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The Best Substitutes for Chives

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If you're wondering what to substitute for chives, we've got 11 great ideas for you!

Chives are a sensational herb that's part of the onion family. They taste great and look gorgeous as garnish, but sometimes they can be hard to find at the grocery store.

Chives are in season from spring to autumn and are typically sold in plastic clamshell containers in the produce section. Whether you are looking for them out-of-season or they just aren't available,

Fresh chives have an onion-like flavor with a hint of garlic. The substitution ideas listed below all contain one or both of these flavors. Some are almost perfect substitutes and some I'd only recommend under certain circumstances (check each item for specific notes on recommended usage).

Here are the best chive substitutes!

Several sprigs of chives.
A small handful of chives.

Chive Substition Ideas

If a recipe calls for fresh chives and you don't have any on hand, don't worry, there are lots of possible substitutions to make! Which great option will you try?

A bunch of scallions.

1. Scallions/Green Onions

Scallions (also called green onions) are one of the best substitutes for chives because they are available at almost every grocery store. When you aren't able to find chives, you'll probably still be able to find scallions.

Scallion greens have a very similar delicate flavor to chives and can be used in the same way. The white parts you may want to cook and not use raw as they have a stronger onion flavor.

A spring onion.

2. Spring Onions

Spring onions are the same plant as green onions, they are just older and have a slightly more developed base/bulb. They taste similar flavor profile to green onions and chives, but the white bulb has a stronger oniony flavor and should be cooked.

The green stems of a spring onion can be used exactly like fresh chives.

A bunch of garlic chives.

3. Garlic Chives

Garlic chives are a delicious and special herb. Also called Chinese chives and Chinese leeks, these chive-like shoots taste both oniony and garlicky.

They are a good substitute for chives and can be used the exact same way you would use regular chives.

They are great when raw in potato salad, sprinkled on a potato with sour cream, in dips, on seafood, and more!

A knob onion.

4. Knob Onions

Knob onions are immature onions, picked before the larger onion forms. Their flavor is in between a scallion and a regular onion. They have a little sharpness but are better raw than a regular yellow or white onion.

Knob onions are delicious when cooked, and the greens can be sliced and used in place of chives.

A bunch of green garlic.

5. Green Garlic

Green garlic is an immature garlic plant, picked before the bulb can form. They have a wonderful strong garlic flavor, and like chives pack a punch of flavor.

Thinly slice and dice them and use them exactly like you would use fresh chives.

A jar of dried chives.

6. Dried Chives

Dried chives are a wonderful substitute for fresh chives, especially if you are using them in a recipe like a soup or a sauce. They are easy to reconstitute with a little moisture and obviously have the exact flavor of chives.

Because of their crunchy texture, I recommend either soaking them in water before use or using them in a wetter dish so they soften if you want them to have the texture of chives.

I like to use them in salad dressings and spice blends. Dried chives are great to have on hand because they save well in the pantry for several months. Like most dried herbs they are extremely helpful when fresh herbs aren't available.

A bunch of ramps.

7. Ramps

Ramps are a special spring allium, also called wild garlic and wild onion, that can typically be found foraging or at farmer's markets.

They have a delicious onion and garlic flavor. The stems can be finely chopped, like chives, and used either fresh or cooked.

Ramps obviously won't work as a substitute year-round for chives, as their growing season is from late April to early June.

A large leek.

8. Leeks

Leeks might seem like an unusual substitute for chives, but the white and light green parts have a milder flavor when cooked, which is similar to chives.

You could use a leek in a dish like an omelet, pasta, or soup.

A bunch of garlic scapes.

9. Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are another fun seasonal treat - they are usually available in early summer and can be found at farmer's markets. Or you can grow your own if you plant your own garlic

Scapes have a unique flavor and are best when cooked and can be diced and sauteed or cooked and used in a similar way to chives.

A yellow onion.

10. Yellow Onion

If you can't find or don't have any of the above substitutes for chives, you can use yellow onions. They aren't the best substitute but they have a delicious mild onion flavor.

I highly recommend only using them in cooked dishes. I would not use them as a substitute in a dish that calls for raw chives.

A white onion.

11. White Onion 

In a pinch, a white onion can be a substitute for chives. It has a strong, sharp onion flavor and is readily available in almost every grocery store.

White onion has a stronger flavor than chives and is only a good substitute when cooked. I recommend using them in baked goods, soups, stews, and casseroles.