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

Green Onions/Chives/Scallions Getty 8/28/19

Scallions, green onions, chives: These are terms that are often thrown around when a recipe is in need of a little flavor and greenery. But how similar are they—and are they interchangeable?  

What Are Scallions (Green Onions)?

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Scallions and green onions are the same exact thing—the only difference is how they’re labeled in the produce section. For the purposes of this article, however, we’re going to call them scallions. 

Scallions are young onions that are related to garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives. They have the sharp, aromatic flavor of regular onions, but are slightly milder. They’re not the same thing, but—in a pinch—scallions can be used in place of chopped onions in a recipe.   

Scallions, which are grown in bunches, have tender green leaves with stiff white stalks, stringy white roots, and no bulb.

Though they’re perfectly tasty when fresh in salads, salsas, or sauces, they can be cooked and used in anything from stir-fries to pancakes. 

Scallion Recipes

  • Grilled Spice-Rubbed Pork Chops with Scallion-Lime Rice
  • Mushroom-Potato Tacos with Scallion Relish
  • Crispy Fish with Scallions and Peppers

What Are Chives? 

Twice Baked Potatoes With Fontina and Chives image

Twice Baked Potatoes With Fontina and Chives image

Chives, also in the onion family, are used as herbs. They have long, hollow green stems that are usually eaten fresh. 

While they do have a somewhat onion-y taste, chives are much less pungent than onions and even milder than scallions. 

Chive stems are much narrower than scallion stems, which makes them a great option for garnishing. For instance, you’ll often find chives on baked potatoes, omelets, and soups. They’re also commonly mixed with cream cheese and spread on top of bagels. 

Chive Recipes

  • Twice Baked Potatoes With Fontina and Chives 
  • Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits
  • Chive-Radish Compound Butter

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