Best Substitute for Chives
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Chives are loved for their mild, oniony flavor and crisp texture. If you’re preparing a recipe that uses fresh chives, substitution options may not be immediately apparent. They offer a unique flavor profile that differs from other ingredients in the same family.
To help you find a good substitute for chives in cooking, I’ve compiled a list of substitutions you can use. Since chives are used in a variety of different recipes, some of these substitutions may not work in all cases. Where needed, clarification on how to use the substitutions is provided.
What are Chives?
Chives are a species of flowering plants that have edible leaves and flowers. They are closely related to onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, Chinese onions, and scallions. The long green stems of the plant are often cut into small pieces and used in recipes.
They have a mild, onion-like flavor and bright green color, making them a popular choice of garnish. However, they can also be used in other recipes like dips, soups, and dressings. They are also popular in potato-based dishes. The flavor of chives makes them popular for use in savory dishes.
7 Substitutes for Chives
If you need a good substitute for chives in cooking, use one of the seven options below.
- Dried Chives
If a recipe calls for one tablespoon of fresh chives, you can use one teaspoon of dried chives as a substitute. However, dried chives often lose a lot of their flavor. If you need the strong flavor of fresh chives, another substitute may be better.
Because shallots are related to chives, they make a great substitution. Chives often have a more delicate flavor, so it’s important to use only about two-thirds the volume of shallots. Shallots will have a stronger onion taste than chives.
- Scallions (Green Onion)
Scallion greens are a great option if you need a substitute for chives in a recipe. The dark green portion of scallions often tastes very similar to chives. Scallions make a good 1:1 substitution for chives in recipes. Because they’re so similar to chives, they may also work as a garnish on dishes that call for a chive garnish.
Leeks are another option in the same family as chives. However, leeks have a wider stalk and a sharper flavor than many of the other options. To prevent leeks from overpowering a dish, you should soak them for an hour in ice water before use.
To use leeks as a substitute for chives, chop them into smaller pieces. This will give you a similar texture to chives, which is especially important if they’re being used as a garnish. In cooked recipes, use half the amount of leeks as you would chives and increase the amount as needed for flavor.
- Barlauch (Wild Garlic)
These greens can help you emulate the subtle garlicky flavor of chives. However, barlauch will not give you the same onion-like flavor. If your recipe depends on the onion flavor of chives, wild garlic will not be a good substitute.
In most recipes, wild garlic works as a 1:1 substitution for chives. When used as a garnish, cut the wild garlic into small pieces to imitate the size and texture of cut chives.
Parsley is a good substitute for chives, especially in recipes that call for a small garnish. If you’re using it to garnish fish, eggs, or potatoes, parsley can be a good stand-in for chives. However, parsley as a more bitter, sweet, and citrusy flavor than chives.
Parsley should only be added at the end of the cooking process. When cooked too long, it can become bitter and mushy. Since it often pairs well with other ingredients used in recipes containing chives, parsley makes a good 1:1 substitution.
- Leave it out
Chives can be a hard ingredient to replace in recipes because they have a delicate, onion-like flavor. Other members of the chive family can offer substitutes in a pinch, but in some cases it may be better to leave the ingredient out entirely.