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5 BEST Substitutes for Chives in Your Pantry

Ever found yourself in the middle of whipping up a dish that calls for chives and realized you’re all out? Yeah, it happens to the best of us.

Before you consider ditching your culinary creation, take a quick peek in your pantry or fridge. Chances are, you’ve got some pretty solid substitutes that can step in and save the day.

This article is all about those lifesavers—five of the best stand-ins for chives to keep your flavors on point and your cooking game strong.

Whether you’re aiming for that mild oniony taste or the fresh, herby vibe chives are known for, we’ve got you covered with options you might not have considered. Ready to learn more? Keep reading!

Are Garlic Chives the Same as Chives?

Alright, before we dive into the substitutes, there’s a bit of Chive Trivia 101 we should cover. Did you know there are actually two main types of chives we love to use in our kitchens?

Yeah, we’ve got Onion chives and Garlic chives—each bringing their own unique flair to the table.

Onion chives, also known as the common chives, are the ones you’re probably most familiar with. They sport that classic, mild onion flavor with a hint of garlic, and are a bright, vibrant green. These guys are fantastic for garnishing and adding a subtle zest to dishes without overwhelming other flavors.

Then, there’s the Garlic chives. These are a bit bolder, with a more pronounced garlic taste. They’re darker green, sometimes leaning towards blue-green, and have flatter leaves. If you’re looking to make a statement in dishes where garlic is a welcome guest, these chives will do the trick.

Both types are great, but knowing the difference can totally help you make a more informed swap, especially if you’re tweaking recipes based on what you’ve got at home.

5 BEST Substitutes for Chives in Your Pantry

1 – Shallots

Shallots have been whispering underneath the radar for far too long. Just like their culinary counterpart, they offer a subtle yet flavorful punch to your dishes.

With a mild onion-garlic flavor combination, shallots meld seamlessly in recipes that call for chives. Plus, they look fancy and can be used as a garnish too! Just finely chop them up and sprinkle away.

In Place of Chives:

  • Flavor Showdown: Shallots bring a complex flavor akin to a softer chive, often described as a milder, more refined garlic taste.
  • Usage Wisdom: Whether as a garnish or sautéed into a dish, shallots are a dynamic chive alternative for a multitude of recipes.
  • The Ratio: Swap chives out for shallots in a 1-to-1 ratio to keep the herbaceous balance intact.

2 – Scallions

Scallions are like chives’ slightly more audacious cousin – they’re here to make a statement (a delicious one at that). The bright white and green stalks boast a milder flavor than chives but provide the same fresh burst of oniony goodness. They’re also larger in size, so you can chop them up to your desired length.

In Place of Chives:

  • Flavor Showdown: Scallions have a similar oniony profile as chives but with a touch more pungent flavor that may be too strong for some recipes.
  • Usage Wisdom: Use scallions as a garnish or in cooked dishes that can handle a bolder onion flavor.
  • The Ratio: Substitute scallions for chives at a 2-to-1 ratio, using two parts of the white and light green parts of the stalk to one part of the dark green tops.

3 – Leeks

Leeks bring a robustness to the table that chives sometimes can’t muster. Their deep, hearty flavor and substantial texture make them a formidable replacement for chive enthusiasts. Leeks work well in cooked dishes like soups, stews, and casseroles.

In Place of Chives:

  • Flavor Showdown: Leeks have a more intense onion flavor than chives, with hints of garlic; they’re also slightly sweeter.
  • Usage Wisdom: Use leeks as a part of the base for cooked dishes or sauté them with other vegetables as a flavorful alternative to chives.
  • The Ratio: Replace chives with leeks at a 1-to-1 ratio, using the white and light green parts of the stalk only.

4 – Garlic Chives

As mentioned above, garlic chives (or also known as Chinese chives) are a close cousin to onion chives but with a more robust garlic flavor.

If you’re looking for a straight-up swap for chives, garlic chives are the way to go. They’re often used in Asian dishes and are fantastic when added to stir-fries, dumplings, and noodle dishes.

In Place of Chives:

  • Flavor Showdown: Garlic chives are a more potent version of onion chives with an intense garlic flavor.
  • Usage Wisdom: Use garlic chives as a replacement for onion chives in any recipe, cooked or uncooked.
  • The Ratio: Swap out chives for garlic chives at a 1-to-1 ratio.

5 – Parsley

While parsley may not have the oniony flavor profile of chives, it’s still a fantastic substitute in terms of color and freshness. Parsley has a mild, herby taste that adds brightness and depth to dishes. It also makes for an excellent garnish, just like chives.

In Place of Chives:

  • Flavor Showdown: Parsley brings a fresh and vibrant flavor, but it lacks the oniony punch of chives.
  • Usage Wisdom: Use parsley as a garnish or in uncooked dishes where the onion flavor of chives isn’t essential.
  • The Ratio: Replace chives with parsley at a 2-to-1 ratio, using two parts of parsley to one part of chives.


And there you have it – a handy guide to navigating the world of chives and their substitutes!

Whether you’re out of chives and in a pinch, or you’re just curious to experiment with different flavors and textures, these alternatives can save the day. Here’s a quick recap of our top chive substitutes and their recommended ratios:

  • Shallots: For a subtle, refined flavor, use a 1-to-1 ratio.
  • Scallions: Offering a bolder taste, substitute these at a 2-to-1 ratio.
  • Leeks: With their hearty flavor, these are best swapped in at a 1-to-1 ratio.
  • Garlic Chives: For an intense garlic kick, stick to a 1-to-1 ratio.
  • Parsley: Perfect for adding freshness without the oniony taste, use at a 2-to-1 ratio.

Feel free to mix and match these substitutes based on your preferences and the dish you’re making.