17 Best Substitutes for Pearl Onions in Your Favorite Soup Recipe

Pearl onions are a kind of tiny onion that got its name from their gleaming beauty. Pearl onions, on the other hand, are not usually white like pearls, but may also be red or brown.

Soups and sauces, as well as gratins, casseroles, salads, spaghetti, roasted meats, and a variety of other foods, often employ them. They may also be fermented or blended into beverages. Because of their delicate, sweet taste, they are a versatile element in the cuisine.

Pearl onions are not widely accessible and might be difficult to locate at times. Here are some of the greatest replacements for pearl onions that you can readily acquire and use at home.

  1. Frozen Pearl Onions
  2. Canned Pearl Onions
  3. Shallots
  4. Brown Onions
  5. White Onions
  6. Red Onions
  7. Leeks

Aside from the options listed above, there are a few pearl onion substitutes that taste quite similar.

As a consequence, it’s a good idea to figure out which ones are excellent enough for you to get almost identical outcomes.

16 Best Substitute For Pearl Onions


Because of their somewhat sweet taste, pearl onions are less acidic than other forms of onions.

This is why pearl onions are often used to treat fungal infections, lung infections, stomach infections, and other diseases.

Shallots and white onions are two of their greatest culinary replacements. Of course, it’s great if you can get your hands on frozen or canned pearl onions to obtain the closest flavor.

Frozen Pearl Onions

When fresh pearl onions are unavailable, frozen pearl onions are a practical substitute. They are more convenient to have on hand than fresh ones since they can be found in the frozen vegetables and fruits department of most grocery shops and supermarkets.

They are not only widely accessible, but also simple to use. There is no need to thaw or peel. All you have to do is throw them in the pan with the other ingredients.

Pearl onions are best served frozen in soups, stews, and casseroles. You may, however, use them in salads if you choose. Simply let them defrost at room temperature before serving.

Canned Pearl Onions

Canned pearl onions, like frozen pearl onions, are available at grocery shops and supermarkets. These are a great replacement for fresh pearl onions, particularly if you’re usually on the move or don’t have time to go to the market.

Canned pearl onions also last longer since they may include preservatives. As a result, you should use caution when adding them to your cuisine since they may be highly salty.


Shallots are the most similar component to onions in terms of flavor and scent, making them one of the finest substitutions if pearl onions are unavailable.

Fresh shallots have a delicate, sweet, and somewhat crunchy taste. They work well in vinaigrette dressings, sauces, soups, and stews because they carry a flavor punch.

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Pearl onions have a sweeter flavor than shallots. So, to balance out the tastes, consider adding a little sugar and vinegar to some of your meals.

Brown Onions

Brown onions are the common onions seen in markets and grocery shops. Because of its crisp white flesh and papery brown exterior, it has a unique, well-rounded onion taste that is appropriate for a wide range of culinary applications.

To bring out the sweetness of brown onion, which is generally too pungent to eat fresh, sauté it over medium to medium-high heat.

Actually, when brown onions are sautéed, they release a hidden flavor. Their taste ranges from spicy, pungent, and savory to moderately sweet, making them a genuine pearl onion substitute.

White Onions

White onions are an excellent substitute for pearl onions, not only because they are comparable in color, but also because they have a similar taste profile.

White onions are aromatic and crisp. However, when cooked and combined with other spices, they become quite sweet, similar to pearl onions.

White onions are edible both raw and cooked. They taste best in soups, salads, roasted meats, vegetables, stir-fries, and even sauces.

Red Onions

When compared to pearl onions, red onions are larger and may have a distinct form. If you don’t need these two things, chopped red onions may help you replicate the flavor of pearl onions in your recipe.

Furthermore, the bright hues of red onions will make your meal more attractive. Red onions may be a touch pungent and peppery while fresh, but when cooked, they bring out a sense of sweetness that is quite similar to pearl onions.


In terms of taste, leeks are comparable to onions. The white component is incredibly light, crisp, and aromatic when it is fresh. However, cooking brings out the rush of freshness, sweetness, and tang.

