what do scallions look like

Last Updated on January 15, 2024

We are here to answer some age-old questions “What are scallions?“, “Are they the same as green onions?” We often see this stalk in dishes like stir-fries, garnishes for soups, aromatics for sauces or stews, and even part of a salad or salsa.

what do scallions look like

But we often see them with different names which can get kind of confusing. Cooking shows, chefs, and culinary experts don’t even tell us what the differences between these plants are.

So we did the research and gathered information to educate and know the differences between these green stalks with onion flavors.

Here we will dive into their differences, uses, and any other questions we might tackle along the way. 

Scallions vs Green Onions

what part of a scallion do you eat

If you’ve been cooking for a long time you might use these long green leaves as garnish or as aromatics for your dishes such as salads.

You might have come across them in the grocery and thought they must be different since they have different names even though they look alike.

The answer is green onions and scallions are the same plant! Or more clearly they come from the same category of plants which are known as the Allium family.

As a member of the Allium family, they have characteristics that are similar to all of them.

They have bulbs that grow underground and dark green leaves with white bases. Taste wise they have a grassy, milder oniony flavor, and can be eaten raw or cooked.

These plants include leeks, chives, spring onions, onions, garlic, shallots, and other plants that grow bulbs underground.

While these plants can be found in farms they can also be found growing wildly in mountains and woods. They are named according by who did the harvest as the farmers label them scallions or green onions.

How To Use Scallions

what are scallions

First off we need to prep the scallions before we can use them for cooking.

The first is to cut the root and bulb end off. If you want to replant those to grow new sprouts you can. Then rinse the scallions under running water and rub off any dirt with your fingers.

The third step is to dry the scallions. Wrap paper towels around the stem and rub the green part and white part, then pat dry the leaves.

For storage, place the scallions in a resealable plastic bag and place them in the vegetable chiller of the fridge. They will keep for 5 days and prevent wilting.


As for the taste of scallions, the green part has a grassy, mild oniony taste. The small white part of the scallion has a stronger flavor but also has a sweet note especially when cooked.

It is very similar to what yellow onions taste like. While some cooks discard the dark green parts of the stalks the whole thing is edible and is usually found in Asian cooking.

For garnishes to use on your dressings, meat dishes, and salads, where the green onion isn’t going to be cooked the green part of the leaves is used.

For stir-fries, stews, soups, and recipes where the scallion is going to be cooked the white base is usually used. Note that this does not limit the uses of the green onion to these rules. They can change depending on the recipe.

You can also use spring onions for recipes that call for scallions but do so with caution. Spring onions have a stronger flavor than scallions and can overpower dishes that have subtle or mild flavors when used raw.

So refrain from using spring onions on dishes like salads. But recipes that require cooking like stir-fries will be fine as it brings out their sweetness.

What Are Chives, Leeks, Spring Onions, And Shallots?

what is the difference between chives and green onions

Shallots – are small bulbous onion-looking vegetables. They taste sweeter than regular onions and have a milder, more subtle flavor.

Leeks – have one stalk that sprouts a bunch of leaves. They also have a sweet onion taste but usually only the white part is used.

Chives – While they look similar to the other vegetables listed here, chives are categorized as herbs. But they still belong to the same family. They have a grassy, milder flavor as well.

Spring onions – They are similar to green onions but they have bulbs at the root end instead of just stalks. They also emit a stronger raw flavor than scallions.

Scallion Recipes




Yes, they are. They are both members of the allium family which are bulbs that grow underground and produce long hollow stalks of leaves.


As stated. Green onions or scallions have long stalks of leaves that have a white base and long green stalks of leaves. The higher you go on the plant the darker the leaves get.


They are the same plant and have the same uses. The farmers use those terms interchangeably. So there’s no trouble using either.

what do scallions look like

How To Cut Scallions

Learn how to properly prepare scallions with our helpful step-by-step guide. Whether for garnish or as a main ingredient, you won't want to miss it!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Author: SHU-CHUN


  • 1 bunch scallions


  • First, start by trimming the roots off the bottom of the onion. Next, remove any slimy or discolored outer layers. If the green tops are too long, trim them down to a more manageable length.
  • Then, using a sharp knife, make clean diagonal cuts across the onion, starting from the white root end and moving toward the green tops. This will create beautiful, uniform slices. Alternatively, you can also cut the onion into thin rounds or finely chop it, depending on your preference.
  • Remember to use a smooth cutting motion and keep your fingers tucked in to avoid any accidents. By following these simple steps, you can easily cut green onions or scallions like a pro, adding a professional touch to your culinary creations. 

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