spice powders in bottles

Spice Hacks: Substitutes for Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and More

Your spice rack is the saving grace of all meals. If your meal needs a little spice or kick, reach out for your spices and start adding them.

But there are times when your spice rack runs out of the essential spices or seasonings. For instance, what happens when you run out of onion powder? Is there a substitute? If you do switch up your seasonings with other spices or seasonings, will they taste the same? But what if you don’t have other seasonings on your rack?

Fear not! Even specialty items have an alternative, like yogurt substitutes and egg replacers.

From the ideal onion powder substitute to alternatives for your precious garlic powder, discover ingredient replacements.

Onion Powder Substitute: What Can You Use Instead of Onion Powder?

bunch of onions

For people who run out of onions at home, onion powder is usually their first substitute. This powder, which is made from dehydrated then finely ground onions. You can enrich the flavor of your soups, dips and sauces with this onion alternative.

Onion powder can also liven up the taste of your meat, as well as add some kick to your meatloaf, casserole and other dishes where you want to add a distinct onion flavor. Onion powder is also a great substitute for shallots.

When you run out of onion powder or your local grocery store doesn’t have the stock, don’t worry. Consider the following tried-and-tested onion powder substitutes.

1. Dehydrated onion flakes

Often sold in your local grocery store’s dried herb and spice section, onion flakes are dehydrated, minced onions that add the same onion flavor to any dish. This onion powder substitute is often used for different salads, casserole dishes, stir-fries or baked chicken dishes. They are also handy additions to any plant-based recipe.

What makes onion flakes a good substitute for onion powder? You can still get the essence of the powder. The main difference between the two is that the flakes are larger than the powder. If you want to mimic the texture of onion powder, grind your flakes with a mortar and pestle or use a blender. You can also roll them with a rolling pin.

Another difference between the two is the flavor strength. Onion powder has a more powerful flavor compared to flakes. So, if you’re going to use this onion powder substitute, keep in mind: a tablespoon of onion powder equates to three tablespoons of dehydrated onion flakes.

2. Onion salt

Most suitable for tomato dishes, soups, marinades, stews and egg dishes, onion salt is a blend of onion powder and salt. This substitute doesn’t add moisture to the dish as a fresh onion would. Still, it infuses your dish with the same flavor as onion powder.

Onion salt gives you the same texture and flavor as you would when you use plain onion powder. The powder, however, has a more powerful flavor since it isn’t diluted with salt. As for the texture, onion powder has a finer texture compared to onion salt.

When using this onion powder substitute, remember the ratio: ¼ teaspoon of onion powder (plus ¾ teaspoon of salt) makes a teaspoon of onion salt.

3. Scallions

If onion powder is a good leek substitute, it can also happen vice versa. Scallions are excellent ingredients for pizzas, seafood dishes, pork dishes, pastas and soups. This onion powder substitute is often referred to as spring onions or green onions.

Scallions have a more subtle flavor compared to onion powder. So, if you want to use them as a substitute, add up the number of scallions up to three times the amount of the onion powder that you need.

Garlic Powder Substitute: What Can You Use Instead of Garlic Powder?

bunch of garlic cloves

If you don’t have garlic at home but your dish needs some serious garlic flavor, garlic powder is always a great alternative. It may not be as potent as regular garlic, but it adds the essence of garlic to any dish. Plus, it’s easier to work with and it has a longer shelf life. Therefore, garlic powder is a must-have in any spice cabinet.

You can use garlic powder for salad dressings, marinades, meat rubs, sauces and soups. This seasoning also elevates the taste of pan-friend meats like pork chops.

But if you don’t have garlic powder at home, you can substitute it with something else.

1. Granulated garlic

What’s the difference between garlic powder and this substitute? Both are made from garlic, but granulated garlic is made from garlic cloves grounded to make granules. On the other hand, garlic powder is made from garlic cloves ground to a fine powder. If you want a mellower and nuttier flavor, you can use roasted garlic granules.

Since garlic powder represents more garlic per teaspoon compared to granulated garlic, you’ll have to use more of the granules to achieve the same flavor profile. Don’t be afraid to use twice as much granulated garlic.

2. Garlic salt

Like onion salt, this garlic powder substitute is garlic powder with salt added. The ratio is a part of garlic combined with three parts of salt. This is a convenient spice since you get the garlic powder and the salt at the same time. However, this means you should use it carefully. Using too much garlic salt can lead to an overly salted dish.

When using garlic salt as a garlic powder substitute, use twice the amount of the salt but refrain from adding more salt.

3. Garlic flakes

Garlic flakes are another good substitute for garlic powder. These dehydrated pieces of minced garlic are popular for being a key ingredient in Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning. Similar to granulated garlic, garlic flakes have a subtler flavor compared to garlic powder.

So if you’re going to use this as a substitute, use a teaspoon of garlic flakes for every ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.

Paprika Powder Substitute: What Can You Use Instead of Paprika Powder?

paprika powder

Paprika adds color and spice to any dish. Made from the dried pods of pepper plants like chili peppers or bell peppers, paprika is best used for garnishing purposes. You can sprinkle paprika over salads, hors d’oeuvre, eggs and more.

So what do you do if you need paprika and you’ve just run out? Substitute them, of course!

1. Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a hot red chili pepper used to add spice to different cuisines. It is stronger and hotter than paprika, so you should use less chili powder than you would paprika. To reduce the spice factor, mix your cayenne pepper with a sweetener like honey or sugar. Depending on your recipe and spice tolerance, you can add heavy broth, cream or salt to reduce the spiciness of cayenne pepper.

2. Chili powder

If you’re not a big fan of the spice factor of cayenne pepper but still want a kick, chili powder is your next best alternative to paprika. Chili powder is quite flavorful. It also has the same color and kick as paprika. Unlike cayenne pepper, you can use equal amounts of chili powder as you would with paprika.

3. Cajun spice seasoning

This blend is composed of black and white pepper plus cayenne. As its name implies, Cajun spice seasoning is used in Cajun recipes. This paprika seasoning alternative is not as hot as cayenne pepper.

If your spice rack is missing a few spices or seasonings, do not despair! Enjoy your food with substitutes. Use them, and you’ll feel as if you’re not missing out on anything.

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Maggie Wheeler
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