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13 Best Spring Onion Substitutes Perfect For Any Dish

Spring onions are a staple in many cuisines ranging from Asian stir-fries to fried rice.

However, if you’ve run out of them at the last minute or don’t like the flavor and need a spring onion substitute, read ahead to find out some of the best replacements.

What Are Spring Onions?

Spring onions are a subcategory of species in the allium genus of vegetables.

They are, simply put, young and immature onions of various onion species that are harvested before they’ve had a chance to fully develop into larger bulb-shaped onions.

This means they do not have the intense flavor commonly associated with onions. 

They are often characterized by their thin green stalks with tiny white bulbs at the ends.

They are usually available throughout the year because they are typically harvested around springtime before they get a chance to fully develop.

They are often incorporated into dishes like salad, stir-fries, curries, soups, sandwiches, and various Asian cuisines.

They possess a subtle sweet onion flavor that is milder and less pungent in comparison to regular onion, which is why they can be cooked with dishes or eaten raw when added as a finishing garnish.

Now let’s talk about replacements because sometimes you don’t always have spring onions on hand when you need them.

Nutritional Value Table

SubstituteCalories (Per 100 gm)Protein (Per 100 gm)Fat (Per 100 gm)
Green Onions321.89g0.19g
White Onions351g0g
Red Spring Onions321.83g0.19g
Wild Garlic160g0g
Onion Powder34110g1g
Chinese Chives303.27g0.73g

1. Scallions

Scallions are a great substitute for spring onions in part because they are similar relatives from the same allium vegetable family.

But also because they possess the same subtle sweetness and mild onion flavor that spring onions have.

Like spring onions, they are harvested at an early stage of growth before they develop into fully grown onions with a pungent flavor. 

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when using scallions in place of spring onions.

2. Green Onions

Green onions are another type of young onion species often confused with scallions, but the two are actually quite different. Green onions are younger than both scallions and spring onions. 

However, they possess essentially the same flavor profile and the same long leafy green stalk and white bulb, which means green onions can be used in place of spring onions for just about any dish. 

Whether you are using them as a garnish or incorporating them into stews and stir-fries, green onions will still create the same mild sweetness and aroma commonly associated with spring onions.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when using green onions in place of spring onions. Green onions have a slightly less strong flavor than spring onions. So, if you want a slightly stronger flavor, you can double the amount of green onions.

3. Chives

Chives are another green vegetable from the Allium genus, which spring onions are a part of. They have thin, long green stems that are much more tender and delicate than that of spring onions.

However, the two possess the same mild onion flavor. 

Just like spring onions, chives can be used raw and are often added as a garnish tossed into salad and sauces. So, you can use them in just about any dish that calls for spring onions. 

How To Substitute

Use a 1:2 ratio when substituting chives for spring onions. Since they are much more tender than spring onions, you may also want to add them towards the end of your cooking so they don’t wilt quickly.

If you need inspiration on how to incorporate chives into your stir-fries, here’s a video to give you some ideas.

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4. Shallots

Shallots are another great substitute you can use in place of spring onions. They are of the same allium subcategory of vegetables, so they possess a similar flavor and texture to spring onions.  

With their delicate sweetness and mild onion aroma, shallots add the same flavor profile of spring onions to any dish. 

They can also be eaten raw or cooked, so you may use them as a garnish for salads and stir fries or incorporate them into other cuisines while cooking.

The only difference you’ll likely notice with shallots is that they come in small bulb shapes similar to a small onion and don’t have the leafy green stalks often attached to spring onions.

However, in terms of flavor, the two are very much interchangeable.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing spring onions with shallots. However, it is also important to keep in mind that shallots don’t exactly have the same look as spring onions. So, if you’re using them as a garnish in a dish where appearance is the key part of the finished look, then you may not want to use shallots as they don’t have the green leafy stalks of spring onions.

5. Leeks

The Allium genus of vegetables contains many species which are similar in taste, and look to green onions and leeks as another such species.

These thick green vegetables have a white base that transitions into long green stalks similar to that of spring onions. 

They have a milder taste than spring onions but the same subtle sweet onion flavor, making them a great substitute. When cooking, leeks are often used for the same things as spring onions. 

This makes them an ideal replacement for spring onions in dishes that use them as a garnish or a caramelized base ingredient.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting leeks for spring onions. However, you need to make sure the leeks are thinly sliced to reduce their fibrous and thick texture. It is also essential to keep in mind that leeks are slightly tougher than spring onions, so they may take longer to cook if you want them to be soft. However, if you’re just using them as a garnish, then you can simply add them at the end of the cooking process.

6. Ramps

Ramps are a wild onion species from the Allium family, and just like spring onions, they are in abundance in the spring season. 

Ramps have a rich flavor that is both oniony and garlicky but not as pungent as either onions or garlic. This makes them an ideal substitute for spring onions as you get a touch of that mild onion flavor but with a unique garlicky kick.

 Like spring onions, ramps can be eaten raw or cooked and work well when incorporated into any dish that calls for spring onions.

They are also usually one of the first edible greens to hit the market in the spring, which makes them very high in demand.

So if you want to use them, you’ll need to stock up early before the season goes and they all disappear or become super expensive.

How To Substitute

Since they are quite similar in texture and taste, ramps can be substituted with spring onions at a 1:1 ratio.

7. Sweet Onions

Sweet onions are a type of regular onion that is somewhat similar to yellow onions but often come in larger sizes and have a lighter color. 

