Leeks have a delicate and delicious flavor that is so great for culinary uses like soup. However, sometimes it can be hard to find fresh leeks. This article includes the best substitute for leeks when you run out or can’t find them at the store.

Bowl of sliced leeks on tabletop.
Fresh chopped leeks.

Basic Leek Info

Leeks are a type of onion that is part of the Allium family. They’re related to garlic, shallots, and chives.

They have a long white stalk with dark green leaves at the top. The entire leek can be eaten, but most people only use the white and light green parts.

How they’re used

Leeks have a delicate and mild onion flavor that is great for soups, stews, and sauces. They can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooking, leeks should be washed well and sliced thinly.

Nutrition of leeks

Leeks are a nutritious vegetable. They’re a good source of vitamins, C, and K. They also contain folate and manganese.

What do they taste like?

The flavor is also slightly sweet and grassy. I think leeks taste like a very mild onion.

Bunch of fresh leeks on tray.
Fresh leeks.

Best Substitutes for Leeks

Below are the best substitutes for leeks. Try these when using leeks aren’t an option.

1. Shallots

Bunch of dried fresh shallots bundled together.

Shallots are a great substitute for leeks. They are part of the onion family and they are smaller and have a milder flavor.

They can be used in any dish that calls for leeks, from French onion soup to chicken noodle soup. Be sure to slice the shallots thin so that they cook evenly. With shallots, you can enjoy all your favorite soups and stews without worrying about finding leeks.

To substitute 1 large leek, use 2 large or 3-4 medium-sized shallots.

2. Sweet or White Onion

White onion with green stalk growing out.
White onion.

One of the best substitutes is sweet or white onion. While the flavor of these onions is not identical to leeks, they will still provide a similar taste to your dish. While they are typically used in soups and stews, they can also be served as a side dish or added to salads.

In addition, both sweet and white onions are widely available and easy to find at most grocery stores.

Simply chop the onions and add them to your recipe in place of the leeks. You may find that you prefer the flavor of onions to leeks, making this substitution a delicious discovery.

To substitute for 1 cup of leeks, use 1 cup of sweet or white onion.

3. Green Garlic

Bundled stack of green garlic scapes.
Green garlic.

Green garlic is a great option as a substitute for leeks! It has a milder flavor than traditional garlic, making it perfect for dishes where you don’t want the garlic to be too overpowering. Plus, it’s just as easy to use as leeks-simply chop it up and add it to whatever you’re cooking. So next time you’re out of leeks, give green garlic a try!

To substitute, use ¼ cup of green garlic for every 1 cup of leeks.

4. Green Onions

Green onion bundle on white background.
Green onions.

Leeks are a popular ingredient in many dishes, thanks to their mild onion flavor and versatility. However, they can be difficult to find in stores, and they can also be quite pricey. Luckily, there is a perfectly good substitute that is both easy to find and relatively inexpensive: green onion.

Green onion has a similar flavor to leek, but it is more pungent. It is also a bit sweeter than the leek. However, it can be used in many of the same dishes, such as soups, stews, and casseroles.

To substitute 1 large leek, use 6-8 green onions.

5. Onion Powder

Container of onion powder next to white onion.
Onion powder.

When a recipe calls for leeks, but you don’t have any on hand, onion powder is the perfect substitute. You may need to adjust the amount of onion powder to taste, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.

In addition to being a great stand-in for leeks, onion powder can also be used to add flavor to dips, sauces, casseroles, and other dishes. So next time your recipe calls for leeks, don’t worry if you don’t have any—onion powder will do the trick.

To substitute, use 1 teaspoon onion powder for every 1 cup of chopped leeks.

Pros and Cons of Substitutes

Here’s a chart showing the pros and cons of the various leek alternatives.

ShallotsMild flavor, suitable for a variety of dishes.May require more preparation to slice thinly for even cooking.
Sweet or White OnionWidely available, adds a similar taste to dishes.Flavor is not identical to leeks, may alter the dish’s intended taste subtly.
Green GarlicMilder than traditional garlic, easy to use in cooking.Flavor is much milder than leeks, may not be suitable for all recipes.
Green OnionsEasy to find, inexpensive, and similar flavor to leeks.More pungent and slightly sweeter than leeks.
Onion PowderConvenient, good for adding flavor to a variety of dishes.Flavor may need adjustment, lacks the texture and freshness of leeks.


Leeks are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be used in many different dishes. While they can be difficult to find, there are several great substitutes that can be used in their place. So next time your recipe calls for leeks, don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand. Simply use one of the substitutes listed above.

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with over 5 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.