Best Leek Substitutes

What Should You Know About Leeks? As most of you have known, leeks are common ingredients in many foods, ranging from stews soups to stir-fried meals. For more details, leeks are well-known for being a vegetable type originating from the Allium ampeloprasum. The same members in the family include scallion, shallot, onion, chives, and garlic. When you have a deeper look into the vegetable, you might realize it comes with bunches. Plus, dark leaves are wrapping outside the leeks. The leeks are served mainly with the lighter green section, combing with only a little darker part of the leaves. Concerning the taste, leeks have a complex flavor. They are likely a blend of garlic and onion flavor. That means they offer a solid and spicy taste. However, when you chop the leeks, they might not make you cry like the onions. Also, when you consume the leeks, wait for a few seconds. You might realize the smell or aftertaste you know in onions would not appear in the leeks. Due to the mild and a little sweet flavor, you can use leeks in many dishes. For instance, you can boil, roast, braise, or grill the leeks. Keep in mind that they can not be cooked for a long time. If not, they tend to get slimy or mushy.

6 Ways to Best Substitute For Leeks

You might be unable to find the leeks in your pantry from time to time. Then, think about their best substitutes to add to your food. They include onions, green garlic, onion/garlic powder, shallots, spring onions, celery, and chives.

1. Onion

You want to add a few raw leeks into your salad or soups, yet you might find none of them left in your pantry from time to time. That is when the onions can work well. Both have a subtle flavor, while the onions can taste a little stronger than their counterpart. There are four types of onion you can utilize in this case for more detail. First, I suggest white onions as great substitutes. Significantly, the white guy can be an excellent replacement in dishes like salsa, guacamole, or salads. Moreover, the yellow onions are great in case of stews, puree, or soups. Remember that they offer a more assertive flavor compared with other onion kinds. Suppose you want to decrease the bitterness; think about slightly slicing them into smaller parts and soaking them into the warm water. Some people also take the sweet onions to substitute the leeks. They have a similar mild taste. Plus, they can turn into caramel quickly with the sugar content included. The sweet onions are suitable for making sandwiches, salads, and roasting. Last but not least are red onions. As its names indicated, the onions come with a white-red flesh inside and a purplish-red coat outside. While they might not look quite familiar with the leeks, both offer a mild closed flavor. Hence, the red onions can replace the raw leeks well in pickling, guacamole, or salads.

2. Green Garlic

The following substitute for the leeks is green garlic, an immature version of the garlic. Regarding its appearance, green garlic includes a long and light green section, combined with a pretty round part that looks like a bulb. Its appearance reminds you of the overgrown green onions or scallions in a brief overview. It is a clove of young garlic; it offers a similar taste to garlic. Keep in mind that you use the green garlic with a considerable amount. Just a small quantity of them is enough for replacing the leeks.

3. Onion or Garlic Powder

If there are no fresh onions or garlic left in your kitchen, consider their powder version as suitable leek substitutes. They offer the same taste as the substitutes. Meanwhile, their powder type might not give you the same texture as with the leeks. Concerning the ratio, a teaspoon of onion/garlic powder can replace well one cup of chopped leeks.

4. Shallots

You are a big fan of Asian dishes, so you might not be strange to the shallots anymore. There is even a famous proverb in some Asian countries to emphasize the popularity of this ingredient, “Pork without shallots is like soups without salt.” That means the shallots can considerably impact the dishes, especially with pork meat. While they taste pretty like onions, they are a bit milder, offering a fresh, soft, and nuanced flavor for your food. Furthermore, it can substitute leeks in risotto, stews, casseroles, soups, and others.

5. Scallions

Scallions or green onions can be excellent leek substitutes due to their same texture and mild flavor. For more details, scallions are young onions. People harvest them before the bulbs form. Plus, they have a smaller size than the leeks. Since then, you might need more scallions to substitute the leeks. In general, from five to eight scallions can replace a standard leek. They are often seen in the raw version to garnish casserole, omelet, soups, tacos, etc. You utilize the scallions for cooked dishes, so adding them as the last ingredient prevents them from getting ugly dull hues. Besides, the spring onions are worth considering if you can not find any scallion in your kitchen or the nearby grocery store. The spring onions are a more mature version of the scallions with larger bulbs. They lend a more robust taste, combing with an onion-garlic flavor.

6. Celery

Lastly, people also use celery to replace the leeks due to its popularity and a similar flavor profile with its partner. You can taste the celery containing a crunchy texture combined with a fresh and fibrous flavor. Feeling its leaves, you might notice they own a more robust taste than other parts. Furthermore, celery can provide various health benefits that might lack in other alternatives. For instance, it improves your cardiovascular and digestive systems over time. Plus, following many studies and research, vegetables reduce the risk of getting cancer, inflammation, blood pressure, and others. To its usage, celery can combine well with peanut butter, cheese, dips, salads, risottos, soups, and others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I replace the fennel with leeks?

Cause the fennel and leeks have pretty similar features, you can freely exchange between them. Substitute chopped fennel with a cup of chopped leeks is my suggestion. But keep in mind that the leeks’ taste might not offer the anise, savory essence. Hence, you might need to use a few extra fennel seeds to compensate for the lack.

Can I use chives instead of leeks?

It mostly depends on your needs to decide if you want to use chives to replace the leeks lacking. That means chives are only often used to garnish dishes due to their beautiful green color after being sliced thinly. Besides, it lends a delicate taste. That makes them not usually used to substitute for the cooked leeks. But suppose the lacking leeks play the role as an ingredient; using the chives instead is fine.

How-To Clean and Cut Leeks?


To conclude, above is what you should know about the best substitute for leeks. In short, I recommend the onion as the best option. That has its roots in its popularity and the similar flavor to its counterpart. Moreover, the scallions are worth considering. They offer the same taste, but they also give a similar texture to leeks.