What are Onion Flakes? (with pictures)

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Onion flakes are pieces of onions which have been chopped and then dehydrated. They can be used as an onion replacement in various recipes, and they are especially useful for people who are camping, as they are lightweight and easy to handle.

Onions are chopped and then dried to make onion flakes.
Onions are chopped and then dried to make onion flakes.

To make onion flakes, onions are simply chopped and then allowed to dry, either in the sun, in a dehydrator, or in an oven on a low setting. As the onions dry out, they shrink dramatically, and the pieces do indeed look like flakes once the drying process is finished. The dry flakes can be stored in an airtight container for six months to a year before use, and they can be used to replace regular onions in recipes, or they made be added to dressings, soups, marinades, and rubs.

Onion flakes can be made from red onions.
Onion flakes can be made from red onions.

As you might imagine, onions do lose some of their flavor and pungency when they are dried to make onion flakes. As a result, they do not make a perfect substitute for fresh onions, but they are acceptable in many dishes. Generally, around a tablespoon of flakes can be used to replace each small onion called for in a recipe, and you can also add onion powder, if you want a bit more flavor.

Onion flakes can be made from yellow, white, or red onions, harnessing the distinctive flavors of all these varieties. You can also find them toasted, made with exotic onion varieties, or mixed in with other spices to create distinctive blends. You can also try your hand at making them at home, experimenting with onion varieties you like.

Like other spices, onion flakes will keep best when they are handled properly. Handling spices well is essential, because it helps them keep their flavor, ensuring that the amounts called for in recipes will be adequate. The flakes should be stored in a dark, cool, dry place, and they should not be exposed to moisture. When you need some for a recipe, use a spoon to measure the desired amount and add it in, rather than shaking the container over a cooking dish, as the steam from the dish can ruin the onion flakes in the container.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon169043

another useful and good way to use onion flakes is to save onions when you don't need a whole one, and no leftovers in the fridge.

Planch

If you want a nice, quick housewarming gift, some dried onion flakes mixed with another spice, like cumin seed or chili flakes, can be really good, especially if you put it in a nice bag with a ribbon.

This is one of those great gifts that look like they take a lot more effort than they do, and people really appreciate it when you take the time to put something like that together.

Charlie89

I camp a lot, and I can honestly say I don't know what I would do without my dehydrated onion and ginger flakes. Those things are great for when you want an easy way to give your food some more flavor.

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    • Onions are chopped and then dried to make onion flakes.
      Onions are chopped and then dried to make onion flakes.
    • Onion flakes can be made from red onions.
      Onion flakes can be made from red onions.