scallion substitute

Top 6 Substitutes For Scallions For Your Favorite Homemade Meals

Scallions are such a common ingredient in all sorts of dishes that it makes sense to have it in your kitchen. You can actually imagine what may happen if your dish requires them and there are none around. You may need to know about good alternatives to use in place of scallions.

What Are Scallions?

Scallions are long, green onions that belong to the Allium family, which also contains garlic and onions. These onions grow in bunches and develop dark green and hollow-tube leaves. 

Scallions don’t have a bulb at the bottom, but instead a small, white end where the roots are located.

This vegetable has a mild, citrusy flavor, so it goes well in a variety of dishes. Scallions are common in Asian dishes, including miso soup, stir-fry, fried rice, and noodles, but they are also common in Latin American recipes, such as chimichurri, sofrito, roasted chicken, and tacos. 

You can probably find scallions everywhere these days, but they are often in season during the spring and summer seasons. Make sure to buy scallions that have a firm white base and bright green leaves that are stiff.

To use scallions, you’ll want to remove the white portion with the roots first. Remove any dead or ugly leaves as well. Finally, place the bunch of scallions together and cut in a circular form or an angle depending on what you want to use them for.

What Can I Replace Scallions With?

If there aren’t around or you want another type of flavor, these scallion substitutes are all good for your meals:

Best For Cooking, Marinades, and Eggs

#1. Chives

Since many people confuse scallions with chives, it makes sense to use them as a substitute. Chives taste a bit more like an onion than scallions, but they have a hint of garlic flavor. This vegetable is also part of the Allium family, and it is often used in dips, sauces, eggs, and salads. 

Unlike scallions, chives don’t add the crunch that your dish may need, so you may want to add more. Use chives when you prepare eggs, marinades, soups, and on top of some butter. Chives are available year-round anywhere, so they can be more accessible than scallions.

#2. Leeks

Leeks are another member of the Allium family, just like scallions, onions, chives, and garlic. 

This is a bulbous vegetable with very long and deep green leaves, but the bulb isn’t too big, and if it is, you may want to avoid it as it is a sign that it is too old. The flavor is much milder and also a bit sweeter too. 

You can cook leeks the same way that you would onions, either boiled, braised, fried, or roasted. It is best to not add them too early in the process because they can get mushy and slimy. Use leeks when you prepare eggs, stews, salads, and soups.

#3. Shallots

Another member of the Allium family, shallots are sweet, sharp, and slightly acidic. Shallots are small, so you will probably need at least one or two. You can prepare shallots roasted, sauteed, baked, or serve them raw, but be mindful of the cooking time.

Use shallots when you prepare soups, salads, sauces, eggs, and stews. You may not want to use shallots for garnish, as they are too big, but they work great for flavor.

Best For Pasta, Potatoes, and Miso Soup

#4. Yellow Onion

While yellow onions seem too pungent and strong, they can work wonders when it comes to flavor. You can chop them up into slices or cubes, and saute them for better texture and flavor. Yellow onions are great in pasta, potatoes, salads, stews, and soups.

Make sure to cook the onions with enough time, as they taste better after a few minutes of cooking. You can also use raw onions, but these are very pungent and could overpower your dish.

#5. Parsley

While this is not an onion or a relative of the Allium family, this herb can be a fantastic addition when it comes to garnishing.

Use a bunch of chopped parsley to top dishes like pasta, sauce, dips, potatoes, and even soups. If possible, we recommend you use fresh parsley, as the flavor is more intense.

Be mindful of the time you are adding parsley because adding it too early can cause the texture to become slimy and the flavor can get lost too. Parsley is available at any time of the year and it is very affordable.

#6. Garlic

Since garlic is also a member of the Allium family, it can sometimes be used as a substitute for scallions. You don’t want to overdo it, though, because garlic has a very strong pungent taste and aroma.

You can add one teaspoon mashed garlic or clove to your meal for every one teaspoon of scallions.

Use garlic when you prepare pasta, meat, sauces, potatoes, soups, and fish. While garlic is very flavorful, it will not add texture to your meal, so you may want to consider mixing it with one of the other options on this list.


Can you substitute onion for scallions?

Yes, onions can substitute scallions and vice versa. The flavor of the onion is much stronger, so you’ll want to use about half. Scallions are more citric and slightly sweet but can make for a good addition to dishes that normally contain onions.

Why do chefs use shallots instead of onions?

Some people prefer shallots to onions because of the sweet, slightly garlic flavor they have. In some dishes, shallots will taste better than onions because they are more delicate. Also, onions are very pungent when raw, unlike shallots.

Can you substitute red onion for scallions?

Since red onions are related to scallions, they can replace one another without much problem. Red onions are a bit more acidic and have a strong pungent flavor, while scallions are subtle and slightly sweet. In some dishes, like dips, salads, and stews, these can be interchangeable.


Because scallions are small and not available all the time, knowing what to substitute them with can be a great thing. These six options are all accessible and easy to cook with. Remember to always taste before you add and mix flavors if you want to!

Up next: Scallions vs Green Onion

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