Best Substitutes for Onions

  • January 28, 2023
  • Food
  • 1
Best Substitutes for Onions  | Photo From Freepik

Onions have been making a buzz in the Philippines these past few days because of their sudden price hike for many reasons. The red and yellow onion are so expensive due to the effects of inflation, illegal trade and smuggling of onions, and other external factors like price manipulation. Because of this price hike, dishes with cooked onions like the French onion soup might be more expensive than ever.

Onions are now more expensive than meat, which concerns everyone in the country because onions are essential in many Filipino dishes, from viands and soups to sautéed food. Common kinds of onions used in cooking in the Philippines are red onions and white onions. 

Nowadays, onions are currently priced at more or less PHP 600 per kilogram in Metro Manila – costing more than the daily wage of a regular Filipino employee. Suppose you need more onions and more budget to buy a kilogram in the market. Save time and money as you try looking for these best substitutes for onions in your fridge or any storage in your kitchen! 


Onions and chives come from the same family, allium, and you surely will be able to find chives since these are commonly found in grocery stores and your local market. As you finish your dish, a dash of chives will make cooked dishes taste better by adding a unique flavor to it, even without onions. 

You might mistake chives for scallions as they almost look alike with their thin, green, and leafy stalks, so be more careful when buying them. Chives are also a good source of nutrients, with a large amount of Vitamin K. The green stalk of the chive is the main part used for cooking. 

Chives can be consumed raw or cooked, but their flower does not suit as a substitute for onions. Chives are the best onion substitute in dishes that use raw onion in their recipe. In salads, chives are eaten naturally as well.

Scallions or Green Onions  

Coming from the same family as onions, scallions are also a suitable substitute for onions when cooking. It is an onion, per se, and has almost the same flavor as red onions. Scallions have a fresher and milder flavor than your regular onions. Some even say that the scallion is the best substitute for red onion.

Scallions are also known as green onions and work wonders in any of your dishes. They can have a fresher and sharper flavor which can benefit any word, depending on how it is cooked. Its mild, ‘oniony’ flavor works both raw and cooked. Scallions or green onions are much smaller than regular onions since their bulbs do not fully develop, so remember to put more green onions to equate them to one regular onion. 

Scallions are best put generously so that the flavor would be just like placing an onion in your dish. If you are making a salad, the green part of the scallion is best used.

Celery or Carrots 

This may surprise some of you, but celery and carrots are included in this list as some of the best substitutes for onions. These vegetables are full of aroma, adding great flavor to viands, soups, and slow-cooked meals. 

The exact quantity of a chopped onion should be the basis of the number of chopped carrots or chopped celery you will add to your dish to achieve that desired flavor. On an important note, celery, for a fact, does not taste like onion, but its crunchy texture, when eaten raw, makes it work well in soups and stews.  

Shallots (May be raw or cooked) 

Experts claim that the best onion substitute is shallots. Shallots are onions, too, possessing the same mild and delicate flavor. This substitute works particularly well for sautes, soups, and risotto. 

Shallots are much smaller, and you would also need to add more to achieve that flavor without noticing that no onion was included in the ingredients list! One medium onion may equal two large shallots, four medium shallots, or six small shallots. 


Leeks are a popular vegetable ingredient in stews, soups, salads, and pasta dishes. This green, leafy vegetable is the best-cooked onion substitute on this list. Some have even claimed that the flavor is more likely to come out better than the onion itself! 

Leeks are both a vegetable and a condiment and have always been used as a key ingredient in many kinds of dishes because of their unique aroma. Leeks possess a mild, ‘oniony’ and garlic-like flavor that is more distinct than the onion itself, adding more depth to the flavor of your dishes. 

The edible part of the leek is the white base of the leaves and the light green, leafy part. Like onions, leeks are crunchy, firm, and soupy. What is also notable about leeks is their mild hints of garlic flavor, unlike red onions. 


Fennel is a carrot family member, although it is not a root vegetable. Fennels look like onions and are usually green in color. When raw, fennel has that nuanced, strong black licorice flavor. 

When cooked, fennel can stand alone as the perfect substitute for a fresh onion. Its flavor adds a unique taste to soups, stews, and other dishes that taste better than you would expect. Fennels are also suitable for people with an allergy to onions as long as it is eaten cooked. 

Onion Powder 

Just like garlic salt and onion flakes, n ingredient that you will most likely have in your kitchen is onion powder. Onion powder is made of onions that are processed through drying and grinding. Yes, it has the same taste as the onion itself, and this would be best used if finely chopped onions are included in your recipe. 

One fun fact about onions is that it is made up of an average of 89% water, but onion powder does not have that. That will be one downside if you use onion powder as a substitute, adding to the fact that onion powder gives a different thickness and crunch than red onion can. But onion powder is a good, temporary alternative if you want an ingredient closest to the onion itself. 

Skip the Onions

If all these ingredients are unavailable at home, you might want to skip the onions. Suppose you are cooking something with a lot of flavorful ingredients included. In that case, you will not need to fret about adding onions since you might not even notice the lack of background notes that onion flavor can contribute to the dish’s overall taste. 

The issue of onions in the Philippines is an unusual conundrum and has impacted a lot of Filipinos, from both the consumers’ and vendors’ end. These best substitutes for onions can be a temporary relief while onion prices are still on a hike. 

With onions being essential in almost all dishes cooked in the Philippines, these alternatives help every Filipino family who still wants to enjoy a hearty meal even when one key ingredient is lacking. 

A home near shopping centers 

Camella homeowners have no problem looking for the best replacement for onions as Camella projects are situated near shopping centers. You can grab the best ingredients for your dishes at AllDay Supermarket and go home without breaking a sweat. 

Accessibility is an important feature for a house and lot in the Philippines. For 45 years, Camella has been making sure that all of our communities are strategically located in areas where homeowners do not have to travel far just to get their daily needs. Invest in Camella now!

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