Substitutes For Spring Onion: 7 Best Alternatives for Your Cooking Needs

substitutes for spring onion

Spring onions are a versatile ingredient used in many dishes, providing a mild onion flavor and vibrant color to a variety of dishes.

Spring onion and cilantro are a must on my grocery list. I love to add in my chicken chili or chili momo recipe.

At times, there may be several reasons why you might need to find a substitute for spring onions. It could be due to their unavailability, personal preference, or allergies.

In such cases, it is helpful to know about the best substitutes for spring onion.

In this section, we will explore some of the best substitutes for spring onion that you can use in your cooking and their common uses in cooking.

Common Uses in Cooking

Spring onions are a widely used ingredient in various cuisines across the globe. They can be used as a garnish, added to salads, soups, stir-fries, and sauces, or even incorporated into savory baked goods.

fried rice with spring onion

The green part of spring onions is often used as a flavor enhancer in dishes like fried rice, noodles, and omelets, while the white bulb is commonly used for sautéing and adding depth to dishes.

When using spring onions in cooking, it is important to remember that they have a milder flavor than mature onions. If you are substituting spring onions for mature onions in a recipe, you may need to use more to achieve the same level of flavor.

Best Substitutes For Spring Onion

If you find yourself in need of a spring onion substitute, Here are some of the best substitutes to consider for your dishes.

1. Scallions


Scallions, also known as green onions, are one of the most popular substitutes for spring onions. They are milder in flavor and have a slightly sweet taste.

You can use the white and green parts of scallions in your recipes, just like spring onions. They work well in salads, soups, stir-fries, and many other dishes.

2. Leeks

leeks - spring onion substitute

Leeks are another excellent substitute for spring onions. They have a milder and sweeter flavor compared to spring onions, making them a great option if you prefer a subtler onion taste in your dishes.

Leeks have a white bulb and a long green stem, both of which can be used in cooking. The white part of leeks is often used for sautéing or caramelizing, while the green part can be used as a garnish or in soups and stews.

When using leeks as a substitute, keep in mind that they have a slightly firmer texture compared to spring onions.

3. Chives


Chives offer a delicate and mild onion flavor, making them a suitable substitute for spring onions in certain dishes.

These thin, grass-like herbs are often used as a garnish, adding color and flavor to various dishes.

Chives work particularly well in salads, creamy dips, and as a topping for baked potatoes. While chives don’t provide the same texture as spring onions, they can still add a hint of onion flavor to your recipes.

4. Shallots

Shallots are a great substitute for spring onions, known for their mild and sweet flavor. While shallots have a slightly stronger taste compared to spring onions, they can be used in a variety of dishes where a subtle onion flavor is desired.

shallots (1)

Shallots can be used in sautés, stir-fries, dressings, and sauces. They can be caramelized, providing a rich and sweet flavor to your dishes.

Keep in mind that shallots have a more pronounced flavor, so you may want to use them in smaller quantities compared to spring onions.

Alternative Substitutes For Spring Onion

Here are some of my great alternatives that can be used in place of spring onions:

5. Onion Powder

onion powder

Onion powder is a great substitute for spring onions if you are looking for a quick and easy solution. It is made from dehydrated onions and has a concentrated onion flavor.

You can use it in equal amounts as a substitute for fresh spring onions. Onion powder is also a great option if you want to avoid dealing with the hassle of chopping fresh onions.

6. Garlic Scapes

garlic scapes

Another substitute is garlic scapes. These are the green shoots that grow from garlic bulbs and have a mild garlic flavor and a texture similar to that of spring onions.

They can be used as a substitute for spring onions in many recipes, including stir-fries, soups, and salads. They can be chopped and used in the same way as spring onions.

7. Ramps

Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are a type of wild onion that is found in the spring. They have a strong onion flavor and can also be used as a substitute for spring onions in many recipes. Ramps can be sautéed, grilled, or roasted and used in dishes like omelets, quiches, and pasta dishes.

