Scallions vs. Green Onions

There’s a bit of confusion when it comes to scallions vs green onions. Are they different? Also, where do spring onions fit into the mix? Are they yet another name for the same thing? Let’s dig in and find out.

Scallions vs. Green Onions

Let’s get right to the point. There is absolutely no difference between scallions and green onions. They are exactly the same thing. In some markets they might be labelled as scallions; in others, green onions.

Scallions and green onions belong to the genus and species known as Allium fistulosum. Other names for this species include the Japanese bunching onion or Welsh onion.

Believe it or not, scallions and green onions actually have additional names, which are often regionally based. Scallions is the common name used in Ireland, for example. But each name refers to the same ingredient– something to keep in mind when you’re preparing recipes.

Since they’re the same ingredient, I’ll refer to them interchangeably moving forward.

Spring Onions on burlap

What About Spring Onions?

To make things even more confusing, some countries refer to scallions as spring onions. However, spring onions are actually a different type of onion altogether with similar physical characteristics.

It’s easy to confuse scallions and spring onions, but there are some key differences. A spring onion has the same stalk appearance with green and white coloring. However, the bulb on the white end is more round and distinct. It has a much more noticeable bulb than a green onion, as you can see in the above photo.

Another key difference is the flavor. Scallions have a mild peppery flavor, making them a perfect choice for salads and garnishing a variety of dishes. Spring onions, on the other hand, have a more sweet flavor, so they’re a better fit for recipes where you want to add sweetness (for example, somewhere you might normally use vidalia onions).

Kitchen Tip: Regrow Your Green Onions

Did you know you can regrow green onions on your windowsill or plant them outside? That way you can always have them on hand. I keep them in my kitchen window during the winter months, and in a pot on my back deck during spring through fall. It’s a great way to save money!

To regrow green onions indoors: Place the roots in a spare mason jar or cup with water and give them light. Trim them back periodically, and change the water out every few days to avoid an odor.

To regrow green onions outside: Plant the roots in soil just as you would flowers or herbs. Mine have gotten insanely big this summer with occasional watering and partial sun.

Recipes Using Scallions

About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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