substitute for pearl onions

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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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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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