Learn the professional way to cut green onions with ease and precision. This step-by-step guide will show you how to clean and cut as a garnish or add a delicate allium flavor to dishes.
Table of Contents
Learn how to cut green onions and scallions with this informative guide. From trimming the roots to slicing the green and white parts up to jazz up a dish. Don’t let any portion go to waste! Each piece is edible and delivers unique flavors from the stem to the white bulb. Green onions are a versatile ingredient to add a colorful taste to soups, salads, spuds, entrees, and so much more!
Part of the Allium genus, these types of onions pack a sulfurous taste, just like shallots, larger onions, chives, leeks, and garlic. However, they deliver a more delicate taste, making them ideal for adding raw when a recipe calls for a hint of spice. Or cook up the more intensely flavored white parts to add earthiness and dimension to any dish.
How to select green onions
Green onions and scallions are the same, yet labeled differently depending on market location. They are from the Allium cepa species and are available year-round at the market.
Look for bright green to dark green stem ends that are firm and stand straight up. Ensure the outer leaves are not damaged, browned, wilted, or slimy.
Prepare the green onions
Green onions have multiple hollow stalks that grow from a white bulbed base. They are sold as a bunch of stalks at the market. Give the bunch a good rinse with cold water. The bulb and stems may have dirt and debris that must be removed, primarily if used raw for garnishes.
Dry them in a clean towel before cutting. It’s hard to slice the hollow and delicate darker green parts when wet. Remove any bruised, browned, wilted, or slimy outer layers of the green onions.
Trim the onions
Place the green onions on a sturdy cutting board, running parallel to you. Trim off the roots from the white bulb area. Trim off any browned or wilted tips of the stems. This makes it easier to make clean slices into the desired shape.
Cut the green parts
The dark green stalks are the most popular part of the green onion. It has a very delicate onion flavor without tasting overly pungent or sulfurous. It’s ideal for adding a fresh herbaceous taste and bright green garnish to make a dish pop with color.
Sliced green onions can be cut in various ways. Make slices crosswise to create tiny rings. Make a bias cut to create a more dramatic angled appearance. I often do this for Chinese recipes, especially stir-fries. Cut into long tube pieces, about 1 inch, to add to cooked dishes, like chow mein.
Cut the pale green parts
The pale green stem between the white bulb and the darker green stem can add flavor to recipes. Its more firm, with layers of onions. It’s the perfect hybrid in taste, adding a balance of delicate and aromatic onion. Slice the paler green and white parts to add to cooked dishes. The flavor is a bit strong eaten raw as a garnish.
Uses: Cook them for soups, stews, braises, or rice dishes.
Cut the white bulb
Green onions have a slender white bulb that is undeveloped and not as large as traditional onions. Don’t let it go to waste! It’s a milder and sweeter flavor, like shallots, giving a strong allium taste to dishes like stir-fries, soups, and stews. Cut the bulb into thin slices, then mince to use in recipes.
Uses: Cook to add a delicate onion taste to soups, stews, pasta, or sauces.
Storing green onions
- Whole Stems: Add the bunch stem-side down in a glass filled with 1 to 2 inches of water. Loosely cover the green stems with a plastic bag. Alternatively, wrap the stem end in a damp piece of paper towel and place it in a large plastic bag, do not close it. Refrigerate for about 2 weeks or until wilted.
- Cut Green Onions: Place sliced onions in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. They will start to wilt because of the thin hollow stems. It’s best to use the same day as slicing for a more crisp texture. Greens can be stored in a bag, frozen for up to 6 months, and used in cooked dishes.
More ways to use green onions
- Use as a garnish for poke bowls, Thai salad, or fried rice
- Mix in slices for tuna salad or chicken salad
- Add it to garlic bread paste
- Add large pieces to pad Thai or chow mein
- Make spinach dip or seven-layer dip
- Add to a Denver omelet, quiche, or sweet potato hash
Frequently asked questions
Both are immature onions and have a similar delicate allium flavor compared to traditional large onion bulbs. Scallions tend to have a more narrow bulb, whereas green onions have a more oblong shape. It all depends on when they are harvested. They can be used interchangeably.
Spring onions have large white bulbs at the end of the stalk. They have a sweeter taste in the bulbs compared to large onions. The green parts are more intense in flavor than green onions or scallions. They are great for roasting, grilling, or used like pearl onions in stews and braises.
Spring onions will have a stronger allium flavor, so if used raw in recipes, it’s better not to swap. If cooked, the sulfurous notes will mellow out, making it easier to substitute, especially the white parts and bulb.
The white stem and connecting bulb have a more oniony flavor that’s crisp, sweet, with a hint of sulfurous notes. The green stems are thin with a more grassy and peppery bite. The pale green parts have a balanced flavor of both parts.
How to grow green onions from cuttings
For an endless supply, you can regrow green onions in a glass of water on the countertop. Leave the root intact, and slice right above where the green stalks grow from the white-rooted base. Add it to a jar with about 1 inch of water, adding more as needed. Place in an area with indirect sunlight. After a week, you’ll notice the dark green stalks will continue to grow. In 2 to 3 weeks, they will be ready to use.
How to Cut Green Onions
- 1 stalk green onion
- Prep the Onions – Remove any wilted outer leaves. Rinse the stalks under cool running water. Dry with a clean towel.
- Trim – Use a chef's knife to trim off the roots from the white bulb end. Turn and trim off any browned stalks from the dark green tips.
- Cut the Green Parts – Slice the darker green stems crosswise to make rings, or cut on a bias to create angled pieces. Alternatively, cut to 1 to 2 inches for long pieces. The cuts can be made all the way down to the thicker pale green parts for a stronger onion taste. This can be eaten raw or cooked.
- Cut the White Parts – Slice the thin white bulb towards the bottom of the stem into slices, or mince it into smaller pieces. This is best used in cooked dishes.
- Yield: One green onion stalk yields about 2 tablespoons of slices. Bunches typically contain 3 to 5 stalks.
- Storing: Store stalks stem side down in a glass filled with 1 to 2 inches of water, and cover the stems with a plastic bag. Alternatively, wrap the root ends with a damp paper towel and store them in an open plastic bag. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks. Store sliced onions in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, or freeze for up to 6 months to use in cooked dishes.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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