

They are often confused with spring onions but this slight difference makes them stand out. Anyway, you can use scallions in place of spring onions in all recipes.  

2. Chives

Chives come with long, skinny and solid green leaves. They are very delicate and taste mild. This variety of onion is mainly used in salads and cold dishes but you can add them to cooked dishes at the end of cooking. 

Chives serve as good dressings too and it’s recommended to use them raw rather than cooked. However, if you don’t have any other option to choose for cooked dishes, chives can work too. Just make sure you don’t overcook them to maintain their texture and taste.

3. Leeks

Leeks are larger and come with wider leaves. The texture on the other hand, is tougher but if you chop it thinely it will resemble fresh spring onions. 

They have a milder sweet onion flavor than spring onions and are less juicy. They go well with soups, stews, pastas and can be used as a dressing. Note, that leeks tend to add depth to the dish and they often thicken soups and other hot meals. 

4. Yellow Onions

Yellow onions have a mellow, mild and kind of sweet taste. They are juicier than some other varieties of onion and they are used in versatile dishes including both hot and cold meals. 

You can caramelize them, add into soups, cooked dishes, use in marinades, salads and roast dishes. 

Yellow onions are available all year round and they are easy to find alternatives to spring onions. They have a stronger flavor and are more suitable for cooked dishes. Use them in smaller quantities. 

5. Red Onions

Compared to yellow onions, red onions are rather on the spicier side than on sweet. However, they also carry the sweetness that other onions have. 

They also come with a tougher and crunchier texture but are less juicier. The velvety red color makes them one of the best types of onion for dressings and salads. 

Red onions have a stronger taste and flavor than spring onions, so you need to use them in small quantities when substituting with spring onions. You can use red onions in cooked dishes, salads and many more. They are also easy to find all year round. 

6. Shallots

Shallots are small and mild-tasting onions compared to other onions but they have a slightly stronger flavor compared to spring onions. 

You can use them in hot and cold dishes including soups and salads as well as caramelize or add to stir-fries. 

Like red and yellow onions, they are easy to find all year round and are widely used in a number of dishes. 

7. Dried Spring Onions

Besides the fresh alternatives, there are also dried spring onions stored in a jar and sold in grocery stores in the spice and herb section. Dried chopped spring onions are also easy to use. They are perfect for soups, stews and other cooked dishes.

You can always have them in your spice racks and use instead of fresh onions. The taste and flavor will be similar and the only difference is in texture. They tend to stay kind of dry even when soaked or added into cooked dishes. 

8. Onion Powder

Another dry substitute for spring onions is onion powder. You may often use this condiment in various dishes as it’s quite popular. 

So, if you have it, then add it to hot dishes, stews, soups and sometimes in marinades. It will bring the onion flavor but you won’t have the texture of onions in the dish. Overall, it’s a good, easy and quick alternative to consider.

9. Ramps 

Ramps are wild greens similar to spring onions. Their season is short, just a few weeks, but if you get them in season you can use them in place of spring onions too.

Ramp tastes something between onion, scallion and garlic and it also holds peppery touches that make it one of the most aromatic greens to use anywhere you use scallions or spring onions. 


What’s the difference between scallions, green onions and spring onions?

The main difference between scallions, green onions and spring onions is the age of the time they grow before you may harvest them. 

Pay attention to the bulbs and you’ll see the difference: scallions have the thinnest bulbs, green onions come with slightly larger bulbs and spring onions have round-shaped bulbs. 

Are spring onions keto?

Spring onions are low carb and they are definitely one of the best keto-friendly greens to use in your diet. 

Can I use spring onions in cooking?

Of course you can, because spring onions are one of the most flavorful herbs. They add a fresh and mellow taste to cooked dishes. 

However, you should make sure you don’t overcook them. They have a subtle texture and may even lose their taste if you cook them longer. It’s better to add them at the end of the cooking process. 

Can I grow spring onions?

Spring onions are easy to grow and care for and yes, you can grow them even at home. They grow in any well-drained soil, in an open area and under the sun. They also don’t require a lot of water. 

Final Words

You can keep spring onions in the fridge for up to 10 days but they are not the type of greens to keep longer. However, you can chop them, store in a zip-log bag and keep in the freezer for later use. 

Anyway, if you don’t have fresh or frozen spring onions, you have good ideas of spring onion substitutes to consider. 

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