Green Onion


Green onions add the perfect finishing touch to salads, casseroles and many Asian dishes. They are one of the oldest and most used ingredients in Chinese cooking.

See also onion.

Green onions are small onions that have been harvested before they mature. They typically have long, straight tubular leaves and bases that have not quite developed into bulbs. Both parts are edible.

Green onions are also commonly referred to as spring onions or scallions. While these terms are used interchangeably, there are some differences between them.


True green onions have small white bases, or ends, that vary in size depending on when they were harvested. Most will have a slight roundness to them, but they have not developed into full bulbs.

Spring onions are green onions that have been allowed to mature a bit further. They are slightly larger and rounder in shape, and they carry a slightly stronger flavor.

While green onions can come from any variety of onion, scallions are actually a distinct variety. The ends of scallions have straight sides and they do not form rounded bulbs as other green onions do. They are generally milder in flavor as well.

Buying Tips

Green onions are available year-round, but their prime season is spring and summer. Typically sold in bunches, you should look for groups that are fairly consistent in size. The tops should be crisp and bright green and the white ends should be firm and unblemished.

Storage Tips

Compared to mature onions, green onions are quite perishable. Remove any rubber bands and store them unwashed and wrapped in paper towel in a tightly closed plastic bag. They will keep in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for three to five days before the tops begin to wilt.

Usage Tips

To use green onions, rinse in cold water and trim the roots and the very tops of the greens with a paring knife. They can be cooked whole as a vegetable (in the same manner you would cook leeks), or chopped and used in a multitude of recipes that would benefit from mild onion flavor. They're a perfect addition to all kinds of salads from green to pasta to potato. Green onions can be grilled, sautéed or stir-fried and they're a classic accompaniment to baked or mashed potatoes.

Substitution Tips

In a pinch, green onion tops and chives can be used interchangeably.

Try one of our favorite green onion recipes:
Chicken-Shrimp Egg Rolls
Lemon Artichoke Chicken
Korean Barbecued Beef

Suggested Pairings

beef, chicken, coconut, corn, couscous, crab, eggs, feta cheese, garlic, lamb, lemon, pasta, shrimp, potatoes, sesame, spinach, soy sauce, tomatoes, white wine