Is Onion Salt the Same as Onion Powder? (The Ultimate GUIDE!)

image of onion salt vs powder

In summary: While both onion salt and onion powder share the flavor of onions. Onion salt: onion flavor with a salty twist. Onion powder: pure onion magic!

When you gather ingredients to prepare a meal, onion is the first vegetable diced up and added to the pot.  

As it starts to cook, the distinct aroma wafts through your home, awakening your family’s senses, knowing dinner is coming.

Of course, freshly diced onion brings a full and robust taste to your meal. Yet, dehydrated derivatives of onion, such as onion salt and onion powder, align well with the flavor-burst you require.  

So, when deciding which dry onion alternative to use, is onion salt the same as onion powder? Will your choice complement the ingredients and offer a similar full-bodied flavor?

Let’s unveil the mystery of these two flavorsome products, understand their differences, value for money, and which is best for your dish.

Onion Salt vs Onion Powder

Let’s start by understanding onion salt.

img of Onion Salt

What’s Onion Salt Exactly?

It is a simple yet flavorful blend of onion powder and table salt. The ratio typically ranges from 3 to 5 parts salt to 1 part onion powder, depending on the brand.

Additionally, several onion salt brands include an anti-caking agent called Sodium Silicate Aluminate (E554). 

This additive prevents clumping and contributes to color, flavor, texture, and shelf life. It’s important to note that Sodium Silicate Aluminate is FDA-approved for safe food consumption.

Now, let’s explore onion powder’s culinary secrets.

img of Onion Powder

What’s Onion Powder Exactly?  

Onion powder is onion flesh that undergoes a food-drying process. The result is delicate, crunchy, and flavorful onion flakes.  

Then, the ground flakes produce a fine powder using a food processor, mortar and pestle. 

Some varieties use toasted onions, while others contain white, yellow, or purple onions. Certainly, each option brings a distinct taste to suit several palates.

In some cases, this powder contains dried onion skin and roots. It plays a significant role in seasoning and spice mixes, such as beau monde seasoning, a classic blend of onion, celery, and garlic powder.  

As with onion salt, onion powder contains the same anti-caking agent, Sodium Silicate Aluminate, used for the same purposes. 

That said, we understand specific diets try to avoid ingredients with additives. 

Keep reading to discover an excellent method to make your additive-free option!

img of Differences between Onion Salt and Onion Powder

Differences between Onion Salt and Onion Powder

Here is a table showcasing the essential differences between onion salt and onion powder, as well as culinary applications:

Onion Salt Onion Powder
Sodium content:  Approximately 380mg in a ¼ teaspoon (1.25ml), depending on the brand Approximately 5mg in a ¼ teaspoon (1.25ml), depending on the brand.
Additives:  Contains Sodium Silicate Aluminate, an anti-caking agent to prevent clumping.
Learn more about Sodium Silicate Aluminate here.
Contains Sodium Silicate Aluminate, an anti-caking agent to prevent clumping.
Flavor Profile:Diluted onion flavor with varying levels of added saltiness across different brands.Concentrated onion flavor with a slightly nutty and sweet undertone may vary based on the onion used in production.
Texture and appearance: Grainy salt texture with a creamy-white hue. Some types may include onion flakes, providing a pleasant crunch. Fine powder with a pale golden/tan hue.
How to Use:Use onion salt as you would regular salt for:
Browning meat
Grilling fish
Roasting chicken and vegetables
Enhancing dips and marinades
The perfect condiment sprinkle
Rubs
How can you elevate the flavors of your soups, stews, and sauces? 
Enter onion powder, the secret weapon of seasoned chefs. 
A sprinkle of onion powder can transform a simple vegetable soup into a savory masterpiece or turn a basic marinara sauce into a rich and aromatic delight. 
Next time you’re in the kitchen, try adding a dash of onion powder to your favorite recipes and savor the depth of flavors it brings.

Factors Influencing Your Choice

Nutritional Value 

First, let’s consider the nutritional value. In general, onion powder offers higher percentages of vitamins and minerals as it is a concentrated seasoning powder.

In comparison to onion salt, the nutritional value is present. Yet, slightly lower with the salt ingredient diluting the onion powder contents.

Want to learn more about the nutritional facts of each product? Check out the following links.

Sodium Restrictions

Secondly, dietary sodium restrictions impact your choice. Should you follow a low-sodium diet, we suggest you opt for onion powder, given its far lower sodium content.  

Bear in mind onion powder is better suited as a cooking ingredient. If you want to enjoy onion powder as a condiment, try this:

Mix 1 teaspoon (5ml) of salt with 3-4 teaspoons (15ml – 20ml) of onion powder.  

