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14 Best Chives Substitutes And How They Can Be Substantially Substituted

Chives are a wonderful herb, but when you realize that you don’t have any fresh, these versatile vegetables shine as an alternative to chives.

Here is a list of 14 best chives substitutes that can come in handy during those times when your garden is overrun with pests.

There are quite a few great herbs and vegetables to use as substitutes for fresh chives in cooking. Most of these are easy to find in most grocery stores, unlike fresh chives, which can be hard to find at time.

Nutritional Value Table

Vidalia Onions106
Onions Leaves 0
Shredded Cabbage25
Dill Pickles4.2
Celery 8
Spring Onions32
Rosemary 4

1. Vidalia Onions

Vidalia Onions

Both onions and chives are members of the Allium family and are very similar in taste.

While the onion is much more pungent than a chive, this is not always a bad thing when it comes to cooking…sometimes you want those extra flavors in your dish.

If you’re running low on chives, try using Vidalia onions instead. They’re sweet and juicy and offer a milder flavor to foods such as baked or mashed potatoes.

How To Substitute

Chop Vidalia onions and add to any recipe that calls for chives. They’ll be very similar in flavor, but the onion will give you a more pungent taste.

2. Leeks 


Leeks are a great substitute because they are similar to chives in color, flavor, and size. They taste a lot like onions but with a very milder flavor.

You may not even notice the difference between leeks and chives if you add too much of either to your food.

Leek greens are also edible, so there is no waste in preparing this vegetable for a meal. Use fresh or frozen leeks for your meal – dried will not work as a chive substitute.

How To Substitute

Wash the leek greens thoroughly and chop them into bite-size pieces for your recipe. The leeks themselves can be sliced and then used in place of chives.

3. Garlic


While chives have a very subtle garlic flavor, garlic has a stronger, very pungent garlic flavor. It also adds a beautiful flavor to potato dishes or any other dish that calls for the addition of onions.

Garlic can also be added to soups, bread, and anything else you would add onions to normally.

How To Substitute

Chopped fresh garlic can be added directly to your recipe as it is needed, but if you’re using dried garlic flakes, make sure to crush them with your fingers before adding them to the dish. They will not dissolve into the meal like the fresh versions without being crushed first.

4. Scallions


Both scallions and chives are very similar in size and raw flavor, but the taste difference between the two is so slight it’s hardly worth mentioning. Scallions are also relatively inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores.

Chopped scallions can be added to any recipe that calls for chopped chives or fresh onion, including soups, stews, meat dishes, and other savory foods.

How To Substitute

Add finely chopped scallions to your dish or meal as called for in the recipe or as needed.

5. Fennel


Fennel is another milder-tasting bulbous vegetable that works well as a substitute for chives. It has a much sweeter taste than chives do, so it’s a good substitute if you’re trying to get a sweeter flavor in your dish.

Fennel will work in recipes that call for chives. However, it is also often used in Italian cooking as a substitute for licorice – it’s easy to find fennel used to replace fresh chives in any recipe that calls for these two flavors.

Fennel can be served on its own or as part of any other dish that usually calls for onions or other Allium family members.

How To Substitute

Fennel can be added directly into your recipe as needed, just like fresh chives.

6. Onions Leaves 

Onions Leaves 

Chives and onion leaves are very similar in size and appearance, but the flavor of onion leaves can be more subtle than those of chives.

Onion leaves are also the same color as fresh chives but have a strong, distinct flavor. They can be used in place of fresh chives in stews, soups, and other dishes that traditionally call for onions.

How To Substitute

Add chopped onion leaves or onion greens as called for by your recipe or as needed during your meal.

7. Shredded Cabbage

Shredded Cabbage

Cabbage is another easy-to-find vegetable that is similar in size and taste to chives. It’s also very inexpensive and can be found pretty much anywhere.

Another benefit to using cabbage as a substitute for chives is that there is no waste when you use it, not even the leaves. You can chop up the whole head of cabbages and add it to your dish or use just the leaves for a more subtle flavor.

How To Substitute

Add shredded cabbage to your recipe as you would chives for savory dishes. If you are using it in a sweet dish, such as a pie or cookie, cut up the frill of the core of the cabbage and mix it with sugar (about two parts sugar to one-part shredded cabbage).

8. Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles

Dill pickle is a must in any well-loved picnic basket. They’re tangy and more flavorful than the more common cucumber. Dill pickles are a bit more peppery, so they go great with chicken or turkey.

Because they’re more flavorful and spicier, they don’t have to be cooked as much as other vegetables, so you can use them on sandwiches, wraps, or even with your omelet.

How To Substitute

Chop the same number of pickles as any recipe that calls for chives. Dill pickles are more flavorful, but like the Vidalia onions, they’re also a bit sweeter than chives – you’re probably going to want to add some pepper as well.

9. Celery


Celery is a veggie that many cooks never seem to have on hand, but it’s great for giving both dishes and drinks a little “kick.”

