Chives vs. Green Onions vs. Scallions – What’s the Difference

There are food items that are considered to be common ingredients in dishes made in many different cultures all over the world. Though a recipe calls for a specific item, sometimes it may be substituted with another ingredient thought to be similar enough. As a result, there is likely to be a large difference in the taste of the dish in comparison to the recipe from which it is made.

Chives, green onions, and scallions are brilliant examples of such foods. Many people tend to use them without fully understanding the differences between them and the flavors they contribute to each dish.

Whilst all the ingredients mentioned above have many similarities in their appearance and flavor, they each provide a subtle difference. This difference is key to making specific dishes taste the way they are intended to taste. As such, it is important to understand them to make amazing dishes that have an appropriate selection of ingredients.

In this article, we will also teach you how to correctly prepare all the ingredients mentioned so that you can easily make the most out of them.

What are the differences between scallions, green onions, and chives?

When making certain foods, it is important to use the correct ingredient listed in the recipe. Using a different ingredient, no matter how similar, can drastically change the flavor of your dish.

All the ingredients mentioned are easily obtainable and available in either your local market or your local grocery store. These ingredients can also be grown in your personal garden. Growing such ingredients will ensure that they are fresh and you may be able to save money in the long term. Organic vegetables are also be better for your health and retain all their delicious flavors and healthy nutrients.

For those who choose to use foods grown by hand, due to the flavor, it would be advisable to reduce how much you intend to use or the amount the recipe requires. This is so that you can make sure that the ingredients are not overpowering.

What would you say are the most significant elements in preparing food? Generally it is the texture of the food, the color of the ingredients and the flavor/taste.

Scallions, green onions, and chives all share similar qualities in terms of texture, color, and taste. All of them provide a rich, distinct flavor, a clear and crunchy texture, and are leafy and light green in color.

It is important to note which of these ingredients would balance out and improve a particular dish. Although they are similar, all of them have unique attributes that make brilliant additions to certain dishes and recipes.

When it comes to the health benefits provided by these ingredients, scallions, green onions, and chives are all rich in nutrients. This is particularly true when these ingredients are consumed prior to cooking.

When placed under heat, the nutrients provided by the ingredients are removed. Even when left out for long the nutrients are also diminished. This is true for many types of herbs, not just the mentioned ingredients.

To combat the reduction in taste, it is often the case that you will need to use a larger amount. In general, scallions, green onions, and chives are best consumed fresh and uncooked.

When it comes to their subtle differences, chives do tend to retain their taste for a longer amount of time. On the other hand, green onions and scallions develop an increasingly pungent flavor over time. For those who choose to purchase their ingredients in a supermarket, you must store them correctly to ensure freshness.


Chives have a similar taste to onions, though they have a milder taste in comparison to red or yellow onions, for example. They are related to garlic, leeks, and even shallots. When stored correctly, chives tend to remain fresh for 10-14 days in total.

Chives are brilliant for salad dressings and dishes where the main ingredient involves eggs. This ingredient is also incredible when combined with soup-based dishes and potato-based dishes.

When it comes to sourcing the ingredient, while you can easily buy it at the supermarket, it can also be grown quite easily at home. They tend to grow quickly and show up in thick, leafy sections. This means that harvesting chives tend to be an efficient and simple process.

When chives begin to grow flowers also blossom on the plant. The flowers are typically light purple and are edible. The flowers provide a light flavor like that of onions.

Since the flowers are edible, it is possible to garnish your dish with them. However, it is important to make sure that you do not eat the stem. For those who want to achieve a much lighter taste, it may be advisable to choose a chive plant without the purple flowers.

Though small, chives offer plenty of nutrients. Fresh chives are rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins A, C, and K. Chives also contain calcium, potassium, and other nutrients essential for your body.

The amount of nutrition that chives can provide depends on where they are grown. The conditions of the soil can affect both the nutrient value as well as how well the chives grow. Chives tend to prefer locations with plenty of sun and well-drained soil (It may be advisable that you check the pH of your soil before you grow them).

Green Onions

Green onions are known by different names to many people and many areas. They are sometimes called ‘salad onions’ or even ‘spring onions’. Typically, green onions are used in various salad dishes and other recipes that require a light onion-like taste.

It is best to consume green onions fresh and uncooked. This is due to their mild flavor. The top section of green onions is light green and are amazing additions to dishes that require stir-frying or roasting. Alternatively, they can also be eaten completely fresh.

For those who choose to grow their own green onions right in their backyard, it is important to note that they will likely grow more effectively during the chillier months. When it comes to harvesting your green onions, make sure that the white bulbs at the bottom are completely firm.