When leeks are warmed, they resemble yellow onions, making them an excellent alternative for pearl onions. They taste finest in soups, stocks, and stews, and they may also be sprinkled on top of certain foods.

With its delicate and sweet oniony taste, leeks are linked to pearl onions. They are also derived from the same cultivar as pearl onions.

Despite their diverse appearances, they have the same taste. And since pearl onions and leeks are related and have a similar flavor, you may simply substitute them in recipes that call for pearl onions.

Green Onions

Green onions, commonly known as scallions, are an excellent replacement for pearl onions. Green onions have a light, crisp taste that complements almost every dish. Finely chopped green onions may enhance salads, soups, sauces, grilled or fried meals.

Green onions are botanically related to pearl onions. The sole distinction is that scallion bulbs are not completely formed whereas pearl onion bulbs are.

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Green onion has a milder taste and a fragrance that is almost comparable to shallots, so it’s no surprise that they’re related. The scallions’ green leaves may be eaten raw or cooked. It’s also one of the onion family’s most adaptable veggies.

Cocktail Onions

Cocktail onions are simply brined and pickled onions with seasonings. They have a slight sweetness that helps to balance out the strong tastes of a meal.

Cocktail onions contain more water than pearl onions, therefore they may have a milder taste and a softer texture. However, in terms of taste, it is comparable to pearl onions.

Cocktail onions go well with salads, bread, and cocktails. Just be careful to cook them in a few minutes over low heat since they melt quicker than conventional onions.

Supasweet Onions


Supasweet onions are a fantastic alternative if you are sensitive to onions or want a softer taste. As the name suggests, Supasweet Onions are noted for their mild and sweet fragrant aromas.

Fresh onions may be used in salads and sandwiches. They’re not as pungent as regular onions, so you may consume them even if your stomach is sensitive.

Another benefit of this sort of onion is that it does not cause nearly as much crying as brown onions do because to its mild, mostly sweet fragrance.

If the acidity of onions bothers you, you may use this excellent replacement in any meal that asks for pearl onions.


Cipollini onions are round and flat onions with a strong onion taste and a little sweetness. When cooking, it may be divided in half or utilized whole and presented on dishes.

Cipollini is extremely sweet and delicate when cooked when compared to shallots and pearl onions. It is the greatest onion to use for slow-cooked recipes due to its high sugar content, which is ideal for caramelization.

To add texture and taste to an Italian meal like lasagna, consider topping it with chopped Cipollini onions.


The Caperberry is derived from a shrub that is similar to Capers, but it is allowed to grow into a fruit. Caperberries varies in appearance, even though they may be the same size and color.

While pearl onions have an unattractive stone that should be removed, the Caperberry has a plethora of little seeds that are critical to its existence.

Caperberries have a strong, peppery, and salty taste that is comparable to but not identical to pearl onions. However, if you’re searching for anything that will suffice for your recipe, this is a wonderful option.

Caperberries are caper plant fruits that are pickled together with the stalks. These berries have a taste that is comparable to capers, either strong or moderate. They are also used as a garnish and in cooking. Caperberries are great when roasted, pan-fried, or fried.

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Boiling Onions

White onions that are twice the size of pearl onions are known as boiling onions. When uncooked, they have a strong and peppery taste. However, when cooked, the harshness is reduced and the taste becomes softer and sweeter.

Dry roasting, roasting, and slow cooking all benefit from boiling onions. They are often cooked whole and may be used in casseroles, alongside roasts, in pureed meals, soups, stews, stocks, fried delicacies, or on the grill.


Chives and green onions may seem different, but they taste similar. Chives are little green vegetables with onion and garlic flavors.

They don’t have a very unpleasant taste, but when added in certain dishes, they provide a significant kick that enhances the entire flavor of the food.

Chives are aesthetically pleasing as well because of their vivid green hue. However, chives may not be the best option if you want your food to appear like pearl onions. As a consequence, you should go with the white selections.

Fennel Bulbs

Fennel bulbs, often known as sweet anise, have a licorice-like taste. It is a popular vegetable across Europe, especially in Italy and France. It should not, however, be confused with plant anise, which is grown for its flavoring seeds.

