What Are Scallions?

Are they the same thing as green onions?

April 22, 2022
Cleaning scallions preparation. Washed spring onion in decorative crockery. Empty bowl. Stainless stel grid on wooden plank. High point of view. Light effect.


Cleaning scallions preparation. Washed spring onion in decorative crockery. Empty bowl. Stainless stel grid on wooden plank. High point of view. Light effect.

Photo by: annick vanderschelden photography/Getty Images

annick vanderschelden photography/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

You’ve likely seen scallions—with their small white bulbs, short off-white roots and long green stalks—lining produce displays at farmers markets and grocery stores. You might recognize the name from namesake dishes like scallion pancakes, or as the unnamed garnish that brings a pop of green and mild oniony flavor to dishes such as loaded baked potatoes or stir fries. But what exactly are scallions? Here, we share answers to all your burning scallion questions, including how to cut, store and use them, plus some of our favorite scallion recipes.

What Are Scallions?

Scallions, also known as green onions, are a member of the allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, shallots and garlic. They are harvested early before the onion bulb fully forms, so they have a small, white base with straight sides. In addition, they have long, slender green stalks that progress from light green to dark green. Both the white and green parts are used in a variety of culinary applications and can be consumed raw or cooked. Scallions are available year-round, though their peak season is spring and summer. Scallions are sometimes mistakenly called spring onions, but they are not the same thing—spring onions have a larger, more bulbous white base.

What Do Scallions Taste Like?

Both the white and green parts of scallions are edible, though their flavors are different. The white part has a more intense onion taste than the green parts, but overall, it’s still milder in flavor than fully mature onions and palatable when eaten raw. The green parts have an even milder onion flavor with distinct fresh, grassy characteristics.

Green Onions vs. Scallions

Green onions and scallions are the same thing, though you might see them labelled differently at the grocery store or market. They can be used interchangeably in recipes, whether used raw as a garnish or cooked by roasting, grilling or sautéing.

Chives on a wooden board


Chives on a wooden board

Photo by: Westend61/Getty Images

Westend61/Getty Images

Chives vs. Scallions

Although they both have a mild onion flavor, chives and scallions are not the same thing. Chives come from a different plant species than scallions and green onions. They are considered part of the herb family, alongside other herbs such as parsley and basil. In addition, chives are thinner, more delicate and have an even milder onion taste than scallions.

Chopping scallions. Chopped scallions in colourful crockery.  Kitchen knife. Bamboo cutting board on wooden plank. Light effect. High point of view.


Chopping scallions. Chopped scallions in colourful crockery. Kitchen knife. Bamboo cutting board on wooden plank. Light effect. High point of view.

Photo by: annick vanderschelden photography/Getty Images

annick vanderschelden photography/Getty Images

How to Cut Scallions

Scallions are easy to prep with some basic knife skills and a delicate touch. First, trim off the root end of the scallion (the part with the short root threads sticking out) as close to the base as possible. Next, cut to separate the white and light green part from the darker green leaves. Slice the scallions thin, on the bias, or into pieces as called for in your recipe. Avoid pressing down too hard or you risk bruising the stalks, especially the more delicate, darker green leaves. If you’re slicing multiple scallions at once, lay them flat in single file to avoid bruising.

Shrimp, Celery, and Cashew Stir Fry

Shrimp, Celery, and Cashew Stir Fry

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

How to Use Scallions

Scallions are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a range of cuisines, either whole or chopped, or lightly cooked or raw.

Raw, thinly sliced scallions are a commonly used garnish in Asian and Latin-American dishes, as with this Spicy Shrimp, Celery, and Cashew Stir-fry (pictured above) and this Instant Pot Chicken Adobo. They can also be used to finish different types of soup, like this hearty Moroccan Meatball Soup or a light Miso Soup. A garnish of scallions can also add a punch of oniony freshness that helps cut through the richness of comfort food dishes, such as this creamy One-Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta or this Loaded Baked Potato Casserole.

