Chives Substitutes – Here Are 5 Swaps You Can Use

Since chives have a milder flavor, they make a perfect addition to seafood dishes, omelets, mashed or baked potatoes, and many more. Often, it’s also used as a garnish. With so many uses, you’re quite sure to run out of this delicate herb occasionally. In such a scenario, you can easily use a simple chive substitute to continue with your recipe.

In this article, I’ll give you a couple of good replacements for fresh chives. Of course, a few simple and common ingredients found in every kitchen are my choice of substitutes.

Best Chives Substitutes

If you’re in a pinch and need a quick substitute, chives are among the comparatively easier herbs to replace.

I have pinned down for you a few good substitutes for chives that are worth trying. All of them are replacements for fresh chives with similar taste and freshness.

1. Scallion

My choice of an excellent chives substitute is none other than scallions. This herb, also known as spring onions or green onions, is a close relative of chives. A scallion is made up of white and long green stalks similar to chives.

They are greenish like chives and provide the same texture and appearance when used for garnishing.

Scallions have a mild flavor of onions but are slightly stronger than chives. For this reason, while using scallions to replace chives, use them in less quantity. Also, add them to the earlier part of the cooking process. Some of the scallion alternatives might also work in your dishes.

The white and green parts of scallion stalks are used in recipes and eaten both raw and cooked. To your advantage, you can use scallions in almost all recipes in which you use chives.

2. Leeks

Leeks look like large scallions. These are large green-topped onions with a milder flavor of onions, but stronger than chives. In addition, it resembles chives with an almost similar appearance and texture.

In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm. It works great in cold-weather dishes for its wonderful sweet and peppery flavor that warms up your body.

In place of chives, use thinly sliced leeks in salads, stews, and savory dishes. Besides, it’s possible to use this herb instead of chives to garnish your dishes.

Importantly, leeks have a stronger flavor than chives, use them in moderation. If you wish, soak the leeks in iced water for one hour before using them to reduce their strong flavor. Note that Chinese leeks and Chinese chives have thick leaves and mild flavors. If you don’t have them, see also the possibility of using any of the substitutes for leeks in your dish.

3. Shallots

The shallot belongs to the onion family and is typically a botanical variety or cultivar group of the species Allium cepa.

The flavor of shallot is more delicate and less abrasive than that of onion.

Sliced or minced shallots with their mild onion flavor, are excellent for seasoning dishes. In Indian recipes, it’s an indispensable part of stir-fried dishes. Good for adding a pop of sharp acidity to dishes like stews and savories.

Under necessity, they are a worthy substitute for chives. Add them in small quantities to your dishes.

You may also consider garlic scapes as a possible alternative for chives in recipes that call for chives.

4. Ramsons

The dark green Ramsons, also known as bärlauch or wild garlic, are bulbous perennial flowering plants in the amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae. It’s a wild relative of onions.

The herb looks more like tarragon than an onion or chives. The garlicky flavor of ramsons makes this herb a worthy replacement for chives.

Use it in rissoles, salads, soups, stews, pestos, and anything you would normally use garlic or chives in. Add them to your dishes at the end of the cooking process.

For garnishing your dishes, you can use thinly sliced wild garlic leaves in place of chives.

5. Onions

The onions and chives have a similar flavor but not in appearance. In your dishes, you can use them interchangeably.

However, the white part of onion stalks has a stronger onion flavor and is suitable for long cooking. This portion of the onion stalk works best as a base for soups, sauces, and stir-fries.

Use about one tablespoon of chopped onion in place of three tablespoons of chives.

Flowering Chives In The Garden

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use parsley instead of chives?

Instead of chives, you can use fresh or dried parsley for garnishing. Both of them are green veggies, and they have appealing flavors that most of us love. The clean and peppery taste of this leafy herb is different from the onion-like flavor of chives. See also parsley substitute options to use in your cooking.

Can you substitute basil for chives?

The sweet and savory taste of basil with subtle hints of anise, mint, and pepper isn’t a perfect match for the oniony taste of chives. Basil also differs from chives in appearance and uses. For some of the recipes, basil would work well instead of chives for garnishing purposes, though their taste varies.

Can I substitute onion powder for chives?

If you simply need a little onion flavor, you can use onion powder in place of chives. Onion powder works best in cooked dishes, dips, and salad dressings. Also, you can sprinkle onion powder in stews and soups to perk up vegetables and casseroles.

Can I use oregano instead of chives?

Compared to chives, oregano is sweet and spicy, They are also bold and earthy with a slight bitterness reminiscent of camphor. Oregano, both fresh and dried, isn’t a good replacement for onion-like flavored chives. However, you can use oregano for garnishing your dishes just as you do with chives. If taste differences aren’t a concern, oregano can be used in place of chives.

Can you substitute shallots for chives?

Shallots are like onions minus the intense heat. They are mild and delicate, with a sweet flavor. They are mostly used in dishes after sautéing them in oil. Anyway, if your recipe calls for chopped chives, you can use chopped shallots instead. Keep in mind that shallots and chives are very different in texture and color. Half a tablespoon of dried chives is equal to one tablespoon of fresh chives substitute.

Can I use dried chives instead of fresh?

Chives have a very delicate and mild flavor, and when they are dried, a good bit of flavor disappears, as well as the texture. To substitute dried chives for fresh, 1 teaspoon of dried equals one tablespoon of fresh. Use 1 teaspoon of dried chives per 10 fresh chive blades required in your recipe.

The Bottom Line

It’s easy to find a chives substitute as most herbs in the onion family have a similar flavor. Scallions and leeks are my top two alternatives to chives.

By all means, you should choose the replacement ingredients according to the flavor profile and texture of your dish.

For further reading, have a look at the best replacements for epazote and alternatives to cilantro in other articles here.