Skip to Content

6 Substitutes for Yellow Onions: Explore New Flavors

Ever found yourself staring at an empty spot where yellow onions should be? We feel you. It’s like planning a big night out and then realizing your favorite sneakers are missing. Bold move, universe.

We’ve got alternatives. Yes, really.

Red onions? They’re in the game. Shallots? They have entered the chat. Leeks, green onions, white onions, and even chives are tagging along too.

Our own trials in the “lab” proved fruitful. Salads, soups, and stir-fries survived the switch. Surprised? We were too.

This isn’t rocket science. It’s about making do. And guess what? It works.

6 Easy Substitutes for Yellow Onions

The culinary world may have its favorites, but it’s always worth trying something new. Here are six easy substitutes for yellow onions that could elevate your dishes and add a touch of variety to your meals.

IngredientTasteTextureSuitable Dishes
White OnionsMild, sweetCrispRaw onion garnishes, cooking
ShallotsDelicate, garlickyTenderSauces, vinaigrettes, braising
LeeksMild, sweetCreamySoups, stews, sautéed as a side
Green OnionsSlightly onion-like, less intenseTender, cylindricalGarnishes, stir-fries, sauces
Red OnionsPungent, spicyCrispRaw onion garnishes, pickles
ChivesOnion-like, delicateTender, herbaceousGarnishes, sauces, baked potatoes

1 – White Onions

White onions step up as a solid swap. They bring a slightly milder flavor compared to their yellow cousins. Think of them as the chill sibling who’s easy to get along with in pretty much any dish. We tossed them into a pot of chili and—boom—no one missed the yellow ones.

Their texture? Spot on. You can slice them for raw uses or dice them for cooking. They soften beautifully, melding into your recipes like a dream. Substitution ratio? A straight swap works wonders. We tried a 1:1 ratio in our spaghetti sauce, and it was a hit.

Recipes love them. From salsas to burgers, white onions don’t overpower. They complement. We made a batch of guacamole and threw in white onions instead. The result? A chorus of “yum.”

Give them a go. Your dishes will thank you. And so will your dinner guests.

2 – Shallots

Shallots sneak in as a cool option where you’re missing those yellow bulbs. They’re like the quiet ones at a party who end up being awesome. We found they mix in with dishes super well, not stealing the show but definitely enhancing it. They’re smaller, sure, and their flavor? Kind of like if onions and garlic had a baby.

In our kitchen experiments, swapping them in was a breeze. Used them chopped in a dressing and the crowd went wild. Plus, their size? Perfect for when you need just a bit of that oniony vibe without going overboard. For swapping, think of shallots as your one-to-one buddy in most recipes.

And hey, if your interest is piqued, there’s more on this at considering switching up your onion routine?.

3 – Leeks

Leeks come into play here. They offer a mild onion-like flavor. Leeks work wonders in soups. They do need a good wash due to dirt. Slice them thin for best results.

We’ve thrown leeks into a potato soup. Their texture softens nicely, blending into dishes well. Substitute leeks for yellow onions in a 1:1 ratio. This worked for us in a quiche.

For those keen on seeing what else leeks can swap out, a good read awaits here.

4 – Green Onions

Green onions add a splash of color and a mild flavor to meals. They work well both raw and cooked.

Their green tops are great for garnishing. The white parts have a bit more bite. Green onions are versatile. We use them in omelettes, salads, and tacos.

Swapping them in for yellow onions? Easy. You’ll find they blend into dishes with ease.

Our friends asked for the recipe after trying our green onion fried rice. Success! For every cup of yellow onion, use a cup of green onions.

Curious about other ways to use green onions in your cooking? You might enjoy reading this article.

5 – Red Onions

Red onions step into the mix with flair. Their color pops in salads and garnishes. We noticed their taste is a bit bolder than yellow onions.

They don’t just look good; they taste good too. Red onions add a hint of zest without overwhelming. We’ve used them in pickles. Those jars looked and tasted great.

For every yellow onion your recipe calls for, try using the same amount of red onion. This trick works. We made a batch of salsa with them, and it was a hit.

If you’re keen to shake things up in your dishes, look at this guide on substituting red onions.

6 – Chives

Chives, those little green shoots, jump in as our last go-to. They bring a mild onion flavor that doesn’t overpower dishes. Chives add freshness to any meal.

We cut them up for baked potatoes and it was a hit. They’re also great as a garnish. Their subtle taste enhances meals without taking over.

We found chives to be an excellent swap in recipes calling for yellow onions. Just sprinkle them as needed. No exact science here, just eye it based on your dish.

For a ratio, think handfuls—not cups. Used them in our potato salad and it was just right. Want more ideas on swapping with chives? Check out this on using chives as substitutes.