Scallions add an aromatic pop of allium flavor to amp up condiments, dips and dressings. Try this Scallion Sour Cream as a base for chip dip or as a taco or baked potato topping. Serve Miso Scallion Tofu Dip with a platter of crudité at your next potluck picnic. Pair Scallion Bacon Ketchup with burgers, meatloaf or roast potatoes for a new twist on old standbys.

Scallions benefit from light cooking applications to retain some of their signature crispness and freshness. They can be sauteed with noodles or rice, as with this Pork and Noodle Stir-Fry or this fan-favorite Cajun Shrimp and Rice dish. Try grilling scallions and using them to bolster meaty mains like this Hoisin Burger, or try folding ‘em into sides, like this barbecue-ready Grilled Scallion Potato Salad. A trip under the broiler adds a nice char to scallions before they’re chopped and added to salsa, like this roasted tomato scallion relish, which makes a fine accompaniment to roast chicken.

How to Store Scallions

Depending on how long you need to keep your scallions fresh, there are a few different storage methods to employ.

To Keep Scallions Up to Three Days: Store In a Damp Paper Towel In the Refrigerator

If you’re planning to use your scallions within a few days of purchase, store them wrapped in a damp paper towel in the fridge. Remove any packaging, rinse the scallions and pat dry with paper towels. Squeeze the paper towels to remove any excess water—the dampness offers necessary humidity for optimal storage conditions, but if the towel is too wet, it can cause rotting. Wrap scallions in the damp paper towel and store in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer for up to three days. If the paper towel dries out, re-moisten it; if it becomes too wet, replace with a fresh, damp paper towel.

To Keep Scallions Up to a Week: Store In a Jar

Put scallions root-side down in a clean, sturdy glass jar that’s tall enough to hold the scallions upright (without them flopping over the edge). Fill the jar with just enough cold or room temperature water to cover the roots, about 1 to 2 inches. Place on your kitchen windowsill and change or add water every couple of days, as needed. This will keep your scallions fresh for up to a week; they may also continue to grow stored this way.

If you don’t have a windowsill in your kitchen, you can store them in a jar in the refrigerator. Follow the instructions above, then cover the scallion tops with a plastic produce bag and secure the bag with a rubber band around the mouth of the jar. Alternatively, you can use a Ziploc bag and seal the sides a little (you don’t need an airtight seal, just enough closure to trap the humidity). Store in the refrigerator (away from heavily trafficked areas to avoid knocking the jar over) for up to 1 week, changing the water every couple of days or so.

Scallions Recipes

Grilled Onions with a Slice of Lemon on a White Plate

Grilled Scallions

Grilled Onions with a Slice of Lemon on a White Plate

©Food: Jaime Kimm Prop: Marina Malchin

Food: Jaime Kimm Prop: Marina Malchin

Scallions are trimmed at the root end, then brushed with olive oil and grilled whole. Serve them as is to accompany other grilled fare such as steaks or fish, or give them a rough chop to punch up marinades, dressings, salsas or salads.


Photo by: Con Poulos

Con Poulos

Both the white and green parts of scallions take a starring turn in this zesty salad. The white parts are quartered lengthwise, then soaked in cold water to remove some of the raw onion bite. They’re then tossed with the thinly sliced green parts of the scallions in a garlicky rice-vinegar-chili-oil dressing and combined with serrano chiles and thin strips of cucumber.


Scallions are called for two ways in this classic dish. First, finely chopped scallions add mild onion flavor and flecks of green color to the cooked savory pancakes. Then, raw sliced scallions are added to punch up the savory sesame-soy dipping sauce with a burst of freshness.


In this fan-favorite recipe, the thinly sliced white parts of scallions are sauteed with chicken and broccoli to lend a slightly sweet, mild onion flavor to a classic stir fry. Though the recipe doesn’t call for it, you can opt to thinly slice the scallions’ green parts and use them as a garnish.

Food stylist: Jamie Kimm 
Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin


Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

Scallions are at their peak in spring and summer, so it makes sense to showcase them with other spring veggies such as radishes, carrots and new potatoes. When cut into thirds, they’re just the right size to roast until tender alongside the other vegetables and a golden-crisp roast chicken.

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