News: Not All Green Onions Are the Same—Here's How They Differ

Not All Green Onions Are the Same—Here's How They Differ

There are a ridiculous number of onion varieties, so choosing the right onion can make my head spin sometimes. With four distinct types of "green onions" that all look almost the same, I'm guessing you have the same issue—but not once you know the secrets to identifying and properly using each of these green onion types.

Image by Jessica Bose/Food Hacks Daily

Green Onions

Green onions are a species of onion from the Allium fistulosum family. They are either harvested early before a bulb grows from the stem or harvested with the bulb attached. Green onion bulbs are much smaller than the bulbs of a spring onion.

They are mild in taste, so you won't cry while cutting them. The most intense flavor comes from the white part closer to the stem, but the entire green onion is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. Asian cuisine uses this type onion a lot, especially in stir-fry dishes.

Image by Jessica Bose/Food Hacks Daily

There are 3 correct ways to cut green onions.

  1. Cut in strips for soups and salads.
  2. Cut diagonally in horse ears for a stir fry, grilled meat, fish, or tofu.
  3. Mince and use a substitute for fresh chives in dishes like rice or quinoa.
Sliced, horse ears, and minced (from left to right). Image by Jessica Bose/Food Hacks Daily


Guess what? There's actually no difference between scallions and green onions. The Illinois Times states that the names differ based on geography. The mid-Atlantic coastal states and all of New England call them scallions while the rest of the US calls them green onions.

Finally, a solution to the common "I can't find scallions at the grocery store" problem!

Spring Onions

Spring onions are also members of the Allium fistulosum species, and are distinguished by their large bulbs. They are also more slender than green onions.

As you probably guessed, spring onions are called so because they are harvested in the springtime. There's more flavor packed into spring onions compared to green onions, and that's because they are grown for a longer period of time. Spring onions are more sharp and pungent than green onions, but not as strong as yellow onions. They can be eaten raw or cooked and pair well with spring and summer vegetables.

Image by Jessica Bose/Food Hacks Daily

The bulbs on spring onions can be removed and roasted like pearl onions or chopped and used as miniature white onions.

Image by Jessica Bose/Food Hacks Daily


Chives are a member of a completely different species—Allium shoenoprasum—along with leeks and garlic. Chives are actually considered to be an herb, not a vegetable.

Commonly used raw as a garnish, chives have a light onion and garlic flavor. They are strong, so a little bit goes a long way. Chives are great when sprinkled over dips, potatoes, and deviled eggs.

Image by Jessica Bose/Food Hacks Daily

Chives should be cut finely to maximize their flavor. You can either chop them with a knife or snip them with kitchen shears.

Image by Jessica Bose/Food Hacks Daily

Finally... The Confusion Is Over!

Now that you know the similarities and differences among green onions, scallions, spring onions, and chives, you can use any of them in your cooking with confidence.

More Onion Tips That Won't Make You Cry:

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1 Comment

Thank you for shedding light on the difference, very useful :)

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