Like dill, the feathery branches that grow above the bulb of fennel may be used as a herb to flavor soups and stews. Fresh, thinly sliced in salads, or sliced and cooked, the huge bulbous base is consumed.

The fennel bulb has a sweet, fragrant, and anise-like taste and resembles the base of a bunch of celery. Unlike pearl onions, though, fennel adds a fresh, crisp spring taste to foods rather than a licorice flavor.


Celery is a plant that grows in marshes and has been utilized as a food source for generations.

If you like greens, you should keep some celery roots on hand. Celery root has a similar texture to celery but cooks faster. If you have a recipe that asks for pearl onions and don’t mind a little different taste, substitute celery root.

If you simply need a little taste without the sweetness, go right for the carrot or celery stem. Add simply a pinch of spice to ensure that the resulting flavor is to your liking.


You may be wondering why carrots are on the list, but this veggie pairs nicely with a variety of cuisines. They may be eaten raw or cooked and will still taste delicious.

Carrots have a crisp texture, a smooth texture, and a mild sweetness in taste. They may be orange, as opposed to pearl onions, but they may provide a particular taste to the meal you are preparing. Carrots are very high in vitamins and minerals!

Carrots and onions go well together in soups, stews, stocks, and even stir-fried dishes. If pearl onions are not available, carrots may be substituted and still perform well in your recipe.


What is a good substitute for pearl onions?

10 Fantastic Pearl Onion Substitutes
Pearl Onions, Frozen. Seriouseats.com provided the image.
Onions in white. Pearl onions are a common element in French cuisine that lends sweetness and flavor to meals.
Onions for a cocktail.
Onions Cipollini.
Onions in green.

What can I substitute for pearl onions in beef bourguignon?

If you can’t obtain pearl onions or another little kind, small shallots will suffice. Carrots are also popular; the baby kind preferred by Eastwood and Roux makes the most visually appealing garnish, but regular sized ones, chopped into big slices, serve just as well in the flavor area.

What can I use instead of onion in soup?

What is the finest onion substitute? Shallots! Shallots are a kind of tiny onion that has a delicate, mild taste. As a substitution, the taste works quite well.

Are cocktail onions and pearl onions the same?

A cocktail onion is often a pearl onion pickled in brine with turmeric and paprika. Pearl onions are often used because of their inherent sweetness, although other sweet onions, such as the crystal wax, sometimes known as the white Bermuda, are also occasionally used.

Are pearl onions just small onions?

Pearl onions (Allium cepa), often known as baby onions or creamers, are miniature kinds of bulb onions. They’re round, like the conventional white or yellow onion you’d get at the grocery store, but considerably smaller, ranging from a quarter of an inch to a half-inch in diameter.

What’s the difference between pearl onions and white onions?

Baby onions, often known as pearl onions, are little and somewhat sweeter than white onions. They’re fantastic for stuffing into pot pies or skewering. Because you can devour the entire thing in one bite, they offer a burst of juicy onion flavor.

What onion is best for soups and stews?

Yellow onions work well in stews, soups, barbecues, roasts, and sauces. Because they have a strong flavor, avoid eating them uncooked. For a delightful onion-filled dinner, try this slow-cooker French onion soup recipe.

Do pearl onions taste different than regular onions?

Onions Pearls

What They Look Like: These adorable onions resemble conventional onions but are the size of a jawbreaker. They have a much softer and sweeter flavor than huge bulb onions.

Can shallots replace pearl onions?

If the recipe calls for chopped shallots or cooking them peeled and whole (as in Thai cuisine), pearl onions are an excellent replacement. The taste will be different, and you may need to add a little more garlic to the dish, but it’s a decent substitute.

How can I add flavor without onions?

Herbs and spices may be substituted.
Peppercorns, whether white, pink, or Szechuan, may bring a variety of tastes to your food.
Cumin’s unique flavor may complement certain dishes, particularly those that use raw garlic.
Horseradish, freshly grated, may supplement the pungent aromas that might otherwise be lacking.

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