How to Cut Green Onions (Scallions)

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Green onions (also known as scallions) are often used in recipes like stir-fry, ramen, and scallion pancakes. Both the intense white end and the milder green end are used in cooking.

Keep reading to find out the right way to cut green onions so you can use them effectively in your recipes.

Different Ways to Cut Green Onions

There are different ways to cut scallions; the best method will depend on the dish you’re making.

how to cut scallions into different shapes
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

1. The “Simple” Cut

The first cut is as simple as it gets. This option creates tiny “coins” of scallion, which are useful as garnishes or adding a pop flavor in cooked dishes.

Place the scallions on a cutting board. With your non-dominant hand, hold the scallions in place. Use your dominant hand to slide a sharp knife back and forth without pressing down. This is the best way to avoid crushing the scallions.

how to cut scallions into small circles
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

When using this method, the cut scallions should be about 1/8-inch thick. You can adjust the size according to your needs.

how to cut scallions into small circles
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

2. Make Scallion “Hairs”

The second method makes scallion “hairs.” This cut works well for salads or as a ramen garnish. Because the hairs are so fine, their flavor is slightly less intense than other cuts.

To make this cut, slice the scallions at an extreme slant. The knife should be almost parallel to the scallion.

how to slice green onions lengthwise
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

These fine scallion hairs can as thick or as thin as you’d like. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you achieve the look you’re going for.

a pile of sliced green onions
a Photo: Kirsten Nunez

3. Scallion Chunks

Lastly, you can cut scallions into simple chunks. These larger pieces, which can be sliced with a slanted or straight cut, are best for stir-fry dishes.

The chunks should be about 1/4- to 1/2-inch long.

a pile of cut green onions
a Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Expert Tip: Prepare Green Onions for the Perfect Cut

The first step to getting perfectly cut green onions is to select the right bunch.

Look for scallions with vibrant green leaves and roots still attached. Avoid flimsy, slimy scallions with discolorations.

Next, you’ll need to prep your green onions. Start by rinsing them under cool water. Remove any damaged or wilted parts.

Once they’re clean, place them on a cutting board and slice off the top 1 to 2 inches and discard.

cut off tips of green onions
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Next, cut just above the roots. (You can cut even lower than I did in this photo.)

cut off roots of green onions
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

How to Store Green Onions

Store your uncut, unprepared scallions in the refrigerator once you get them home. For best results, place the scallions in a jar with a few inches of water. You’ll want to make sure that the bulbs and roots are completely submerged.

how to store green onions (scallions)
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

With this storage method, your scallions should keep for 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

You can also freeze scallions for longer-term storage. If going this route, I recommend cutting them first, as thawed scallions are harder to cut.

Once cut, place the pieces a metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put them in the freezer until frozen. Store in a freezer-safe bag for 10 to 12 months.

FAQ

What part of the scallion do you use?

Most recipes call for the white and pale green sections of the scallion near the root end. These have the most intense flavor and are typically cooked along with other ingredients. The dark green part of the scallion can also be used but is typically utilized as a garnish because of its mild flavor.

How do you cut scallions so they keep growing?

To cut scallions so they keep growing all you need to do is cut off the plant about a half-inch above the soil. The leaves you took will begin regrowing within days. For store-bought scallions, you can place the cut-off root ends in water and put them on the windowsill to grow new scallions.

What part of scallions do you not use?

The only part of a scallion you don’t use is the root. You should cut your scallions just above the roots when preparing them for use. The rest of the scallion—white, light green, and dark green parts—can all be used in recipes.

What does “the white part” of a green onion refer to?

When a recipe calls for just the white part of the green onion, you should cut only the thick, solid stem portion. This will include all of the bottom white part up through most of the light green part. Once you hit the point where the green onion becomes hollow, stop cutting.

Are scallions the same as spring onions?

Not quite. Scallions, green onions, and spring onions are actually names for different growth stages of onion greens. You can learn more about what distinguishes them here.

how to cut scallions into different shapes
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

The Best Recipes to Enjoy Your Green Onions

Once you’ve learned how to cut scallions, you’re ready to add them to some recipes. Here are a few of our favorite dishes that benefit from the added zest green onions offer.

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Enjoy Perfectly Cut Green Onions Every Time

Once you know how to prepare and cut green onions, you’ll have no problem incorporating them into your cooking. Whether your recipe calls for the green onion “whites,” the greens, or the whole thing, use our tips above to get the perfect cut every time.

What is your favorite recipe to add green onions to? Let us know in the comments section below.

how to cut scallions

How to Cut Green Onions (Scallions)

Not sure how to best cut green onions (scallions) for best flavor and appearance? Check out these step-by-step instructions to learn the best way to cut scallions, green onions, or whatever you prefer to call them!
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
24 Ratings
Print Rate it Now Pin Recipe
Course: Knife Skills
Cuisine: Any
Keyword: cutting green onions, how to cut green onions, how to cut scallions
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 2kcal
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch green onions (scallions)

Instructions

  • Wash your green onions under cool water. Remove and discard damaged or wilted parts.
  • Place on cutting board. Using a large chef's knife, slice off the top 1-2 inches and discard.
  • Cut just above the roots and discard the root pieces.
  • Using the guide above, cut to the shape and size you like.

Recommended Tools & Products

Chef's Knife
Cutting Board
Cutting Board

Nutrition

Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!
Kirsten Nunez, MS

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3 thoughts on “How to Cut Green Onions (Scallions)”

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for this article, I never knew what scallions were and I have used them all my life. I’m 66 and I can’t wait to make scallion hairs! Proof that you’re never too old to learn every day!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    I did not know how much I did not know about green onions (scallions) until I read this article on green onions (scallions). Thank you for putting in the time and effort to make this info available to me (the Masses).

    Reply
  3. I keep a jar in the refrigerator with prepared scallions soaking in ice cold water. As I walk past I take out one scallion, dip it in salt that I’ve sprinkled in my off hand, and reward myself with a treat as I go about my business. I try not to do this more than 3 or 4 times a day. It is a better “snack” than candy or cookies…and, frankly it just tastes good.

    .

    Reply