Substitutes for Leeks

Swap It Out: 11 Best Substitutes for Leeks

Leeks have a gentle onion taste that chefs love using in many dishes. But they’re not usually the first choice when people buy veggies.

They can be quite dirty, so you need to clean them well to get rid of the dirt stuck in between their leaves. Plus, they can be a bit pricey compared to other veggies that taste similar.

You can substitute leeks easily with veggies that have a similar taste. If you’re sick of cleaning them or want to save money, here are * great alternatives to check out.

What are Leeks?

Leeks are a kind of veggie from the Allium family, like onions, garlic, shallots, scallions, and chives. Leeks have a long white part and green leaves. They resemble big green onions. Leeks come in bunches with dark leaves outside. You only eat the white base, the lighter green part, and some of the dark green leaves. Leeks taste like a mix of onion and garlic.

Leeks Alternative

Usually, people throw away the dark green part because it’s tough. But you can cook it by sautéing it, adding it to soups, or making stock. People often use leeks in soups, stews, and other dishes for flavor and nutrients.

Nutrition of leeks

Leeks are a nutritious vegetable, packed with essential vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. In just 100 grams of leeks, you’ll find:

Energy 61 kcal
Protein 1.5 g
Carbohydrate 14.15 g
Fiber 1.8 g
Total Sugars 3.9 g
Calcium 59 mg
Iron 2.1 mg
Magnesium 28 mg
Phosphorus 35 mg
Potassium 180 mg
Sodium 20 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Folate 64 µg
Choline 9.5 mg
Vitamin A 83 µg
Carotene 1000 µg
Lutein + Zeaxanthin 1900 µg
Vitamin K 47 µg

Including leeks in your diet can help you meet your daily nutrient needs and support your overall well-being.

Best Substitutes for Leeks

If leeks are the star ingredient in your dish, picking another vegetable from the allium family will work best. But if leeks are just a supporting player in your recipe, there are other vegetables you can use, especially if you’re concerned about texture. Here’s a list of the top substitutes for leeks. You can find these at any local grocery store, and they’re easy to use in your cooking.

1. Shallots: The Best Leek Substitute

Shallots - Leek Substitute

Shallots are the top choice on this list because they taste the most like leeks. They have a similar gentle onion flavor with a touch of garlic. You can use them in any cooked dish that calls for leeks, such as French onion soup or chicken noodle soup. Just remember to slice the shallots thinly so they cook evenly. With shallots, you can enjoy all your favorite soups and stews without needing leeks.

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

2. Scallions

While leeks may resemble oversized scallions, they have slightly different flavors. However, you can easily swap them in cooked and raw dishes. Scallions have a sharper taste, almost like pepper and spice. On the other hand, leeks taste more oniony but develop a garlicky flavor when cooked.

There’s also a big difference in how you cook each vegetable. Leeks are great for braising, sautéing, and baking. Scallions excel when they’re grilled, incorporated into stir-fries, or included in salads.

3. Celery: Another Great Leek Substitute

Celery is a fantastic alternative to leeks and is usually affordable and easy to find all year round. It shares a similar flavor profile with leeks and adds a comparable texture to dishes. While celery stalks are mild in taste, the leaves are a bit stronger.

Celery - Substitutes for Leeks

If you’re using celery leaves, add them towards the end of the cooking process to maintain their fresh flavor. Depending on whether you need cooked depth of flavor or just some added volume in your recipe, use your judgment when deciding how much celery to use. As a general guideline, use about ½ to 1 cup of celery for every cup of leeks.

4. Ramps: A Fantastic Leek Substitute

Ramps, also called wild spring onions or wild leeks, are part of the leek and shallot family. They’re a great alternative to leeks. They’re smaller and more delicate than scallions, with flat, broad leaves.

Ramps taste stronger than leeks and have a more garlicky flavor than scallions. They’re hard to find, but if you spot them in your vegetable orders, they’re worth trying. You can roast, grill, sauté, or use them raw in salads or pesto. Use ramps just like you would leeks or spring onions in your recipes.

5. Garlic

Leeks are in the same family as onions and garlic but are milder in taste. Using garlic instead of leeks will give your dish a deeper flavor. However, because garlic is more potent than leeks, it’s best to use it sparingly as a substitute.

