Scallions vs. Green Onions: What's the Difference?

Are scallions and green onions the same thing? Let's clear up the confusion.

It happens all the time: A recipe calls for green onions, but when you get to the grocery store all they have are scallions (or vice versa). They look the same, and they smell the same, but are they actually the same thing? If you use scallions in your recipe instead of green onions, is your recipe going to taste off? We did some research and got to the bottom of this conundrum — here's what you need to know.

The Difference Between Scallions and Green Onions

Most of the time, scallions and green onions are the exact same thing, but there can be a technical difference between the two. This difference can be boiled down to what type of species the green onion is grown from (a bulb-producing onion or a non bulb-producing onion). But the short answer is: For all intents and purposes they are the same thing.

Here's the nerdy answer in case you're interested: Scallions are a part of the genus and species Allium fistulosum, which is also referred to as the Japanese bunching onion. This specific species of onion doesn't form a bulb.

Green onions, on the other hand, can be another name for a scallion (like how rectangles can be squares). But they can also be an Allium cepa, which is the latin name for those red and white onion bulbs you picture when you're told to chop an onion (also called a "bulb" onion). In this case, it just means that your green onion was harvested early before the white onion bulb was formed. Most of the green onions you'll find at the grocery store are Allium fistulosum.

Both green onions and scallions look exactly alike: they have long, hollow green stalks and a small white stems. Both have a more mild taste than regular onions. But if a green onion is an Allium cepa, then it might have a stronger taste than a scallion (this is the only difference you might notice while cooking).

Can Scallions and Green Onions Be Used in Place of One Another?

In case this wasn't already clear: Yes! Go ahead and grab that bunch of scallions even though the recipe asks for "green onions." Hurray!

How Do You Buy and Use Green Onions and Scallions?

When you're buying green onions or scallions, look for brightly-colored leaves that have a firm stem. Avoid the wilted or slimy looking options at the grocery store.

You can use both the green and white part of a scallion in your cooking. The white part of the scallion will have a slightly stronger flavor than the green part.

To prepare the scallion, cut off the root near the white stem, and then cut an inch of two off the top of the green stalks. Unless otherwise specified, you can then slice the rest of the scallion and add to your recipe. Scallions can be used raw or cooked.

Recipes That Use Scallions and/or Green Onions

Ready to try out some recipes that use this much-beloved Allium? Here's a few things we're loving right now.

Sausage and Scallion Egg Muffins
Soup Loving Nicole


Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love