Substitute For Red Onions: 12 Best Alternatives

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When it comes to cooking, some products can’t be replaced, but others can be used in their place without changing the taste or flavor.

Red onions are used in many dishes because of their unique color and strong taste. But sometimes you might run out of red onions or be looking for other ingredients.

Don’t worry! We have made a list of great substitutes for red onions that will give your meals the same savory taste. Let’s look at each of these fun choices in turn.

What are Red Onions?

Substitute For Red Onions

Red onions, which are sometimes called purple onions, are part of the Allium genus and are closely related to white and yellow onions.

Red onions stand out because of their bright color and mild, slightly sweet taste. The top skin of these onions is deep purple to almost magenta, and their inner rings have a beautiful mix of colors and a crisp texture.

When cut, they can make any dish look better and more appealing to the eye. These onions are grown in many places around the world and are easy to find all year long. This makes them a handy and useful ingredient for many recipes.

Taste of Red Onion

When it comes to taste, red onions are milder and sweeter than their white and yellow cousins.

Red onions have less of the sulfur molecules that give onions their strong taste. This makes them taste better, especially when eaten raw.

Red onions are great for salads, salsas, and burgers because they are crunchy and have a mild taste.

Their bright color not only makes the food look better, but it also gives it a nice, subtle taste that goes well with many different kinds of food.

Red onions can also be pickled, grilled, roasted, or caramelized, which makes their flavor stronger and gives them more ways to be used in food.

Substitute For Red Onions

Even though red onions are loved for what makes them special, there are times when you might need to use something else instead.

One main reason is if you or the person you are cooking for don’t like the way they taste or find it hard to digest them.

Even though red onions are milder than other kinds, some people may still feel uncomfortable or have stomach problems after eating them.

In these situations, it’s important to know good substitutes that taste and feel like red onions.

By using replacements, you can keep the flavor and spirit of the original recipes while making them fit your tastes or dietary needs.

Also, you might not be able to get red onions when you want them or they might not be in season. If you know the right substitutes, your dish won’t be missing that important taste profile.

1. Yellow onion

Yellow onions

Yellow onions are one of the most popular choices for red onions, and for good reason!

With a milder flavor and a slightly sweeter taste, they are incredibly versatile in various recipes.

When cooked, they create a rich, caramelized flavor that adds depth to soups, stews, and sauces. Their firm texture holds up well in salads and stir-fries, giving a delightful crunch.

When you need to replace red onions in your recipes, yellow onions are a reliable and delicious choice. Be Mindful of the Flavor as they are Slightly sweeter than red onions

Red Onion SubstituteSuitable For
Yellow Onionsoups, stews, and sauces.

2. White onions

White onions

Another fantastic option to red onions is their cousin, the white onion.

Known for their sharp and clean taste, white onions offer a mild flavor profile with a hint of sweetness.

They are great for dishes where you want a more delicate onion taste without overpowering other ingredients.

White onions are excellent raw in salsas, salads, and guacamole, adding a crisp zing.

When cooked, they become softer and milder, making them a great choice for sautéing and cooking.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable For
white onionssautéing, cooking, salsas, salads, and guacamole

3. Shallots


Shallots are a great option for red onions because of their mild but distinct taste.

These long, thin bulbs have a mild onion flavor with a hint of garlic, which makes them great for many recipes.

Their light taste goes well in vinaigrettes, dressings, and sauces, giving them depth without overpowering the other ingredients.

Also, onions cooked in butter or olive oil give a dish a sweet, caramelized flavor that makes it taste better.

Because they are small, shallots are easy to chop into small pieces. This makes them a good choice for cold dishes like salads and garnishes.

If you’re making seafood, chicken, or vegetarian dishes, shallots are a great substitute for red onions that will improve the general taste and smell of your dishes.

Substitute For Red OnionSuitable For
Shallotsvinaigrettes, dressings, and sauces

4. Green onions

Green onions

Green onions are a great alternative to red onions. They are also called scallions or spring onions.

Green onions have a milder onion taste than red onions. They also have a pleasant hint of freshness.

The white part of a green onion has a mild onion taste, while the green tops have a mild onion taste similar to that of chives.

Because of this, green onions can be used in many different recipes, from salads and soups to stir-fries and toppings.

They also taste great in Asian-style recipes, giving them a unique flavor. If you want to use green onions instead of red onions in a cooked dish.

It’s best to add them near the end of cooking so that their delicate taste and bright color aren’t lost.

Substitute for Red OnionsSuitable For
Green onionsAsian-style recipes, salads and soups to stir-fries and toppings.

5. Sweet Onions

sweet onions

If you want a substitute for red onions that has the same mild and sweet taste, sweet onions are a great pick.

