Whether they’re topping your take-out or mixed into a bowl of miso soup, you’ve probably seen these little onion-flavored green rounds before. But the spring staples, most often called scallions, are sold under multiple aliases. Sometimes sold as green onions or spring onions, scallions are a meal enhancer that brings some serious flavor to almost anything.
When we want a hit of less-intense onion flavor, scallions and green onions are our alliums of choice. But what are spring onions — and are they the same thing as scallions? Speaking of which, are scallions and green onions also the same thing? Green onions and scallions are actually the same; they taste milder than spring onions.
Scallions and Green Onions
These are the same thing, so keep an eye out for how they are labeled in your region. Scallions are white at the bottom with frilly roots, and then green from the middle to the tops. The entire thing is edible; the white part packs more of an oniony heat while the green part leans into more of a milder chive flavor. They work well both raw and cooked.
Scallions and green onions are literally the same thing. There. Now you know. The only difference is how they’re chosen to be labeled at the store. Spring onions, on the other hand, are a different thing. The bulb of a spring onion is much larger, compared to the small, not-so-bulbous scallion. The bulb of a spring onion actually looks like a mini onion, spherical and bright white.
Scallions and green onions are literally the same thing. There. Now you know.
The only difference is how they’re chosen to be labeled at the store. Spring onions, on the other hand, are a different thing. The bulb of a spring onion is much larger, compared to the small, not-so-bulbous scallion. The bulb of a spring onion actually looks like a mini onion, spherical and bright white.
Why these onions are confusing
Onions varieties can confuse us all. They are often misnamed, and can drive us into panic if a recipe calls for one and we’re not certain which onion to use.
What are green onions?
Green onions are sold in bunches and have long, green leaves and no bulb. The flavour is mild, and they can be eaten raw or lightly cooked.
If a scallion is an immature onion harvested before the bulb begins to swell and a green onion is an immature onion harvested shortly after the bulb begins to swell, then what on earth is a spring onion?
While this might seem like an unnecessary distinction, the process of overwintering a young onion actually has a dramatic impact on its flavor.
How Do You Buy and Use Green Onions and Scallions?
When you’re buying green onions or scallions, look for brightly-colored leaves that have a firm stem. Avoid the wilted or slimy looking options at the grocery store.
You can use both the green and white part of a scallion in your cooking. The white part of the scallion will have a slightly stronger flavor than the green part.
To prepare the scallion, cut off the root near the white stem, and then cut an inch of two off the top of the green stalks.
Green onions, green shallots, or scallions
Green onions have a long, delicate green stem that is white near the root. They have no bulb and a mild, sweet onion flavour.
Both white and green parts of the stem are usable in cooking. Remove and discard roots.
They’re perfect to eat raw in salads, as a garnish or cooked quickly in a stir fry.
Green onions are often sold and referred to as spring onions. Green onions and spring onions have a similar flavour that makes them mostly interchangable, though green onions are much smaller and have more tender green leaves.
Can I use green onions in place of scallions?
Yes! Unlike baking soda vs. baking powder, which each play a distinct role in recipes, or club soda vs. seltzer water, which are going to taste slightly different from each other, you never need to worry about substituting green onions vs. scallions incorrectly. Because they are usually the same plant, scallions and green onions have the same taste. Even when green onions are allium cepa, the taste is very similar to allium fistulosum, so you can always use scallions and green onions interchangeably.
Cooking with scallions and green onions
There are many dishes that popularly use scallions. Food Network reminds us that they have a special affinity for potatoes and sour cream, Mexican cuisine, and Asian dishes like stir fries and soups. Ina Garten’s scallion and dill cream cheese is an easy way to get to know the ingredient. They’re also beautiful in a focaccia recipe and can easily help elevate a simple bowl of ramen, whether instant or made from scratch. Use them raw wherever bulb onions would be too assertive or make them the star of the show like in Alton Brown’s crave-worthy scallion pancakes or Emeril Lagasse’s classic Green Onion Tartar Sauce.