Best Sweet Onion Substitutes


It’s just too impossible to not include sweet onions for every meal at all times. It feels like there’s a void in the food that needs to be filled. I’m saying that it’s just important to have onions for sauteing stir-fried dishes as well as adding them in soups and stews. You just can’t go wrong with sweet onions.

However, if you run out, it’s no longer a huge problem. Since there are tons of different onion varieties, you can definitely substitute sweet onion. You can use White Onions for example. Other varieties you can try out are Shallots, Potato Onion and Garlic.

Substitutes for Sweet Onions

Let us take a look at how these can perfectly substitute sweet onions for dishes.

1. White Onions

White Onion

White onions are definitely sweet the same as sweet onions. It almost looks the same as the sweet onion because of its white appearance however, the taste and texture of white onions are more papery-like compared to sweet onions.

Its aroma is a bit more of a pungent side compared to sweet onions where it’s more mild and bearable.


Most white onions are used for sauteing dishes and even works perfectly well as a salad ingredient. Although it’s a little pungent, it can still be eaten raw since its flavor is not too strong.

The best recipe to use white onions is by cooking it as an onion soup. It comes out sweet, aromatic, and flavorful perfect for the winter season.

How To Substitute

I suggest that you use a teaspoon of white onion to replace a tablespoon of sweet onions. Just to be on the safe side, to lessen its strong smell and perfectly replace the sweet onion to the dish.

Just add more if you feel like you can take the aroma. It’s always best to start with a little serving than just work your way from it.

2. Shallots


Shallots are of the same family as red onions, no wonder most consumers mistakenly interchange red onions from shallots. Shallots are a bit smaller and milder in aroma and flavor compared to red onions.

That’s why it made it to this list to substitute yellow onions. Shallots are also a close relative of chives, leek, and garlic as well.


Most shallots are used for sauteing dishes as well, for pickled side dishes and deep-fried toppings. You can also eat it raw since it has a milder flavor.

Just be cautious when chopping since it also secretes that chemical like most onions that could make you cry. But my favorite dish to do with shallots is to cook it deep-fried, a perfect topping for rice dishes, noodles, soups, and just about anything really.

How To Substitute

You don’t have to be too cautious when substituting shallots for sweet onions. A ratio of 1:1 should work for most dishes. Just don’t chop it too thinly because the shallots are already too small. It also forms into different sets of bulbs that resemble garlic. So you would have to take those apart from one by one and chop them nicely.

3. Potato Onions

It’s not what you think, it’s not really an actual potato but it’s an onion. Potato onions are also known as underground onion, Egyptian onion, and multiplier onion. It’s also quite similar to shallots, quality-wise.

It usually has medium-sized round bulbs that multiply and with a color that actually resembles the regular potato. Which is why the name makes sense. It’s also mild and sweet, its pungent smell is not too obvious especially when eaten raw.


It’s perfect for making pickles mixed with other vegetables. After harvesting all of it from the springtime, most countries try to make these products last by pickling them.

Other than that, you can use it for stews, soups, and even for sauteing dishes. It’s also a good ingredient for making salads. I’ve tried making onion rings using this variety and it actually tastes good!

How to Substitute

Potato onions are the same as sweet onions, mild and succulent. No need to adjust the substitution and can be done with a ratio of 1:1.

This type of onion is easy to experiment with in most dishes as well. It can be eaten raw as well you can mix it when making a soy sauce dip, it adds more flavor and spice to the dip.

4. Garlic


If you haven’t known by now, garlic is actually a species that belongs to the onion genus. It’s a close relative of its ultimate partner: onions. That’s amazing, right? Although they are relatives, they still are different in terms of physical appearance.

Garlic comes in different small bulbs and has a more strong aroma and taste. Some people eat this raw for its wonderful health benefits however, the taste is not that pleasing. But, garlic is aromatic and flavorful once it’s cooked.


Like what I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s best known for its medicinal properties commonly known in Asia. For the rest of the world, it’s a staple for sauteed dishes, marinades, sauces, pickles, and for toppings. Not so much for salads since it could come off too strong.

Garlic is pretty diverse when it comes to using. You will never run out of ways on how to make them or incorporate them in most dishes. That’s the reason why you can just use garlic whenever you’re out of sweet onions.

How to Substitute

Just double the amount of garlic you’re sauteing to replace the missing sweet onions. You won’t really feel like the sweet onions were missing since its aroma is milder. Garlic has a strong aroma that definitely fills the void of sweet onions.

You can use this to substitute in almost all the dishes you could ever think of. For salads, you can try adding a small clove that was thinly sliced. Just to add some kick to the veggies.

There you have it! Hope you have your own pick on which of these sweet onion substitutes above works well with your dishes. Happy cooking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like