Hamburg Steak Onion Substitutes: Here are Some Recommended Alternatives

Adults and children alike love hamburgers!

It’s a worthwhile dish to make because the family will eat it with gusto.

However, it often happens that you forget to buy onions or that you are out of onions.

Oh no! I don’t have any onions to put in my hamburger. What should I do?

This time, I would like to introduce you to “substitutes for onions in hamburgers.

If you have any problems, please refer to this article!

Three roles of onions in hamburgers

onions in hamburgers

When you run out of onions, ask yourself, “Can I make this without onions? When you run out of onions, some people worry, “Can I make it without onions? When you run out of onions, you may be wondering, “Can I make a delicious dish without onions?

So, first of all, what is the purpose of adding onions to hamburgers? Let’s take a look at its role.

Role 1: To add sweetness to the meat and bring out the flavor of the onion

Onions have a sweetness that comes out when they are heated.

It is said that the sugar content of onions is higher than that of sugar when they are slowly fried until they turn candy brown.

It is said that the sugar content of onions is higher than that of sugar when they are fried slowly until they become candy-colored. The sweetness of the onions intertwines well with the flavor of the meat and brings out a deep and delicious flavor.

Role 2: To improve the texture

Some people prefer to add onions without frying.

The main advantage of adding onions without frying is that it improves the texture when eaten.

If there is a crunchy texture in the meat, it makes the meat feel more tender.

Role 3: To remove the smell of meat

Ground meat may have a peculiar smell.

There are many reasons for this, such as the use of old beef, oxidized fat in the minced meat, or products that have been repeatedly frozen and thawed.

The enzyme protease contained in onions can eliminate such meat odors.

The protease also breaks down proteins and tenderizes the meat.

Let’s see what else do!


Ground meat alone does not adhere well to each other, allowing juices and flavor to escape through the gaps.

Eggs contain proteins that coagulate when heated, which helps to bond the meat together and lock in the flavor of the meat.

Bread crumbs

The addition of breadcrumbs absorbs moisture, meat juices, and melted fat, resulting in a tender and juicy finish.


As well as adding flavor, salt acts as an adhesive. When heated, salt dissolves the proteins in ground meat. The dissolved protein becomes sticky and bonds the meat together.

Pepper, nutmeg, milk, etc

Pepper, nutmeg, milk, etc. help to take away the smell of the meat.

As mentioned above, each of these ingredients does its job to prevent the meat juices and flavor from escaping and becoming dry.

In other words, it is possible to make a fluffy and juicy hamburger without onions.

You can make a delicious hamburger without onions, but you can make it without them. That’s what onions are to hamburgers.

However, if you feel that meat alone is not enough, I recommend using the following substitutes.

I’ll go through them “by purpose” so you can choose the right substitute for your purpose!

Substitutes for onions in hamburger steak (to add sweetness to the vegetable)

First of all, if you want to add sweetness to the vegetables, substitute the following items.

1) Cabbage


Finely chop the cabbage, fry it lightly, let it cool, and add it to the seeds.

If it is too complicated, you can microwave it instead of frying it.

If you add it raw, the taste will be less sweet and lighter.

The sweetness of the cabbage will come out, and the texture will be fluffy. This is a good choice for children who want to eat lots of vegetables.

It’s also a great way to increase the protein content.

2) Carrots


Cut carrots into chunks, fry lightly, let cool and add to the seeds.

You can also use the microwave.

You can also grate the carrots and heat them in the microwave for a fluffier texture.

Substitute onions for hamburger steak (if you want to add texture)

If you want to add a crunchy texture, the following are recommended.

1) Bean sprouts

Bean sprouts

Cut them into chunks and add to the sauce.

If you want to add a crunchy texture, I recommend the following ingredients. If they are too long, they will break naturally when you knead them by hand.

This is a popular substitute that is easy and inexpensive to add to the crust and has a good texture.

2) Renkon (lotus root)


Finely chop the lotus root and add it to the seeds in their raw state.

If you grate it and add it, it becomes fluffy.

Many recipes use both chopped and grated lotus root to make it fluffy and crunchy at the same time.

