9 Best Red Onion Substitutes

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Red Onion Substitutes



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I love adding red onions to my Thai food. However, finding red onions at my local grocery store isn’t easy. So, I started looking for red onion substitutes so I could make Thai-style roasted rice and chicken.

If we are in the same boat, you can use some substitutes for red onion, such as Spanish onions, onion juice, chives, garlic, leeks, green onion, celery, shallots, or white onion.

Most of these alternatives are close cousins of red onions and can be used in various recipes.

What Are Red Onions?

Red onions are a type of onion with deep purple skin and white flesh tinged with red. These all-purpose onions are the most intense variety of onions.

These pungent onions have a strong, sharp, particularly good raw flavor, but they mellow out when cooked. The deep red color is also beautiful in salads, salsas, dips, and other dishes. When choosing red onions, look for firm bulbs with unblemished skins.

Larger bulbs tend to be milder than smaller ones, so choose a larger onion over a smaller one if you want less bite in your dish.

Best Red Onion Substitutes

1. White Onions

White onions are okay to use as an alternative to red onions. What truly, differentiate both of them is their color. While white onions are white, red onions are purple-ish.

There is a flavor difference between the two, but it’s fairly slight. Red onions are slightly sweeter, while white onions are slightly spicier.

For this reason, red onions are ideal for dishes like salads where they will be eaten raw, while white onions work better in dishes where they will be cooked and mixed with other ingredients.

Both have similar texture and properties when cooked, which means that using one instead of the other won’t mess up your recipe or cooking technique too much!

2. Spanish Onions

Red onions and Spanish onions are both good options for the same recipes.However, each type of onion has different characteristics that make it a better fit for some recipes.

For example, red onions have a slightly more intense flavor than Spanish onions, so they’re best suited for recipes that don’t want a lot of onion flavor, like salads.

On the other hand, Spanish onions have a milder flavor than red onions, and they’re great for recipes in which you want to enjoy the onion flavor, like when you’re making onion rings, stuffed and baked, sauces, or dressings.

Red onions also tend to be more watery than Spanish onions. This makes them better for pickling or grilling but less ideal for cooking dishes like stews or soups.

3. Shallots

Most pro chefs will unhesitantly swap red onions for Shallots because they have a lot in common despite their color.

Shallots are similar to garlic in that the whole bulb can be used. You can also thinly slice shallots, which is not advised for red onion because it would be too strong.

If you’re making a dish where the red onion would overpower everything else — like a salad or stir fry — it’s probably better to use shallots instead! This is because they have a flavor profile that is milder and sweeter.

Aside from that, Shallots also contain fewer calories than red onions, which is good if you’re watching your weight.

They also have less sodium and fewer carbs than red onions, which means that they’re a healthier alternative for people on low-sodium or low-carb diets.

4. Green Onions

Green onions, also known as scallions or spring onions, are often used as a flavorful addition in many dishes.

They are scallions that have not yet grown into mature bulbs.These green beauties are not only delicious — they’re good for you too!

You can use either onion (green or red onions) in cooked dishes — red onion will give you a sweet flavor that’s great in soups and stews, while green onions are perfect for adding depth of flavor to fried rice or an omelet.

5. Leeks

Leeks are the most underrated vegetable of all time. They’re related to onions, garlic, and chives, but they have a much milder flavor than any of these three.

They can be eaten raw or cooked, and we’re here to help you decide whether you should use them as a substitute for the red onion.

In terms of vitamins and minerals, leeks contain more vitamin K per 100g than a red onion. They also have more manganese, vitamin C, and iron.

This makes them a much healthier choice if you want to add a vegetable to your meal that will make a difference in your diet.

Onions are known for their pungent smell and taste, but leeks don’t have as much of this characteristic flavor.

When you cook with them, they won’t overpower the other flavors in your dish, they’ll add a hint of sweetness and depth.

6. Chives

Chives are a member of the onion family, although they are more closely related to garlic than onions.

They are one of the most versatile herbs and can be used in various dishes such as salads, soups, stews, casseroles, baked potatoes, omelets, and dips.

Although, chives have a mild onion flavor that is much more delicate than red onions. But they can be used in the same ways as red onions -fresh, dried, or cooked.

If you want to use them raw in something like potato salad, you should add them to the end, so their flavor doesn’t become bitter.

7. Onion Juice

There’s nothing quite like an onion to complete a dish when it comes to the culinary arts.

Alliums are arguably the most important class of vegetables in the kitchen and deserve a closer look. And if there is one alternative we can’t omit on this list is onion juice. Onion juice and red onion are very similar in nutritional value and flavor.

The primary difference between them is texture. Onion juice is a strong, pungent liquid made by blending onions and then straining them.

Onion juice is thicker than red onion, making it perfect for marinades or sauces that need some extra body. It’s also easier to blend into smoothies without chunks getting stuck at the bottom of your cup

The messed up thing is they are not ideal in salads.

8. Garlic

Garlic is also a member of the onion family, Allium, a close relative to the shallot, chive, leek, and rack.

Garlic can be substituted for red onion in most recipes but has a much more intense flavor than red onions, and it’s also got a sharper flavor that lingers more on the tongue.

Red onions have a milder flavor, and they’re slightly sweeter than garlic.

Furthermore, garlic comes in many forms—fresh, powdered, as a paste, or even pickled.

You can use them to flavor many foods, such as marinades, salad dressings, sauces, vinaigrettes, meats, soups, vegetables, and stews.

9. Celery

Many people like to use celery as an alternative to red onions, even if they don’t have much of an onion-y flavor.

However, it is often overlooked because of its neutral flavor and stringy texture. The good news is both celery and red onion are low in calories, but celery has slightly more.

However, red onion contains slightly more protein. Additionally, celery is pretty bland and needs to be used as an ingredient rather than eaten raw.

Regardless, it can be eaten raw or cooked; and it can also be juiced.

Benefits Of Red Onions

Many health benefits come from eating a red onion.

Red onions have a lot of antioxidants, which prevent your cells from damage caused by free radical activity in the body.

The nutrients found in these foods can also help improve your vision and reduce the incidence of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.

When it comes to the immune system, red onions are very effective at boosting it and improving its overall function.

Other health benefits of red onions include improved digestion, better circulation, and reduced cholesterol.


The best substitutes for red onions are white or yellow onions.

 They give you the allium flavor and crunch that red onions do, but you won’t have to deal with the spice or stains from chopping them.

You can also use shallots. They’re not as crunchy as the red onion, but they do have a milder flavor and will give your dish a nice onion-y element.

Happy experiment with this red onion substitute.


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