substitute for pearl onions

onion is very popular root vegetable which has good amount of fibers, vitamin c and some oxidants for better working of our body. they have good taste and flavor which makes dishes good in flavor and people also eat them raw with spices in salad bowls. substitute for pearl onions are cheap and easy to find in market to replace pearl onions in your dishes in their unavailability due to some reason.

pearl onions is type of onion which is small in size and white in color which are mainly used in soup making like onion soups, meat dishes, stews, grilled recipes, sautéed vegetables bowl salad with tangy tomatillos etc. to add good taste in your dishes and make unique pearl onion recipes. you can get them in your local market in fresh or frozen form to make your favorite recipe with them. they are mainly found and used in Germany, Netherlands and Italy region.

substitute for pearl onions

if you cant find them in market then use substitute for pearl onions shared below to make your dishes taste similar to pearl onions without spending too much money. to know how to cut normal onions and substitute for pearl onions without crying checkout out our onion cutting guide.

Pearl onions substitutes and alternatives


Shallots is a popular option to replace pearl onions. it has mild taste which is similar to normal onions. the flavor of the pearl onions and shallot onions have similar taste profiles. you can replace each other in equal quantities. they are generally added in savory dishes after its being cooked to retain its flavor and crispness.


cipollini onions have origin from italy. they have large size with full round shape and flat curvature when compared to pearl onions. They are popular addition in many dishes across the world and works great as pearl onion substitutes. they have little sweetness in taste. you can find them in many sauces and traditional Italian dishes and recipes in homes in Italian restaurants.


cocktail onions

Cocktail onions are also great for substituting pearl onions in all kinds of dishes. they are made by mixing peal onions with turmeric and paprika to make the cocktail of spices and onion for one of the kind flavor from it. you can use them as garnish for many dishes and add in sandwiches, hot dogs, salad mix and other raw food also to good taste. they are white in color and some people also call them button onions.

frozen pearl onions

you can also use frozen pearl onions incase you don’t have normal ones they are easy to get from market and works great as an alternative for the normal pearl onions. they come in pre peeled form so can be used directly without any issue of peeling them.

they have little bit sweetness in taste. you can replace them in 1:1 ration in dishes of your choice including salads. frozen pearl onions have less water in them so they are more potent in taste and may be you would like less in your dish so add them gradually to see when does it matches your taste palate perfectly for scrumptious tasting recipes you desire after hours of cooking in your kitchen.

green onions

green onions are also know as scallion greens in many parts of the world. they work great as a replacement for pearl onions in all kinds of dishes. they comes with little less and mild taste when compared to pearl onions and give a unique fresh flavor to your dishes.

add finely chopped scallion greens in salads, soup, roasted veggies mix, curries etc. in last moments while cooking to get crispy and good taste from the scallion greens in your dishes. you can also garnish your dishes with these green onions for great taste in your home made recipes. its mild in taste you can be added to stir fry also for better taste and flavor of overall veggies bowl.

some people also like them with non veg items like chicken curry, meat soups and chicken broth along with roasted and grilled veggies platter. try it for yourself when you don’t have pearl onions to enjoy great flavor of green onion in your favorite dishes without any issues.

scallions substitute


Celery has a strong taste and good flavor making it one of the ideal candidate to replace when you don’t have pearl onions. some people may not like celery taste in place of pearl onions. you can add equal amount of celery for pearl onion replacement. it is green veggie which are popular in many people groups due to its nutritional benefits and ow calories.

celery substitute


leeks is yet another alternative for pearl onions to add in your recipes for similar taste. leeks comes with mild and sweet taste matching to the onions. people add it to salad bowls, onion soups, Scopus, dressing, curries etc. with leeks you can also add chives in combination with in your dishes as it has similar flavor to pearl onions and will make your soup, salads, stir fry veggies taste good overall.

substitute for leeks

fennel bulbs

fennel bulbs has similar physical profile to onions and comes with little sweet flavor to them making them a good alternative for pearl onions. you can eat them raw of add in your soups, salads, stews and other similar recipes. add as per the requirement of of your recipe and your liking for fennel bulbs for good taste and flavor in the dish.

they are used as garnish like parsley and dill etc. you can chop them in small pieces and then add to your dishes for great tasting recipes. in this veggie you can make use of fennels, stalks and fronds for amazing taste in their recipes. fronds works great for salad bowls while fennels and stalks can be chopped up and added to various recipes of your choice like soups, stews, stir fry, noddle’s, wonton platter etc.

fennel bulbs
fennel bulbs


carrot is a popular vegetable that comes in red, white and orange color mainly. it has sweet and neutral flavor profile to it. they come with lot of essential nutrients packed in them and can be used as substitute for pearl onions without any issue.

you can bake them, eat in salad, add to your curries, gravy, stir fries, sandwiches, hot dogs, subs, meats etc. to get good taste in your meal in absence of pearl onions. replace them in equal quantity with pearl onions and enjoy the unique taste and flavor of carrots.

some people also make sweet recipes out of carrots and creamy carrot soups like onion soups which taste good too. if you like to freeze the carrots then you can blanch them and then freeze them after cutting in desired shapes in freezer bags for later usage in all kinds of recipes.

multiple color carrots image

Boiling onion

They are big in size when compared to pearl onions and can work as a great alternative for pearl onions in their absence. they come in white color and possess mild taste profile which is similar to pearl onions making them work in all kinds of different dishes where onions are required. Due to their versatile availability you can buy them year round for making tasting dishes for everyone. Make sure when you buy them they are firm in texture with full dryness and no softness which could be a sign of rotting onion.

people mainly use them soups, braises, stews, pies, sandwiches etc. due to the mild flavor you can add them little extra than normal pearl onion to get best flavor from boiling onions in your dishes.

boiling onion

Frequently asked questions

what is the main difference between regular onions and pearl onions?

pearl onions are also called baby onions as they are smaller and sweeter when compared to regular onions. they are healthy and nutritious to eat. you can add pearl onions in making pies, grilled skewers, stir fries etc. for best taste. pearl onions comes in yellow, red and white colors and some people also make pickle out of them by adding vinegar in to pearl onion jars.

balsamic vinegar drizzled on sautéed pearl onion salad with great tasting spices and herbs like rosemary, oregano etc. of your choices taste very delicious as side dish with roasted and grilled platters of main course food items. you can add little bit lemon juice in the mix also if you like to make the salad citrussy. try this pearl onion recipe to enjoy with your family and friends as they will like it too.

What’s the taste of pearl onion?

Pearl onion are of great taste and less pungent when compared to normal onions. it has less Sulphur content which makes it little bit sweet and mild savory type flavor. they are crunchy and juicy and would go well in soups, stir fried and many similar recipes. you can add fresh onions in your dishes and frozen as well but frozen have less water in them and are concentrated in taste which gives great flavor to your dishes even when you add small quantities of frozen pearl onions.

What’s the ideal replacement of pearl onions in cocktails?

If you wish to add pearl pickled pear onions in cocktails drinks and salad cocktails but cant find them in your pantry and fridge then you can also use caper berries as they give similar taste with pickled pearl onion making your recipe of cocktails of all kinds great to drink and eat.


Hope you like my collection of substitutes for pearl onions to use when you don’t have any pearl onions in your kitchen or fridge. these alternatives of pearl onions works wonderfully to give true onion like flavor to your recipes without any issues. you can get all of them easily from market so try them and see which works better in your recipes and share below in comments with our other readers to help the make the right choice for different dishes.

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