It’s not as strong as onions or garlic, so for those of you who aren’t big fans of the pungent flavors, celery might be just the thing to add that little kick without overwhelming your food.

How To Substitute

Chop celery and add it in place of chives. Celery is tasty with almost any dish, so you’ll love what this can do for your recipes.

10. Spring Onions

Spring Onions

Spring onions are smaller than regular onions and have a very mild flavor. They’re great in salads and don’t need to be cooked quite as much as the standard onion, so they go great with summertime dishes.

They soften up quickly, so you can chop them up and add them to your favorite dish right away.

How To Substitute

Chop spring onions and add them to any recipe that calls for chives. Spring onions are small and mild, but they’re just as great in some recipes as the standard onion.

11. Lavender


Lavender is a very strong-smelling herb, making it the ideal substitute for some very subtle recipes.

It has a flavor that many people feel is too strong for their taste buds, but if you like lavender, it can be used in any dish that calls for mint or oregano.

Because there are no spices to taste here, it’s up to the individual chef to determine how much they will like the flavoring.

How To Substitute

Chop the amount of lavender as called for chives by your recipe.

12. Tarragon


Tarragon has a strong taste that you’ll only want to use in recipes that require a strong flavor. For example, use tarragon in your favorite beef or chicken dish and add a bit of this chive substitute to take away some of the saltiness or spice.

Tarragon will also go great with cucumber dishes. Add a cup of chopped tarragon to a cucumber salad.

How To Substitute

Chop the amount of tarragon as called for chives by your recipe.

13. Mint


Mint is often used in desserts and fruit drinks, but it can also be used in both savory and dessert dishes. Because mint is very strong, you can use this type of chive substitute sparingly and still get a lot of flavors from the dish.

It’s popular in Mediterranean cuisine and Middle Eastern fare because it goes well with other Mediterranean spices like red pepper or parsley.

How To Substitute

Chop the amount of mint as called for chives by your recipe.

14. Rosemary


Rosemary is one of the most common herbs used in both savory and sweet dishes, so it’s a chive substitute that you can use in pretty much any dish.

It’s a very aromatic herb with a very distinctive flavor that goes great with pork and goat cheese.

It can also be used with chicken, lamb, and beef to accentuate the flavors in your dish. In addition to aromatic herbs like rosemary, mint, or sage, you can also use thyme or oregano to add more specific flavors to your food.

How To Substitute

Chop the amount of rosemary as called for chives by your recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Use A Substitute For Chives?

The taste will not be compromised, and you can avoid the long chop that goes into making traditional minced chives.

You also get to enjoy all the latest recipes that call for fresh chopped herbs like parsley, basil, or even tarragon without worrying about how much time it would take you to make them yourself.

Chives are expensive, costing up to $4 for a small container at the grocery store. Most of the alternatives discussed above are cheaper than chives, saving you some money.

Will I Require A Different Substitute For Chives For Every Recipe I Use Them In?

No one likes to keep eating low-quality substitutes but if you’re not getting the flavor you want out of your cooking, then consider going back to get some chives, garlic, or shallots.

Each dish is different and requires different levels of herbs and seasoning, so whenever you can incorporate your old standby into a dish, then go ahead.

Can I Use Dried Herbs As A Substitute For Chives?

Most dried herbs can be used as substitutes for fresh herbs, but if you start cooking with them, you may notice that they have an acquired taste. 

You should always make sure that your dried herbs are relatively fresh before trying to use them (if the package has been open for a year or more, then just throw it away) and try to avoid using them when substituting for chives.

What Are Some Possible Substitute Ingredients For Chives?

Here are some options other than just garlic: Turnip greens, leeks (not scallions), arugula, and basil (lemon basil stands up well to heat and is more flavorful than sweet basil).

Also, some people make their chive butter which is just a standard batch of butter with a few chopped/minced chives mixed in.

Do I Need To Use A Different Substitute For Chives For Meat Dishes?

Yes, many meat dishes call for the addition of a good number of chives when cooking.

Just remember that most dried herbs that are used as substitutes for fresh chives will have a stronger flavor than the fresh kind, so make sure you avoid using too much.

Where Can I Get My Herbs?

Many specialty grocery stores carry bulk herbs and spices if you can’t find them in your supermarket or farmers’ market.

Try your local health food store or the bulk section at Whole Foods. Consider going online and checking out some of the online herb retailers like Mountain Rose Herbs or Rosemary, Inc.

If you have the money to invest in herbs; then you may consider growing them yourself.

14 Best Chives Substitutes You Can Try

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Chives have a sharp, pungent flavor that some people might find unpleasant, but the leaves have a variety of health benefits.


  • Vidalia Onions

  • Leeks

  • Garlic

  • Scallions

  • Fennel

  • Onions Leaves

  • Shredded Cabbage

  • Dill Pickles

  • Celery

  • Spring Onions

  • Lavender

  • Tarragon

  • Mint

  • Rosemary


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith