Dried minced onions are handy to have on hand; the dehydration process extends their shelf life, allowing for year-round stocking. The dehydration process also reduces the pungency of onions, making them desirable for those who don't enjoy strong onion flavor. However, if you're preparing a dish that calls for dried minced onions and you don't have any available, you can use a variety of suitable substitutes, including onion flakes, onion powder or salt, leeks and fresh or frozen onions.
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Onion flakes are similar to dried minced onions in that they are dehydrated and share the same texture when cooked. However, they differ in size; onion flakes are smaller and more finely chopped than minced. When you use onion flakes as a substitute for dried minced onions, use almost double the amount your recipe calls for to achieve the same flavor as minced onions and to compensate for the size of the dehydrated onion bits.
Onion Powder and Onion Salt
Onion powder and onion salt make substitutes for dried minced onions, especially for dishes that aren't dependent upon the texture of dehydrated onions. Onion powder and onion salt are both made of ground, dehydrated onion, but onion salt has salt added to it, which makes it ideal for dishes that need salt. When substituting for dried minced onions, use one-half the amount of onion powder and onion salt. If the flavor isn't to your satisfaction, use a dash or two more of each.
Fresh or Frozen Onion
In lieu of dried onion, minced fresh or frozen onion can be used. While fresh and frozen onions are more pungent than dried onions, nearly four times the amount should be substituted for dried. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of dried minced onions, substitute approximately 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen onions. You can substitute any kind of fresh or frozen onion for dried, but keep the flavors of the dish you are preparing in mind. Yellow onions are sweet and astringent; white onions possess a strong, sharp flavor; and red onions are pleasantly mild.
Leeks or Green Onions
In a pinch, leeks or green onions can be used as alternatives to dried minced onions. Green onions are immature onions, pulled from the ground before a prominent bulb can form. Often consumed raw, they have a mild flavor and tender texture and are best substituted in dishes where the onion is not cooked for a long time as it will disintegrate quickly. Leeks look like large green onions, but they have a more complex onion flavor, mild, sweet and astringent like that of a yellow onion. Use approximately six times the amount of minced leeks or green onions than the amount of dried onion your recipe calls for.