This method ensures the sodium content is considerably less than store-bought onion salt.

Are you curious about the impact salt has on our health? If so, have a look here.

Taste Preferences

Of course, we all experience robust flavor ingredients and saltiness differently.  

In other words, you have the freedom to explore a more salty meal with a milder onion taste or a more intense onion flavor with less saltiness.  

It’s all about tuning into your meal and creating a dish to satisfy your tastebuds alongside sodium sensitivities.  

Almost time to reveal the additive-free option!

Common Misconceptions

Are onion salt and onion powder interchangeable?  

Let’s clarify.

The critical element to consider is the salt ingredient. You can use both when cooking.  

However, if you choose onion salt, we recommend you adjust or remove the salt in the recipe. Using onion powder, you can add the salt as indicated.

In short, deciding on what flavor intensity and salt quantity you prefer plays a huge factor.  

Useful Storage and Shelf Life Tips

Here are the proper storage techniques for onion salt and onion powder. 

Store-bought options come in air-tight plastic or glass containers with a protective seal. When you remove the seal, ensure the cap or lid is secured.  

Some varieties offer an easy-flow or sprinkle opening. When you have measured what you need or seasoned your meal, turn the lid to the sealed option. 

Limiting air exposure prevents quicker clumping and better retains the flavor and potency.  

Now for the shelf life of each product.

Luckily, they have a shelf life of about 3 – 4 years when stored in a cool and dry place with minimal air exposure.  

Cost Considerations

For our cost comparison, we have chosen the famous McCormick ® brand.

McCormick ® Onion SaltMcCormick ® Onion Powder
Walmart:  5.12 oz is $3.74Walmart:  4.5 oz is $15.16 
Amazon:  5.12 oz is $8.81Amazon:  4.5 oz is $6.99 (Best Seller)

Kindly note: The above costs are based on findings dated 11 July 2023.

So, here’s the better deal. Onion salt is a better value-for-money product due to the salt minimizing the onion powder content.  

When purchasing onion powder, you can expect to pay more as it is a concentrated seasoning product.  

Recipe Modifications

To create the perfect balance of salt content and onion flavor in your recipes, it’s important to adapt them accordingly when using onion salt and onion powder. So, how should you do this?

Follow our easy ratio table below as a guide:

Onion Salt RatioOnion Powder Ratio
Fresh onion substitution: For 1 small to medium white or yellow onion, use 2 teaspoons (10ml) of onion salt.Remove any additional salt from the recipe, as onion salt already contains salt.For 1 small to medium white or yellow onion, use 1 tablespoon (15ml) of onion powder.You can add the indicated salt amount from the recipe, as onion powder does not contain salt.

Do you want to know how to make an additive-free onion salt and onion powder?  Let us show you how.

Additive-free Onion Salt and Onion Powder Recipe

This easy and flavorful onion powder recipe uses fresh onions dehydrated in the oven. The result is super crispy onion flakes, then ground into a fine powder.

There you have it, fresh and additive-free onion powder. 

  • To make onion salt, mix 3 – 4  teaspoons (15ml – 20ml) of salt with 1 teaspoon (5ml) of onion powder. 
  • Keep your homemade onion salt and powder in air-tight containers in a cool and dry place.  

Pro Tip:  using the same 3:1 ratio above, mix coarse salt and the onion flakes in a salt grinder—a delicious condiment to keep on your table.  

Summary and Key Takeaways

Let’s recap the essential differences between onion salt and onion powder.  

  • Flavor profile
  • Sodium content to suit dietary requirements
  • How to use each product 
  • Balancing the salt and onion taste to complement your dish
  • Use the ratio guide when substituting fresh onion
  • Which product is better value for money

I vividly remember a family barbecue I hosted last summer. As I prepared the marinade for the grilled chicken, I reached for my trusty onion salt. With each sprinkle, the flavors of the chicken seemed to come alive. The result? Tender, succulent pieces of meat with a delightful onion-infused taste that had everyone going back for seconds. That day, I realized the magic a simple ingredient like onion salt can bring to a dish, turning an ordinary gathering into a memorable feast.

Sarah from Cooking With Me

Final Onion Thoughts

So, is onion salt the same as onion powder? As revealed by the differences, these products may be interchangeable to a certain degree. 

If you love salt, then opt for onion salt. Should your meal need that extra onion boost, opt for onion powder.

But don’t take our word for it. Try these flavorsome seasonings, and let us know how your meal turned out!  

Which one do you prefer?

Onion Salt X

Onion Powder X

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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