Learn everything you need to know about leeks in this ultimate guide. With a sweet onion-like flavor, leeks are an immune-boosting ingredient to add to your daily recipes. Learn how to choose fresh leeks, store them, prepare them and most importantly, the best recipes to include them in.

Four leeks on a white surface.
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As part of the garlic and onion family, leeks have a distinctive flavor that shines through in any recipe. They’re easy to grow, can be easily substituted for onion and bring a subtle elegance to any dishes they’re included in.

In fact, adding chopped leeks or topping a dish with sliced leeks immediately increases both the aesthetics and flavor. Learn more about how to incorporate this spring vegetable into your diet and brighten the color of your favorite recipes.

Nutritional Benefits Of Leeks

Leeks are wonderful because they’re both low in calories and high in nutrition. They’re a great source of:

  • Vitamins A and K
  • Folate and manganese
  • B6 vitamin

In fact, adding leeks to your diet can help improve digestion and fight inflammation.

How To Buy Leeks

Below you’ll find all the information you need to buy, store and prepare leeks. With such a vibrant green color, you may be surprised to learn that it’s the white stalks you primarily use from this spring vegetable and not the thicker green section.

When Are Leeks in Season?

The best season to purchase fresh leeks is the spring. Specifically, from March through April. Outside of that, the leeks you find at the grocery store won’t be as fresh or flavorful.

How To Choose Fresh Leeks

Similar to green onions, when you’re buying leeks, look for them to be straight, firm and bright green. Any kind of wilting or yellowness of the tops means that they’ve lost their freshness.

The smaller in diameter the leeks are, the more tender they’ll be. You’ll want to avoid stalks that are more than 1.5 inches wide for this reason.

Since the best part of a leek is the white stem, try to purchase ones with long stems so that you get the most out of this vegetable.

How To Store Leeks

Leeks can be stored as-is in the fridge for 5-10 days. Meaning, don’t wash or rinse your leeks until you’re ready to use them. Either store them in the bag you brought them home in or pop them into a container with the lid cracked.

How To Freeze Leeks

You can actually freeze your links for later use. To do this, wash your leeks to remove any dirt. Then, cut them into slices as you would use them and dry the slices lightly with a dish towel.

Store the sliced leeks in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer for 4-6 months. When you need them, use them right out of the freezer in your soups, sauces and dinners.

Leeks cut into half circles on a white surface.

How To Prepare Leeks

Before you’re ready to enjoy leeks, make sure to clean them thoroughly as they contain a lot of dirt from growing.

To clean leeks:

  1. Trim the top and bottom.
  2. Cut lengthwise down the stalk.
  3. Chop the stalks into half circles.
  4. Place the sliced leeks into a bowl of water and gently rub them with your hands to let the dirt fall off. This is best done in batches.
  5. Once the dirt settles at the bottom, get fresh water and repeat.

Check out this post on how to cut leeks for a more detailed step-by-step guide.

Once they’re prepped, leeks can be enjoyed pureed into soups, slow-cooked in sauce or topped on dishes to add more flavor.

Leek Varieties

There are both winter leeks and summer leeks and each one has a slightly different flavor.

Winter leeks are harvested in the beginning of spring and tend to be heartier and more flavorful.

Summer leeks will be smaller and much milder.

Frequently Asked Questions About Leeks

Do leeks taste like onion?

As part of the onion family, leeks do have a similar taste. However, they’re much milder and tend to have a slightly sweeter flavor to them.

How do you eat leeks?

Leeks can be chopped and used in sauces, soups and stews. They can be added into pasta or casseroles for extra flavor. Or, you can simply use them as a garnish on your favorite dishes for a pop of color and mild flavor.

Can you eat leeks raw?

Yes! While most recipes call for the leeks to be added into sauces, soups or casseroles, leeks can easily be eaten raw as well. They are much milder than onion so they make a great topping on salads, wraps, and other dishes.