Along with chives, green onions are also quite nutritious. They provide plenty of nutrients in the form of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Folate is the vitamin required for your DNA and red blood cells.

As with many vegetables, green onions that are personally grown in your own garden are going to be more nutritious. Freshly harvested green onions are packed with nutrition and are very fresh. In comparison to store-bought green onions, the ones that you choose to grow yourself are almost guaranteed to have a richer and fresher taste.

Whether you have bought or grown this ingredient, it is always important to ensure that it is fresh and ready to prepare.


Many people consider green onions and scallions to be the same, or at least similar enough that any distinction can be ignored. However, there are small, subtle differences between these two ingredients.

Scallions tend to bear a strong physical similarity to chives, whereas green onions appear to be much more mature in comparison. Green onions also have larger bulbs. As with the other ingredients mentioned, scallions are brilliant for use as either a garnish or as ingredients on their own.

To prepare scallions, you can simply slice the bulb and include a part of the stem. It is then a simple process to add to your dish.

Scallions, regardless of whether they have been prepared or intended to be consumed whole, offer a slightly stronger taste in comparison to chives or green onions. This taste is often likened to mature onions and can easily be included in certain dressings and dishes.

Scallions can also be consumed in their raw form, meaning that once harvested and cleaned, you can easily eat them without any other preparation. When it comes to growing this ingredient, it is more suitable to harvest them during spring.

For storing newly harvested scallions, the most suitable way is through wrapping them using a slightly damp paper towel. It is then recommended that you store them in a large (more specifically, tall) glass of water. The water must reach the middle of the glass.

Flavor Blending

For those who want to make a well combined and flavorful dish with the right amounts of onions and garlic, one can easily blend chives, scallions, and green onions. All these ingredients are rich in flavor without the taste feeling too overpowering.

The ingredients can give your dish the delicious flavor and aroma of garlic and onion without it being too strong. In comparison to directly adding large onions or even bulbs of garlic, these ingredients offer a more subtle addition that won’t overpower your dish.

Preparing and combining dressings, soups, and other such dishes becomes much less of a hassle with these ingredients. Going for a more subtle taste and smell is highly beneficial since it will likely cater to most people’s tastes. Since you are more likely to use less of the ingredient, it can also be much cheaper.

Without compromising on the taste, you can prepare dishes using these nutrient-packed ingredients. Giving you a healthy meal with a kick of flavor.

Many chefs and home cooks prefer to use fresh chives in many of their recipes. However, both green onions and scallions are also brilliant additions to recipes. All the mentioned ingredients can be eaten uncooked and therefore added to salads, soups, dressings etc.

Before you use the ingredient, rather than adding it to a dish straight after harvesting, it is best to first wash the ingredient. This will help to get rid of any dirt or other surface-level impurities on the actual ingredient.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Fresh Chives More Beneficial?
When freshly harvested from your personal garden, chives retain a lot of flavor, freshness, and nutrition. It is a simple process to store fresh chives so they will remain fresh for a suitable amount of time. Simply wrap them in a slightly damp piece of cloth and store them in the fridge.

Chives can also be placed in large, tall glass containers with only a little water. Remember that fresh chives are often much more flavorful when home-grown. As such it would be a good idea to use less in comparison to chives bought from the supermarket.

Is It Possible for Scallions and Green Onions to be ‘Too’ Ripe?

When it comes to acquiring your scallions and green onions, there are multiple places where you can purchase them. It is possible to buy them from stores, supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and even mini stands that sell vegetables.

Alternatively, you can also grow these ingredients. Whenever you decide to grow them, you know how old a certain item is, how fresh it is, what has been added, etc. In general, through growing scallions or green onions, you can ensure their quality. This is the case for both how nutritious it is and how it looks.

It is possible to tell whether green onions or scallions are ‘too’ ripe/mature. Their smell and how they feel can directly show how old they are. Often, an ingredient that is too ripe tends to give out a much more pungent odor.

An overly ripe product can also feel slimier and create a sort of clear/white liquid.

How To Store Scallions, Green Onions, And Chives?

The most effective way of ensuring that these ingredients retain their freshness is to store them properly. They tend to be well-stored in cool places such as the fridge. As previously mentioned, chives can either be stored in the refrigerator or glass of water.

Before you store them, it is also possible to prepare them. Alternatively, it may be better to store them whole. This will help to ensure that they are fresh for a longer period of time. Moreover, it can also help them to retain their nutrition.

In general, no matter how you acquire these ingredients, be sure that they are completely washed. This will get rid of any dirt or other such impurities on the surface of the produce. Lastly, make sure that you have dried them thoroughly before storing them.

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