Chives vs Scallions vs Green Onions: What’s the Difference?

Knowing the difference between scallions vs green onions vs chives can bring bold, new flavor to your favorite dishes.

It turns out that knowing about chives vs scallions vs green onions isn’t just random chef trivia. Each one brings unique flavor and texture to your cooking, so knowing when to use which one can bring even better taste and smells to your kitchen.

Scallions vs. Green Onions

Scallions and green onions are often used interchangeably in recipes. They both add bold, fresh flavor to quick recipes like creamy green onion spread and scallion pancakes. So is there a difference between the two?

What are scallions?

Scallions are young onions that have been harvested early before the bulb forms. There are also varieties of scallions that come from “bunching onions” that never form bulbs. The flavor of the white stalks has an intense bite like onions, while the leaves have a more mild, fresh taste.

What are green onions?

Like scallions, green onions come from the Allium cepa species of onions and are harvested early. Green onions are known for their long, thin leaves and stiff, white stalks.

Learn more about different types of onions and when to use ’em.

Are scallions green onions?

Yes! Scallions and green onions come from the same species and can be cooked in the same ways. They can be used fresh as a topping or cooked as part of the meal.

When preparing scallions or green onions, avoid harsh chopping, as this can bruise the leaves. Instead, slowly slice a bunch of scallions using the entire blade of the knife. The white stalks can be finely chopped and tossed in a saute pan.

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Chives vs. Green Onions

Chives, green onions and scallions look alike on the grocery shelf but have unique characteristics. While chives and green onions can sometimes be substituted in recipes, you’ll need to make some adjustments to the dish.

What are chives?

Green onions and scallions come from the same onion species, while chives are considered an herb and come from a different species of plant. Chives have a bright, mild flavor and are a favorite topping for hearty breakfasts like a ham and Swiss omelet or simple appetizers like deviled eggs.

Chives are a bit more delicate than their onion cousins so cut them with sharp scissors to avoid bruising and store them in a cool, damp towel in the refrigerator.

Are chives green onions?

No, chives are not the same thing but can be used in many green onion recipes. Because chives have a milder flavor than green onions and scallions, you’ll need to use more of them when substituting in a recipe.

When making a fresh chive recipe, feel free to substitute green onions for the garnish. If the chives are baked into the dish like in flaky cheddar-chive biscuits, it’s best not to substitute. Next, take a look at these onion recipes.

Get Your Chive On!
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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.