I love replacing the processed stuff from the store with homemade, organic, I-know-what’s-in-it stuff. Today I made my own homemade onion powder. Come on in and I’ll show you how I did it. It’s easy!
When good onions go bad the only responsible thing to do is stage an intervention!
“And what, exactly, is an onion intervention”, you say?
I’m so glad you asked! 🙂
To start with, you have to get them far, far away from the onions who are still on the straight and narrow.
You know what they say, “One bad apple spoils the barrel”, or something like that. Which, sadly, applies to onions too.
So what’s a girl to do when life tosses you bad apples? Or onions, in this case.
No. Wait. I think I’m mixing metaphors. Or something…
Let’s go back to the beginning. I hear it’s a very good place to start…
Sadly, I don’t have an actual root cellar or even a basement. Most of my food storage is stashed in closets and under beds.
Neither of which are ideal storage conditions for root vegetables. So I have to check them every other day or so to make sure they aren’t going bad.
Yesterday, when I checked the onions, I found that the ones in one particular closet were all getting a little soft.
One of the things you may (or may not) know about me is that I HATE wasting food. It makes me cranky. True story. 🙂
And I especially hate to waste food I’ve gone to the trouble to grow myself because I want it to be organic!
So, in the interests of not getting cranky, I had to do something with those onions other than tossing them into the compost. There are several things I could have done with them.
What I chose to do was make some spices. Or, if you want to be technical about it, seasonings.
There are 2 dried onion products that I use All. The. Time.
The first one is onion powder. I use onion powder in my homemade Ranch dressing mix and my Italian Bread Crumbs, but I use it the most in my Italian Herb and Cheese pizza crust recipe.
And since we have pizza pretty much every Friday night, you can see where I would use a LOT of onion powder.
The other one I use is dried minced onion. But we’ll talk about that another day. 🙂 Anyway, today I went ahead and made the onion powder.
And now I’m going to show you how to make your own, homemade, you-know-what’s-in-it onion powder. (And it tastes better than store-bought, too)
Here’s what you’ll need to make DIY Onion Powder:
Ingredients & Equipment
- fresh onions (duh, right?)
- mandoline slicer or sharp knife and cutting board (this is the mandoline I have and use all the time)
- food dehydrator (I have an Excalibur dehydrator. This one to be exact. I love it!) – optional
- dehydrator trays or parchment paper
- blender or food processor (I have a Ninja that I use all the time and love)
The first thing I did was peel the onions and cut off any really soft spots. Those go to the compost pile.
Then I got out my handy dandy mandoline slicer. I used the thinnest setting I have to make really thin slices.
If you don’t have a mandoline, cut the slices as thin as you can. The thinner the slices, the faster they dry.
Some recipes have you chopping the onions, but that isn’t necessary since the dried onions are going to be powdered.
Drying Onions in the Dehydrator
Next I spread the sliced onions out on the trays in a single layer. I put all the odds and ends pieces around the sides.
Now, put those bad boys in the dehydrator and set it to 145°F if you have a temperature control. If not, no worries, just turn it on. 🙂
If you do have a model with a thermostat, turn the temp down to 125°F after 2 hours.
Dry time will depend on how thick your slices are, how much moisture is in the onions, and the humidity level. Anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
I usually let them go for 24 hours or so. But they just need to dry until they are leathery.
Turn off the dehydrator and let the onions cool completely before powdering.
Drying Onions in the Oven
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can still make your own onion powder.
After you’ve sliced the onions, place them in a single layer on baking sheets covered with parchment paper.
Preheat your oven to 140°F or the lowest temperature you can. My oven only goes down to 170°F so that’s what I used to set it at before I had a dehydrator.
Put the onions in the oven and put a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it cracked open. That allows the moisture to leave the oven and the onions dry out faster.
Bake (or dry, really) the onions for 4 to 5 hours until they are brittle and crumble easily in your hands. Let them cool completely before powdering.
Making the Onion Powder
Once the onions are dried and have cooled off, just pop them into your blender or food processor and give ’em a whirl!
Ta da! Onion powder!
No blender? No problem! You can also grind the onions up in a coffee grinder, a spice mill, or with a mortar and pestle.
Or an even lower tech way is to put the onions in a zip top freezer baggie and use a rolling pin to crush them into powder. This method takes a bit longer, but it works.
And in case you’re wondering, you get approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoon of onion powder from a medium onion.
I keep the bulk of it in mason jars (surprise!) that I have sealed with my FoodSaver. And I have a spice jar full in the kitchen.
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, just store the powder in an airtight container.
Keep the onion powder stored in a cool, dry, dark place. This will store for a really long time under the right conditions.
Onion powder in pretty little spice jars (like these) makes great housewarming, wedding, and Christmas gifts.
And even if you don’t have food storage onions to use up, making onion powder is a frugal option for when you find onions on sale. And who doesn’t like being frugal?? 🙂
What do you use onion powder in?
Frequently Asked Questions About Onion Powder
Great question! You can get about a heaping Tablespoon of onion powder from a medium onion. Of course onion sizes very widely and even a “medium” onion is a little vague. But that’s about as precise as I can get.
Onion powder is a subtle spice that lends a depth of onion flavor to many dishes. It’s great if you have a family member (like I do) that isn’t crazy about the texture of onions.
Some examples of things I use onion powder in: soups and stews, sauces and gravies, dips, and casseroles.
You can substitute dried minced onion for onion powder in a recipe. In general, use 3 times the amount called for. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon onion powder, use 3 teaspoons of dried minced onion.
Absolutely! You can use both the white part as well as the green tops. Just slice them thinly and dry as instructed. You’ll have green onion powder instead of white, which I think looks really cool in dip recipes.
Yes you can! To get the same texture as store bought you need to use a fine grain salt. If you don’t have any, toss some salt into whatever you ground you onions with.
Then mix your onion salt in a 3 to 1 ratio. 3 parts salt to 1 part onion powder. So, 3 Tablespoons of fine grain salt to 1 Tablespoon of onion powder.
Mix well and store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
More things to replace in your pantry:
Homemade from Scratch Onion Powder
- Mandolin or sharp knife and cutting board
- Sheets for dehydrator trays or parchment paper
- Blender or food processor
- fresh onions
- Peel the onions and cut off any really soft spots.
- Slice the onions using the thinnest setting you have on your mandoline to make really thin slices. If you don’t have a mandoline, cut the slices as thin as you can. The thinner the slices, the faster they dry.
- Next spread the slices out on the dehydrator trays in a single layer.
- Place in the dehydrator and set it to 145°F if you have a temperature control. If you do have a model with a thermostat, turn the temp down to 125°F after 2 hours.
- Dry time will depend on how thick your slices are, how much moisture is in the onions, and the humidity level. Anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. But they just need to dry until they are leathery.
- After they are dry, put them into your blender or food processor. Pulse until powdered.