How to Choose a Substitute

When choosing a substitute for spring onion, there are several factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting the best alternative for your recipe.

Flavor Profile Matching

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a substitute for spring onion is the flavor profile.

Spring onions have a sweet, mild flavor with a slightly pungent kick. Therefore, it is essential to choose a substitute that has a similar flavor profile. Some of the best options include shallots, leeks, scallions, and chives.


Shallots are a great choice because they have a milder flavor than onions and a hint of sweetness. Leeks have a similar flavor to spring onions, but they are milder.

Scallions have a slightly stronger flavor than spring onions, but they are still a good substitute. Chives have a milder flavor than scallions, but they are still a good option.

Texture Considerations

The other factor to consider when choosing a substitute for spring onion is the texture. Spring onions have a crisp texture, so it is essential to choose an alternative that has a similar texture.

Scallions are the best substitute for spring onions when it comes to texture. They are slightly softer than spring onions, but they still have a crisp texture.

scallion chop

Leeks are also a good option because they have a similar texture to spring onions. Shallots and chives have a softer texture than scallions and leeks, but they are still a good choice.

Recipe Adaptability

When choosing a substitute for spring onion, it is also important to consider the recipe you are making.

Some substitutes work better in specific recipes than others. For example, if you are making a stir-fry, scallions are an excellent substitute for spring onions because they hold up well when cooked.

If you are making a salad, chives are a good substitute because they add a mild onion flavor without overpowering the other ingredients. Leeks are a good substitute for soups and stews because they add a subtle onion flavor and hold up well when cooked.

By considering the flavor profile, texture, and recipe adaptability, you can choose the best substitute for spring onion that will work well in your recipe.

Tips for Substituting Spring Onions

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to substitute spring onions in a recipe, there are a few key tips to keep in mind.

Conversion Ratios

When substituting spring onions, it’s important to consider the quantity you need to replace. Spring onions are typically used for their mild onion flavor and crunchy texture. To achieve a similar taste profile, you can use the following conversion ratios:

IngredientConversion Ratio
Scallions1:1 (use the same amount as spring onions)
Leeks1 small leek = 3-4 spring onions
Chives1 tablespoon chopped chives = 1 spring onion
Shallots1 shallot = 2-3 spring onions

By using these ratios as a guideline, you can adjust the substitute accordingly and maintain the desired flavor balance in your dish.

Cooking Techniques

It’s important to keep in mind that when using different substitutes in a recipe, you may need to make slight adjustments to your cooking techniques to achieve the best possible results.

For example:

  • Scallions: Since scallions have a milder flavor than spring onions, you may want to add them towards the end of the cooking process to retain their freshness and crispness.
  • Leeks: Leeks are larger and have a sweeter and more subtle flavor compared to spring onions. To use leeks as a substitute, slice them lengthwise and rinse them thoroughly to remove any dirt trapped between the layers. Then, chop them into small pieces and cook them as you would spring onions.
  • Chives: Chives have a delicate onion flavor and are best used as a garnish or added at the end of cooking to preserve their freshness.
  • Shallots: Shallots have a more intense flavor compared to spring onions. When using shallots as a substitute, finely chop them and adjust the quantity according to your taste preference.


There are a few good alternatives you can use if you don’t have spring onions on hand for a recipe. Scallions, chives, leeks, and shallots all make good substitutes. 

Each of these options brings its own flavor profile. Scallions have a mild onion taste similar to spring onions. Chives provide a subtle onion flavor and grassy notes. Leeks contribute a sweet, delicate onion flavor. Shallots offer a more robust onion essence.

Feel free to experiment with the different substitutes based on your preferences and what will pair best with the other ingredients in your dish. You may discover new flavor combinations you enjoy even more than with spring onions alone.

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Hi, I'm Jeena and I'm so excited to share my love of cooking with you all on my food blog! As someone who loves discovering new flavors, this is my space to share easy yet delicious global recipes that I enjoy making at home!