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Get Your Garlic & Onion Fix On The Low FODMAP Diet

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Garlic. Onions. Those damn fructans! Is it possible to get your garlic and onion fix while following the low FODMAP diet?

Yes, it is! And we will show you how.

Garlic and onions.

Fructans Are Common Triggers

In case you don’t know by now, here are a few handy facts:

  1. Garlic and onions contain fructans, which are a FODMAP. They are part of the “O” in the acronym.
  2. Fructans are often cited as the FODMAP that triggers the most irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.
  3. Garlic and onion are in many restaurant dishes, prepared foods, and many of your favorite recipes. They key is learning how to get garlic and onion flavor, without the FODMAPs.

Garlic & Onions Don’t Agree with Me

SIGH. When you think about it, you might be like me…all my life I have known friends and family who would say things like, “garlic doesn’t agree with me”, and, “I like onions, but they don’t like me.”

And for so many of us, when we are told that we have to eliminate garlic and onions during the initial phases of the low FODMAP diet, it is devastating news, and we simply cannot fathom how we can eat deliciously without them – because even though they have been wreaking havoc with our digestion, we just love the flavors!

Some Good News: Water Solubility

Garlic-Infused Oil vertical-min

Did you know that fructans are water-soluble, but not oil-soluble? This is how it is possible for you to enjoy Garlic-Infused Oil and Onion-Infused Oilbut that you cannot have a bunch of garlic or onions floating around in a soup or stew and simply fish them out and expect the dish to be low FODMAP. Since the garlic and onion has come in contact with water-containing ingredients – like canned tomatoes, vegetables, stocks, broths, meats, poultry, wine, etc. – the fructans have leached into the dish.

How To Get Garlic & Onion Flavor

We love garlic and onion-infused oils, and we always have them on hand, both in olive oil versions, as well as vegetable oil based. For our Asian and Tex-Mex cooking, for example, we like to have infused oils based on neutral flavored vegetable oils. For our Mediterranean style cooking, we will use olive oil.

We have recipes for infused oils, of course, and we do prefer homemade. You can tailor the garlic/onion potency of your homemade versions very easily. There are also many commercially prepared brands available, and we have written an article for you that takes a closer look at these ready-to-use options, in addition to all the other ways to get your garlic and onion fix. Did you know that there are low FODMAP garlic and onion powders? There are!

Please read Low FODMAP Garlic & Onion Substitutes.

Know What You Are Buying: Oils

When you make garlic or onion-infused oil at home, it is a true infused oil. You are heating the garlic or onion solids in the oil, and then removing the solids. Most of the commercially prepared products are flavored, not infused. It is very common to see garlic flavoring being used for the garlic component.

The confusion lies with the term “infused”. When you follow our recipes and make a garlic or onion-infused oil at home, you are performing a traditional culinary technique. The onion or garlic is infusing within the oil.

The word “infuse” is also used in the English language with a different meaning. According to the Cambridge Dictionary:

Infuse: “to fill someone or something with an emotion or quality”

The example they give is, “The pulling down of the Berlin Wall infused the world with optimism.”

In the FODMAP world of prepared oils, manufactures might call a product “Garlic Infused Oil, when it is made with garlic flavor, but the process was not a true infusion using fresh garlic. They are indicating that the oil is infused with flavor, the “quality” as defined above.

Many of these garlic or onion flavored oils are low FODMAP. (Remember this does not mean there is a guarantee that they will sit well with your digestion). Just know what you are buying – most likely “flavored” oils.

And please, if you are a manufacturer and making a flavored oil, just call it that. 

Know What You Are Buying: Powders & Seasonings

We bet the mention of low FODMAP garlic and onion powders before got your attention. We explore them in depth in the article that we linked above, but what you need to know is that there are two companies, FreeFod and Fodmazing, which are making both garlic powders and onion powders that are low FODMAP. The FreeFod are lab tested and certified by FODMAP Friendly. The Fodmazing have the exact same ingredients. We always keep them in our pantry.

Conventional garlic and onion powder are high FODMAP, so do not use those during Elimination and Challenge Phases.