3) Mushrooms


Mushrooms are also chopped and added to the seeds in their raw state.

Use eringi or enoki mushrooms for a crunchy texture, and shiitake mushrooms for a unique flavor.

As you can see from the stuffed shiitake mushrooms, minced meat and shiitake mushrooms are a perfect match!

This dish is lightly Japanese-style, so it is also delicious with the starchy sauce.

4) Green pepper

Green pepper

Cut into chunks and add to the seeds.

Speaking of compatibility, you can’t miss green peppers, which are also familiar with meat stuffing.

It has a good texture and is also colorful. I’m sure that even children who usually don’t like green peppers will enjoy eating them.

5) The core of Chinese cabbage

The core of Chinese cabbage

Chop up the core of Chinese cabbage, fry it lightly, let it cool, and add it to the seeds.

You can also microwave it, but squeeze it tightly with your hands before adding it, as it will release water.

Chinese cabbage is in season and has high nutritional value, so it is a good substitute, especially in winter.

6) Frozen vegetable mix

Frozen vegetable mix

Defrost the frozen vegetable mix in the microwave, let it cool, and add it to the seeds.

It is easy and colorful and allows you to enjoy several different textures.

7) Kiriboshi Daikon

Soak kiriboshi-daikon in plenty of water.

After that, squeeze out the water, chop them, and add them to the seeds.

Kiriboshi-daikon has high nutritional value, so it is a healthy and hearty addition.

The crunchy and fun texture makes it easy to eat even for those who don’t like a kiriboshi-daikon stew.

Substitute onions for hamburger steak (if you want to get rid of the smell of meat)

If you want to eat a light hamburger steak that is not too meaty, this is the way to go.

1) White onion

White onion

Cut into chunks and add raw to the sauce.

The result is a light, Japanese-style hamburger steak that goes well with grated ponzu and shiso leaves.

White onions are also savory vegetables like onions, so they help to reduce the smell of meat.

2) Celery


Finely chop the celery and add it raw to the seeds.

Celery is also a savory vegetable, so it removes the odor and gives the dish an elegant taste.

Celery is highly nutritious and contains plenty of vitamins and fiber, so it can be arranged in a very healthy way.

It also goes well with hamburgers cooked in consommé or stew.

Let’s combine several of the above substitutes

[Example 1] Kiriboshi Daikon + Shiitake Mushrooms + White Onions for a healthy Japanese-style hamburger steak!

You can also add chopped shiso leaves as an arrangement.

Both kiriboshi-daikon and shiitake mushrooms are highly nutritious and contain plenty of dietary fiber and calcium.

A low-calorie, healthy combination for those concerned about their health and beauty!

This combination is also recommended for dieters.

Example 2] Bean sprouts + cabbage + celery for your tired body! Fatigue recovery hamburger steak!

Bean sprouts contain “aspartic acid,” which is effective in relieving fatigue and improving liver function.

Also, both cabbage and celery are rich in vitamin C, which is effective for beautiful skin and recovery from fatigue, and vitamin U (cabbage), which suppresses the secretion of heritage and repairs the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines.

This is a good combination for when you feel tired these days …….

Example (3): Carrot + lotus root + ginger for a warming root vegetable hamburger steak!

The combination of root vegetables that warm the body and ginger that also warms the body is perfect for the cold season.

The combination of root vegetables and ginger, which also warms the body, is perfect for the cold season.

It can also be made into small meatballs and added to stews or nabe.

This is also a good combination for preventing colds.

It is also good to try adding some of the above substitutions as well as one type. Given the combination of cooking methods and sauces, the possibilities of hamburgers seem to be endless.


  • The role of onions in hamburgers is to “add sweetness to the meat and bring out the flavor”, “add texture”, and “remove the smell of the meat”.
  • You can make hamburger steak without adding onions, but it often feels insufficient.
  • If you want to add sweetness to the vegetables, add cabbage and carrots.
  • If you want to add texture, bean sprouts, lotus root, the core of Chinese cabbage, and dried radish are recommended.
  • If you want to reduce the smell of meat and eat lightly, you can add white onion and celery.