The Best Leek Recipes

Below you’ll find some new inspiration to cook leeks. Stock up when they’re in season and check out some of the delicious recipes below to find creative and tasty ways to enjoy this spring vegetable.

5 from 1 vote

Leek Apple Cheddar Soup

This leek apple cheddar soup is sweet, creamy and topped with chopped walnuts and cranberries.
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Rosemary cannellini cakes
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Rosemary Leek Cannellini Cakes

These rosemary leek cannellini cakes make a light stand alone vegetarian meal or a great savory side dish.
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Chicken with Leeks Apples and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This chicken with leeks is cooked with apples and sun dried tomatoes. A meal fancy enough for guests but easy enough for a weeknight dinner.
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Sun Dried Tomato Leek Muffins

These paleo sun dried tomato leek muffins are made with almond and coconut flour and the perfect savory snack.
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4.50 from 4 votes

Soba Noodles with Leeks, Sweet Onions and Egg

These soba noodles with leeks, sweet onions and egg are an easy and delicious vegetarian meal.
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4.64 from 19 votes

Buckwheat Risotto with Mushrooms and Leeks

This buckwheat risotto is a hearty dish packed with flavorful mushrooms and leeks.
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Buttered Sautéed Leeks

Buttered Sautéed Leeks

This easy and tender buttered sautéed leeks recipe makes the perfect quick and tasty side dish when in need of both comfort and nutrition.
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Creamy Vegan Potato Leek Soup

Creamy Vegan Potato Leek Soup

This Vegan Potato Leek Soup is the perfect soup for those winter days when you feel like eating something comforting, healthy, and delicious.
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Smoky White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Leeks

Smoky White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Leeks

Smoky White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Leeks is comfort food at its finest! You can use smoked turkey legs or leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. In just a few days we’ll be enjoying my favorite
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Fried Leek Rings and Homemade Ketchup

Fried Leek Rings and Homemade Ketchup

Fried Leek Rings and Homemade Ketchup- a fun twist on onion rings. Once you make ketchup for scratch, you may never buy again!
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Mashed Potatoes with Leeks

Mashed Potatoes with Leeks

Mashed potatoes with sauteed leeks. If you’re looking for an easy side, it doesn’t get much simpler than this!
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Cheesy Leeks and Orzo

Cheesy Leeks and Orzo

Let your leeks shine in this simple and quick side dish of orzo pasta, leeks, and cottage cheese.
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A creamy potato soup, flavored with leeks and white pepper. Garnish with a sprinkling of chives. Traditionally serve chilled.
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Scrambled Eggs with Leeks

Scrambled Eggs with Leeks

Healthy Scrambled Eggs with Leeks is a delicious breakfast or easy dinner that is ready in no time! The best egg scramble loaded with leeks
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Chunky Potato Leek Soup

Chunky Potato Leek Soup

Prepared with fresh ingredients from scratch and a selection of spices and herbs to add wholesome flavors to this vegetable soup.
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More Spring Vegetable Guides

A Guide to Asparagus
A Guide to Radishes
A Guide to Artichokes
A Guide To Peas

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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  1. I am not sure if I had have had leeks before. What do they taste like? They remind me of scallions.

  2. I had so many fat and sassy leeks in my Fall CSA farm share that I sliced and froze bags of them–and I’ve been adding leeks to a variety of dishes. So handy and so tasty!
    Thanks for including my Cheesy Leeks!

  3. I love leeks. I have already shared on my blog several recipes for leeks, (potato-leek soup, sauteed, and in burgers) but that doesn’t even reflect how often I eat them. I use them almost twice a week. I love their flavor is soups, stews, and basically anywhere I might think using and onion in. Great veggie! I’m just sorry that I started eating it in my late 20s and not before that!!!

  4. I feel the same way about those little circles of sliced leek – irresistible! Thanks for the info (and the impulse to head to the farmer’s market this morning)…all of the recipes sound wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing a link to one of mine! :)

  5. I’ve only had leeks a couple times, but I really enjoyed them. So good/healthy for you!

    Thanks for the info!