Onion powder and onion salt both make it easy to add the flavor onion to dishes. A dash of one or the other can turn a bland dish into something flavorful and enjoyable. Both spices are affordable and easy to find in addition to being widely available. Aside from their obvious similarities, are there any important differences? Can you use them in the same dishes? We will provide some answers below in this installment of SPICEography Showdown.
Do onion powder and onion salt differ in flavor?
Yes, they do. This is mainly because of the addition of the salt in onion salt. Onion salt is a mixture of onion powder and salt along with an anti-caking agent that keeps it from clumping. This means that onion salt has the same onion flavor as onion powder, just diluted with salt. Onion powder is the best option if you want to be able to control how much of each spice you are adding to your dish, whereas onion salt is better if you want the convenience of adding two flavors at once.
Can you use onion salt in place of onion powder and vice versa?
It is easy to use onion powder in place of onion salt since all you have to do is add salt to it to make your own onion salt blend. It is not quite as easy to use onion salt as a substitute for onion powder. The fact that it already has the salt blended in means that you cannot use it to increase the onion flavor in your dish without also increasing the amount of salt. The ratio of onion to salt is fixed so it will not be ideal if you want the dish to have a strong onion flavor; instead, use it to add salt and a mild onion accent.
Which is better for you, onion powder or onion salt?
The answer is onion powder, simply because it has no salt. Salt is believed to cause a variety of health issues, with high blood pressure being the best-known one. Excessive salt consumption has been linked to heart disease along with stroke and has even been linked to an increased stomach cancer risk.
Which dishes are a better fit for onion powder and which are a better fit for onion salt?
Like garlic powder, onion powder is best used when you need to flavor food quickly. You get to add a dash of onion flavor to a dish that you feel “needs something.” Its main benefit is convenience since you are able to get onion flavor without the hassle of peeling and grating or chopping an onion. It is also versatile since you can use it in dishes where the pieces of chopped or grated onion are not desirable. Use it in spice blends where the onion flavor is desirable but the moisture and consistency of fresh onion are not. Examples include burger patties and sauces.
Onion salt offers convenience as well, but not as much onion flavor. Its benefit is that it enables you to add salt with a hint of onion, thus giving you a seasoning option that is more flavorful than plain table salt. Use it as a finishing salt on fries or steamed vegetables.