6. Green Garlic 

Green garlic is baby garlic pulled out to thin crops. It’s milder than mature garlic and is a good replacement for leeks. Finding green garlic can be tricky, but it’s becoming more popular as its crop. When using green garlic instead of leeks, use about ¼ cup for every one cup of leeks.

7. Chives

Chives, delicate and vibrant green herbs, can fantastically substitute leeks for adding a hint of onion-like flavor to your dishes. These slender herbs have a mild but noticeable taste, much like leeks, but with an herbaceous twist. They’re perfect for enhancing soups, salads, and dishes as a garnish. Their vibrant green color also brings a fresh touch to any meal.

8. Onions 

Onions are a common kitchen ingredient and work well as a substitute for leeks. They’re great for dishes with long cooking times or where leeks are the main focus. Onions have a round shape with a papery skin that needs peeling. Onions have a similar texture to leeks but a slightly stronger taste, which adds depth to dishes like soups, stews, and stir-fries.

For the best results, you can choose sweet or red onions for a milder flavor and yellow or white onions for a strong taste. It’s essential to note that raw onions tend to have a much stronger flavor, making them best suited for cooked recipes. Use ¾ cup of regular onions to substitute for one cup of leeks.

9. Fennel 

Fennel - Leek Alternative

Fennel has a sweet, mild taste and a texture similar to leeks. While it may not perfectly replace leeks in every recipe, its licorice-like taste complements fish, chicken, and pork. You can thinly slice fennel and sauté it, add it to roasted veggies, or include it in stews. When cooked, fennel’s distinct flavor and crunch turn into a softer texture, somewhat like cooked leeks. Substitute it using ½ to 1 cup for every cup of leeks.

10. Garlic Or Onion Powder

If you only need the flavor of leeks and not their texture, garlic or onion powder can be a great option. Just a little bit of these seasonings goes a long way. Use one teaspoon of garlic or onion powder to add leek flavor to your cooked dishes, like stews and soups. However, it’s best not to use these powders in dishes that won’t be cooked.

11. Bok Choy

Bok choy - Leek alternative

Bok choy, also known as pak choi, is a kind of Chinese cabbage. You can eat both its leaves and stalks, and they’re tasty with subtle flavors. Bok choy has a fresh, grassy taste and a crunchy texture. However, it becomes very tender when steamed or sautéed. While it’s not as strong as leeks in flavor, bok choy can still be a great substitute in stir-fries, rice dishes, curries, and other recipes.

Why Use Leek Substitutes

  1. Availability: Leeks have a unique flavor and texture, but they can be hard to find, especially when out of season. That’s where substitutes like onions, scallions, shallots, or chives come in handy. They offer a similar depth of flavor, ensuring you can still enjoy delicious meals year-round without worrying about leek’s availability.
  2. Allergies: Some people may have allergies or sensitivities to leeks, causing unwanted reactions like skin rashes or digestive issues. Substitutes provide tasty alternatives without the risk of adverse reactions.
  3. Flavor and Texture: Options like onions, scallions, shallots, or chives mimic the taste and texture of leeks in dishes, offering versatility in culinary creations.
  4. Cost: Leeks can be expensive, but substitutes like onions, scallions, and shallots are budget-friendly options that still deliver delicious flavor. Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for a more economical choice, these alternatives have you covered.


Which substitutes taste closest to fresh leeks? 

Among all the alternatives, vegetables from the onion family have the most similar taste and texture to leeks. Ramps, spring onions, shallots, and sweet onions are the top choices to use instead of leeks in your recipe.

Which vegetables resemble leeks the most? 

In terms of appearance, ramps closely resemble leeks. Ramps share a similar long, thin shape and pale green color, and can be thinly sliced to imitate leeks.

What can you do with leek tops? 

The darker green parts of leeks are tough to eat or cook. If you want to use them, it’s better to make stock.

Can you eat leeks raw? 

Yes, you can! The white and light green parts of leeks are edible. They taste sweeter and milder than onions. You can use raw leeks in any salad recipe or dish that typically calls for raw onions.

See Also – 8 Best Scallion Substitutes


Leeks are tasty and healthy veggies, perfect for various dishes. If you can’t find leeks, no worries! There are plenty of substitutes available. Just pick one from the list above, and you’re good to go for your recipe.

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