Best Substitutes For Green Onions

As an excellent ingredient, green onions are hard to replace. But if there aren’t any at hand, you can try their substitutes. 

So, what are the substitutes for green onions? Leeks, chives, shallots, ramps, onions, wild garlic, and scallions are probably the best substitutes out there. These substitutes are members of the same Genus and give a similar taste to your food. Some of these have a mild flavor, while others may be intense.

You may use these alternatives for raw as well as cooked food. To find the preferable best, dive right in! 

What Are Green Onions?

Green onions are edible members of Genus Allium. Most grocers label green onions as “Spring Onions” or “Scallions.” But there is a slight difference between scallions and green onions. 

The brief answer is that scallions are a younger version of green onions. Unlike green onions, they don’t have a fully developed white bulb. 

They are more like straight strips of spring onions. Because they are cousins with similar appearances and tastes, you’ll have a hard time differentiating them. Usually, scallions or green onions take 7-14 days to germinate

Green onions have tubular hollow green leaves growing straight from the white bulb. It’s your choice whether you want to cook them slightly or eat them raw.  These green leaves bounce or spring when you chop them over food. And that’s what gives them their name: Spring Onions! 

Other regional names include Sibies, Table onion, Onion stick, Salad onion, Long onion, Baby onion, Gibbon, Syboe, Precious onion, Yard onion, Wild onion.

Spring Onion vs. Green Onions – What’s the Difference?

Taste Of Green Onions

Green onions are a versatile vegetable and have a mild taste. They have a white bulb at the bottom and green stalks on top, giving them two different flavor profiles. 

The taste of white bottom resembles the taste of white onion. However, it’s sweeter and less intense in contrast to white onions. You can use the bulb as a raw garnish or ingredient in many other foods because of its mild taste.  

The green shoots or leaves provide a fresh grassy flavor to your food. So you can either stir-cook them lightly or use them in their raw form.

What Can You Do With Green Onions?

Many of your cooked or raw foods can pair up with green onions. These include; stews, soups, dips, potato salads, omelets, grilled meat dishes, boiled eggs, Ramen, and stir-fried rice

The amount of green onions in a cuisine depends on you. However, 2-3 tablespoons (almost half cup) of chopped onions probably works best. 

Here are some of the recipe options that use green onions;

  1. For Cooked Food: Cut 1-inch slices of green onions, cook them for roughly 1-2 minutes, and then toss them on meat dishes or stir-fried veggies. 
  1. As Fillings: Stuff chopped spring onions into tuna salad sandwiches and in egg salad fillings.
  1. In a Raw-veggie Tray: Trim the root ends of green onions, cut their long slices of about 3-4 inches, and serve them in a raw vegetable tray.
  1. In Salads: Cut small slices of raw green onions and toss them into a green salad. It will add a lenient onion flavor.
  1. With Eggs: Cut thin slices of green onions and add them to scrambled eggs before cooking. 
  1. In Noodles: Add rings of green onions (spring-chop them) as a finishing touch to Ramen (Noodles).
  1. On Fried-Rice: To make fried rice, chop green onions and stir-fry them for 1-2 minutes. Then add your desired ingredients. (NOTE; you can use chives as a substitute for green onions in fried rice). 

Best Substitutes For Green Onions 

There are some closely related onions you can use as substitutes for green onions. All these substitutes have unique characteristics of their own. 


You can use raw chives as a substitute for green onions. They look just like green onions, except they lack the white bottom part. The green leaves give a taste remarkably similar to green onions. 

However, they are more delicate in flavor, so you can add a few extra leaves if you like them.

You can add chives to cooked foods, but the flavor may disappear. So it’s better to use them raw. Avoid dried chives unless you have no other alternative because their taste completely changes when dried.


Just like chives, leeks bear a similar appearance to fatter green onions. But they are thick and have a deep white part. 

Unlike green onions, they have an intense onion-like taste. Like an onion, leek has a close relation to its family members; garlic, shallots, and onions of other kinds.

They make a perfect combo with cooked dishes and provide an intense texture in raw foods.

Leek is entirely edible. Sometimes, its leaves are mistaken as stem or stalk, yet you can consume them raw or cooked. However, it would be best if you didn’t eat raw leeks because of their spicy taste. 


The common names of ramps are Wood Leek and Wild Leek. Although they are wild, they are an excellent substitute for green onions. You can easily find ramps in your nearby grocery stores. 

They grow all over the surrounding states and the Appalachian Mountains. These wild onions are most common in Asia, North America, and Europe. Ramps usually have a small and not fully developed bulb. 

Ramps have a unique, 2-in-1 solid flavor of garlic and onion. One cup of chopped ramps set equals a half cup of green onions and garlic. 

As raw, you may find their taste and smell quite spicy, so always use ramps in your cooked dishes. 


Shallots are small, dry bulb-like purple onions. They look like regular onions (white or yellow). 

But shallots grow in cluster form like garlic. They don’t have a stem bulging out of their bulbs like in green onions. And that doesn’t mean you cannot use them as a green onion substitute. 

You can use raw shallots in your cuisines, such as soups or salads. Using it raw, you won’t feel the absence of green onions and can enjoy your food.

However, despite having a fresh flavor, they have a strong smell in raw form, so use a needful amount. Shallots also come in many colors, including red, brown, grey, and mingled white and green. 


Of course, nothing can ever take the place of spring onions, but what about the species’ head? You can consider onions, including white, red, and yellow, as an incredible substitute for green onions. 

You may use them as raw or cooked according to your preference. In the natural form, onions have a slightly sweet and spicy taste. Except for white onion, which has a robust taste as compared to the others. 

Keep in mind to add a fair amount of onions as a substitute for green onions. 

Wild Garlic 

Another suitable substitute for green onions is wild garlic. It comprises small white flowers and long leaves. 

Wild garlic smells just like a clove of typical garlic. They are edible in both raw or cooked form.

You can add wild garlic in any of your cooking, calling for green onions. However, they play a perfect supporting role in spicy foods and soups. 


Scallions are green onions. The only thing that separates them from green onions is their premature bulbs. As they are pretty similar, scallions win the race of best substitute for green onions. 

You can add scallion leaves as raw or cooked in your dishes. They are also one of the most flexible veggies under the onion family.

Scallions are probably the closest relatives of shallots as they have a similar taste and mid aroma. 

Freqeuently Asked Questions

Can I use onion powder instead of green onion?

Yes, you can. But onion powder has a robust flavor. So, adding 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of onion powder in a recipe should do the job. 

What part of the green onions should I use?

You should use the white and light green part just above the root of green onions. Whereas the dark green leaves work best for the soups, stews, and casseroles garnish.

How long do green onions last?

4 to 5 weeks! If you have stored green onions with proper care, they can last for at least 4-5 weeks with no issue. 

Is eating green onions good for you?

Yes, green onions boost bone health and reduce osteoporosis risk. If you eat three green onions daily, your body will produce enough vitamin K for the entire day. 

Why do chefs use shallots instead of onions?

Shallots provide a mild oniony taste to any food. So because of their sweet, subtle texture, the chefs use them in raw or cooked applications

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