Don't Have Onions In The Kitchen? Keep These 6 Substitutes Handy
Image Credit: Celery

Not just in Indian cuisine, but onions are an essential ingredient in cuisines all around the world. Onions have a unique and versatile flavour profile. They can be sweet, mild, or pungent, depending on the variety and how they are prepared. They add depth, complexity, and a savoury taste and are often used as a base ingredient in many culinary traditions to build a flavorful foundation for various recipes.

Onions can provide contrasting textures to dishes. Best part? Onions are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from soups and stews to sauces, stir-fries, salads and what not? Onions are also a good source of essential nutrients, including vitamin C, dietary fibre, and various antioxidants. They can contribute to the nutritional profile of a meal while adding flavour. But it happens when we run out of onions. So, what to do? 

Video credits: Swati Jain/YouTube

Instead of rushing to the market to buy onions, just keep these six alternatives handy and use them when required. Have a look:


Scallions are a variety of young onions also popularly referred to as green onions and spring onions. It consists of a white base that has not fully developed into a bulb and long green stalks that resemble chives. Both these parts are used in cooking. These have a milder flavour than regular onions and can be used in salads, garnishes, or cooked dishes.


If you don’t have onion, don’t worry and use shallots. With a sweet, mild flavour with a hint of garlic, shallots can be referred to as the more chilled-out cousin of an onion. Shallots can also be used in sauces, dressings as well as sautés. They are a perfect alternative to onions.


Garlic is yet another common cooking ingredient known not just for adding extra taste, and aroma but also adds up to the nutritional value of a meal. While garlic has a distinct flavour, it can be used to add depth to dishes without the strong onion taste. But moderation is the key. Don’t believe us? Give it a try.


Celery doesn’t taste like onion, but it has a similar texture. It can provide a mild, crunchy texture and a subtle, earthy flavour and could be added in place of onions in salads, soups, and stir-fries. Celery can add extra crunch to the dishes they are added to.

Onion Powder

Did you know that you can store onions for a longer period by transforming them into powder form? By adding a small amount of onion powder, you can add a great flavour and aroma to your dish. To make this powder, dry some onions properly and ground them into a form of powder.


Fennel bulbs have a slight liquorice-like flavour and can be sliced thinly or chopped and used in salads or roasted dishes. Fennel can be used raw or cooked and can also be added to many dishes as a perfect replacement for onion. When cooked, their texture becomes like that of cooked onions but with a slight difference in taste.