Gourmend has several products: Garlic Scape Powder, Garlic Chive Powder, Garlic Chive Salt, Green Onion Powder, Green Onion Salt.

Smoke ‘n Sanity has garlic and onion salt blends.

Asafetida also has a low FODMAP serving size and can be used as well.

Chives, Scallions & Leeks – Oh My!


When it comes to allium, you have a lot of choices actually. Again, we detailed this in our article, Low FODMAP Garlic & Onion Substitutes, but all you need to know for now is that there is a lot to choose from: Scallion greens, chives, garlic chives, leek greens, and even low FODMAP amounts of leek bulb.

Wooden Salad Bowls, Garlic and FLAVOR!

rubbing garlic in wooden bowl

One day I got to thinking about a culinary technique that involves rubbing a raw, whole garlic clove around the inside of a wooden salad bowl. The garlic clove itself is discarded, but the flavor of garlic is left behind. The bowl becomes permeated with garlicky flavor.

Now, the flavor is left behind because garlic juices have seeped into the bowl. And when you then make salad in the bowl, the garlic flavor is transferred to the salad – so some sort of garlic matter is being carried over.

I discussed this with several of our Success Team RDs as well as with Joanna Baker of Everyday Nutrition and we all agreed that while we could not say that a salad made this way would be Elimination Phase-worthy low FODMAP, that perhaps it could be a mid-point between Elimination and Challenging yourself with an actual piece of garlic.

If you are a garlic lover, and a salad fan, this might be something to try. Let us know how it goes!

Check In With Yourself

woman wondering. Questioning, thinking.
Image credit Cast Of Thousands via Shutterstock.

How do you feel? Check in with yourself after having your salad, later in that day/evening, and then again the next day and even the following day. It takes time for FODMAP reactions to occur and of course, like a formal Challenge, you would need to do this in isolation of ingesting other FODMAPs to assess a true reaction.

Good To Go?

If all is well with your GI tract, maybe this experiment will have emboldened you to try a more conventional garlic fructan Challenge!

Of course, we highly recommend that you discuss this approach with your medical professionals, who are guiding you with the diet.

If you need to find a FODMAP trained RD near you – no matter where you are in the world, check out our RD Resource List. Many will even do phone and Zoom consultations.

Time For Formal Fructan Challenges

For many people, the Elimination Phase of the low FODMAP diet provides relief for the first time possibly in years. And because of this, many people are afraid to progress to the second phase of formal Challenges.

For the long-term health of your overall nutrition and gut microbiome it is vitally important that you progress through the three phases of the diet. The Challenge Phase can often be the most complex and working with a FODMAP trained dietitian is the most direct route to success.

We also have an article for you written by a Monash University trained dietitian: Your Guide To The Low FODMAP Diet Challenge Phase.

You will note that there are four separate recommended fructan challenges: Garlic, onion, wheat, and vegetables. Do not try to roll them all into one. It is not unusual for people to find out that they can tolerate fructans in certain forms and not others.

woman with curly hair looks shocked.
Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio via Canva.

In addition, a very important point that is often missed – and is great news – is that even if you fail certain Challenges now, it does not necessarily mean that that is the way it’s going to be forever.Reintroducing failed challenges at a later date is always recommended, and we often see people able to tolerate foods further down the line that they cannot presently.

More Garlic & Onion Deliciousness

man pouring oil on white plate

Please do take the time to read these articles and recipes. They will help you get the most out of your low FODMAP cooking, with an eye towards your love of garlic and onions!

The Takeaway

happy people eating a meal. Shutterstock_693458410.
Photo credit/Ground Picture Shutterstock.

You absolutely can have garlic and onion flavor in your cooking, even during the most restrictive initial Elimination Phase of the low FODMAP diet. You can make your own infused oils or purchased flavored versions. There are low FODMAP garlic & onion powders which we think belong in everyone’s pantry. And then of course there are different parts of chives and scallions and leeks that add flavor as well.

wooden salad bowl with salad and wooden spoon and fork, held in hands

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