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It's no wonder that green onions are a ubiquitous garnish and ingredient in everything from ramen bowls to coleslaw to scallion pancakes. After all, they're members of the onion (allium) family—they add fresh, pungent flavor to everything they're included in. You can use every part of a green onion except the bulb, from the white and pale green root end to the hollow dark green leaves. You can even regrow new green onions from the bulbs.
What's the difference between green onions and scallions? Nothing! They're two names for the same kind of small-bulbed onion. They are, however, different from spring onions, which are an immature type of globe onion. (Learn the difference between chives and green onions, as well).
At the store, look for bunches with perky, snappy leaves and avoid those that look wilted or droopy. Once you get home, rinse them well and start chopping.
Here's how to cut green onions and tips on how to store them for long-lasting freshness.
Hold your knife perpendicular to the onion stalks and slice straight across the leaves and stems in a rocking motion to make thin rounds.
This shape is most often used as a garnish for meals and makes a colorful finishing touch. Try them in place of chives, or in this recipe for Spicy Noodles with Pork, Scallions and Bok Choy.
When sautéing green onions in stir-fries and other skillet meals, a bias (diagonal) cut gives you more surface area to work with.
Slice off the roots of each green onion and set aside to regrow (see below) or discard. Hold your knife at a 45-degree angle to the bulb end and slice into pieces no thinner than 1/2 inch thick.
The white and light green parts of the green onion are most frequently used for cooking with this cutting method, but the green leaves can also be sliced into thick pieces on the bias for garnish.
Try them in this Chicken Pad Thai recipe.
As another way to garnish your dish, raw green onion strips or curls are easy to make by cutting the leaves lengthwise.
Separate the green leaves from the light green and white bulb ends of the onions. Reserve the bulb ends for another use.
Working with one tubular leaf at a time, use a paring knife or the tip of your chef's knife to carefully slice the green leaves into thin strips.
To make curls for garnish, place the sliced strips in a bowl of ice water and let sit for about 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry before garnishing.
Try using both rounds or bias-cut green onions and curled garnishes in this Scallion-Ginger Beef & Broccoli recipe.
To save on time, you can pre-chop green onions while you're prepping for future meals. Simply fill an airtight container like a mason jar with sliced onions and refrigerate up to 5 days.
For longer pieces of green onion with the bulb end attached, wrap in a damp towel and place in a reusable zip-top bag, then refrigerate. This helps keep the onions in a humid—but not wet—environment, so they won't get slimy.
Regrowing green onions is as easy as placing the bulb ends in a small glass and submerging their roots in water. Leave in a sunny spot and change the water frequently, and you'll have a fresh crop in days!