All About Alliums

What is the difference between green onions, spring onions, and scallions? Can they be used interchangeably?

In the United States, green onions and scallions are two names for the same thing. We refer to them as scallions, as this is a slightly more widely used term.

Spring onions and scallions are species of the genus Allium, along with garlic, shallots, chives, ramps, and leeks. Scallions never form a bulb, so their white bases do not bulge. Spring onions look like scallions with small white bulbs; they are typically harvested in spring and are usually not available year-round.

We tried them both raw, roasted with oil and salt, in a compound butter (which we tossed with potatoes), and in our Honey-Scallion Barbecue Sauce (see related content).

They both tasted very similar. Tasters called both of them “strong and oniony,” with the scallions being slightly more pungent and reminiscent of raw onion than the spring onions. The spring onions, however, fared the best in our roasting tests because of their sweetness and slightly larger size.

You can use spring onions and scallions interchangeably in raw applications where they are chopped. But be careful about using them in cooked applications, as the smaller size of scallions may affect cooking times.


Scallions, aka green onions, are slender.

Spring onions have a small bulb.

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