Vidalia, Walla Walla, and Maui onions are known for not being very pungent and having a lot of sugar, which makes them sweet when cooked.

Caramelizing these onions is a great way to bring out their natural sugars and give them a rich, savory flavor.

Because of their mild taste, they are often used in recipes where the onion flavor shouldn’t be too strong.

When used in sandwiches, soups, and salsas, sweet onions go well with the other ingredients without taking over.

When you use sweet onions instead of red onions, you’ll notice a nice balance that gives your dishes a touch of sweetness.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable For
Sweet Onionssandwiches, soups, and salsas

6. Leeks


Leeks are a great option for red onions. They have thin, green stalks and white bulbs.

They have a milder, slightly sweeter taste that makes them great for adding to soups, stews, and casseroles. When sautéed, leeks give off a pleasant smell that can make your foods taste better.

To use them as a replacement, just cut the white and light green parts into thin slices and sauté them until they are soft.

Stocks and broths can be made with the dark green parts. Leeks have a mild flavor that won’t overpower other ingredients.

This makes for a well-balanced dish with lots of different flavors. Leeks add a healthy boost to your meals because they are full of vitamins and minerals.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable for
Leekssoups, stews, and casseroles

7. Pearl Onions

Pearl onions are a great choice to red onions if you want something that looks nice and tastes good.

These tiny onions about the size of marbles are not only cute, but they also have a lot of flavor.

When they are cooked, they get soft and slightly sweet. They add a subtle but delicious flavor to many dishes.

Pearl onions are great in roasts, soups, and pickled foods, giving each bite a burst of flavor.

To use them as a replacement, peel and boil the onions to make it easy to take off their skins.

The end product will be a delicious addition to your cooking. Also, their small size makes them perfect for skewers and kebabs, giving your grilling activities a pop of flavor.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable for
Pearl onionsroasts, soups, and pickled foods

8. Chives


Chives can be used instead of red onions to add a touch of elegance and a light onion taste.

These thin, grass-like herbs have a softer flavor, which makes them great for topping salads, soups, and omelets.

Finely chopped chives can be sprinkled on foods to add a splash of color and a hint of onion flavor. They are also a popular way to top baked potatoes and cream cheese spreads, giving them a great taste.

Besides being used in cooking, chives are easy to grow in fields or small pots, so you can always have a fresh garnish for your dishes. Chives make food taste better and are good for your health because they are full of vitamins and antioxidants.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable for
ChivesTopping salads, soups, and omelets.

9. Garlic


Garlic is a great substitute for red onions because it comes from the same family as onions. It adds a wonderful flavor to any dish because of how strong and fragrant it is.

When roasted, garlic has a slight sweetness, but when it’s raw, it has a strong, sour kick. Finely chop or crush garlic pieces to make them look and feel like red onions.

This will make sure they blend in well with salsas, salads, and sautés. Because garlic is so flexible, it goes well with many different kinds of food, from Italian to Asian.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable For
Garlicsalsas, salads, and sautés

10. Radishes


Instead of red onions, you can use radishes for a crisp and refreshing change of pace.

These colorful vegetables have a unique taste that is both peppery and sweet in small amounts.

Slice radishes thinly to get a texture like that of red onions. This will give your meals a nice crunch. They taste great and add a pop of color to salads, tacos, and garnishes.

Radishes are also full of vitamins and minerals, which add to both their taste and their health benefits.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable For
Radishsalads, tacos, and garnishes

11. Onion juice

Onion juice is a smooth and tasty way to replace red onions when you don’t have any on hand.

The juice comes from regular onions and has a concentrated taste of onions, so you can add it to recipes in small amounts.

Because it is a liquid, it is easy to mix into soups, marinades, and sauces. Using onion juice gives the taste of onions without the texture, which makes it a great choice for people who like things to be smoother.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable For
Onion juicesoups, marinades, and sauces

12. Onion Powder

Onion powder is another good thing to use instead of red onions. It is easy to use and can be stored for a long time, but it still tastes like onions.

By adding a pinch of onion powder to soups, stews, or spice mixes, you can give them a wonderful onion taste.

Also, onion powder goes well with other spices and makes it easy to make blends that make your food taste better overall. It can be used in a lot of different ways and lasts for a long time, so every cook needs it.

Substitute for Red OnionSuitable For
Onion powdersoups, stews, or spice mixes


Red onions are a common ingredient in cooking, but the alternatives we’ve looked at give you a lot more freedom in the kitchen.

Whether it’s the boldness of garlic, the freshness of radishes, the flavor of onion juice, or the flexibility of onion powder, each alternative brings something special to the table.

Use these options and take the taste and pleasure of your dishes to a whole new level. Happy cooking!

Related Post: Substitute For Chili Garlic Sauce

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