They have a milder and sweeter flavor than regular onions, which makes them a great substitute for spring onions. They are great for caramelizing or incorporated into dishes while cooking. 

As a garnish, sweet onions might not be the best replacement for spring onions since they don’t necessarily have the same look.

So, if you’re looking for a spring onion substitute for a dish where appearance is important, they may not be the best option. 

However, if all you want to do is replicate the flavor of spring onions, then sweet onions are a great substitute.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:4 ratio when substituting sweet onions for spring onions.

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8. Red Spring Onions

Red spring onions are a type of spring onion with the same long green stalks but with red bulbs at the root. 

They have pretty much the same taste and texture as regular spring onions, so you can use the two interchangeably. They make a great substitute for regular spring onions if you can’t get your hands on the white bulbed variation.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting red spring onions for regular spring onions.

9. Wild Garlic

Wild garlic is a flowering plant of the Alium family, which spring onions belong to. They are seasonal and have a short window period in the spring, where they are abundant, but if you can get your hands on them, you’re in for a real treat.

 They possess a rich garlicky flavor with subtle notes of sweet onion, similar to spring onions. Just like spring onions, wild garlic can be used raw or cooked and go well with all kinds of dishes.

How To Substitute

When substituting wild garlic for spring onions, use a 2:1 ratio.

10. Onion Powder

Onion powder is a seasoning mix made from dehydrated onions. It imparts a distinctive onion flavor into any dish, but its taste is milder and less pungent than regular onions. This makes it an excellent substitute for spring onions.

However, keep in mind that due to its dehydrated nature, onion powder does not fully possess the fresh and sweet flavor profile of spring onions.

So, this option should really be more of a last-minute replacement you go for when you need something quick.

How To Substitute

When using onion powder in place of spring onions, you’ll need to use one tablespoon of onion powder for each cup of spring onions required in a dish. It is also best incorporated into the dish while cooking, so this might not work if you’re looking for a last-minute garnish to add at the end of dishes like fried rice.

11. Coriander

Spring onions, also known as scallions, are often used in cooking. However, if you don’t like the flavor of spring onions, there are ways to substitute them with coriander.

For example, slice the coriander leaves into thin strips if you want to use coriander leaves in place of spring onions. Then sauté the strips with a little oil and garlic for about two minutes.

If you want to add some colors to your recipe or salad, it’s a perfect choice.

How To Substitute

Use coriander to replace spring onion in an equal amount in your recipe.

12. Chinese Chives

Chinese Chives are much milder than spring onions and can be used as a substitute in any dish. In addition, they have a more delicate flavor, which is an excellent option for dishes that require less onion flavor.

Chives are a type of onion that has long, slender green leaves. Chives can substitute for spring onions in various dishes, including fried rice, stir-fries, and scrambled eggs.

Chives also make a delicious addition to chicken and vegetable soup.

How To Substitute

Use Chinese chives to replace spring onions in a 1:1 substitution ratio.

13. Onion

Spring onions, sometimes called scallions, are long, thin green ones that are milder in flavor than red ones. You can substitute spring onions for red onions in a recipe, but you will need to add extra sugar to the recipe for it to taste sweet.

You may use them in various recipes that call for spring onions.

How To Substitute

Use onions to replace spring onions in a 1:1 substitution ratio.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Substitute Green Onions For Spring Onions?

Green onions and spring onions are both immature onions of the same Allium family with a similar taste and texture, so you can substitute green onions for spring onions.

Can I Use Celery Instead Of Spring Onions?

Celery does not exactly have the same taste or texture as spring onions, so it is not the best substitute. However, if all you want is to add the same green color and an added crunch to your dish, then you can use celery if you prefer.

What Is The Flavor Of Spring Onions?

Spring onions have a fresh sweet flavor with a mild and subtle hint of onion that isn’t too overpowering or pungent.

Are Spring Onions And Leeks The Same?

Spring onions and leeks are not the same. Although they look similar and both have long green stalks, both plants are actually quite different.

Spring onions are smaller and much more tender. Meanwhile, leeks have thicker and more fibrous green stalks that take a bit longer to cook.

How Long Do Spring Onions Keep In The Fridge?

Spring onions will typically last about 1-2 weeks in the fridge. However, to ensure they stay in the best condition during this time, it is best to store them in a well-sealed plastic bag.

Are Spring Onions Just Baby Onions?

Spring onions are a type of baby onions in the sense that they are immature and harvested before getting the chance to develop fully and grow into full onions.

What Is The Slimy Jelly Stuff In Spring Onions?

The slimy jelly stuff commonly seen when cutting spring onions is a naturally occurring fluid that often comes from fresh onions. Since spring onions are very young and fresh, you’re more likely to get a lot more of these slimy juices.

However, they are quite safe and edible, so you don’t have to worry about them.  

They only become a cause for concern if the spring onions start to rot and smell pungent; in that case, the spring onions should be discarded.

13 Best Spring Onion Substitutes Perfect For Any Dish

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Spring onions are a delicious and versatile ingredient, but what do you do if you don’t have any on hand? Check out our guide to spring onion substitutes for some ideas.


  • Scallions

  • Green Onions

  • Chives

  • Shallots

  • Leeks

  • Ramps

  • White Onions

  • Red Spring Onions

  • Wild Garlic

  • Onion Powder

  • Coriander

  • Chinese Chives

  • Onion


  • Pick any substitute you prefer from the lists above.
  • Follow the recipe instructions for your preferred substitute and use the proper ratio required while cooking.

Recipe Video

Jess Smith