What Is the Difference Between Chives vs Green Onions?

What the heck is the difference between chives vs green onions, anyway? And for that matter, are scallions the same thing as green onions or not? These are the questions that plague us all when we first open up a recipe book and look for flavorful recipes for things like baked potatoes or mashed potatoes, stir fry, and various sautéed meals. We're here to let you know that while all three might appear to be in the same onion family, chives, greens onions, and scallions are all just a little bit different, and are best used for different cooking needs.

Are Chives vs Green Onions Different?

Chives -- scientific name Allium schoenoprasum -- are herbs with long, green stems, according to EatingWell, and are usually used for flavoring a dish when the other steps of cooking it are done, or it can act as a garnish. Fresh chives have green leaves and are a different species than green onions and scallions, and the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts says they are "essential to french haute cuisine." Fancy.

There are also garlic chives, which are -- you guessed it! -- more garlicky than regular ones, which have a more oniony flavor. Garlic chives are also known as Allium tuberosum or Chinese chives.

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While chives are related to onions, they are not really the same. Their bulbs are usually removed before you'll ever see them in the grocery store here in the United States, but if you grow them yourself, you'll spot them. And if you're looking for a snack to use them with, chives are especially delicious in sour cream dips!

Are Green Onions and Scallions Different?

Scallions and green onions can be switched out in recipes because they are much more similar. Scallions are young onions that have been harvested early before it has a bulb, according to Taste of Home. They come from the same genus and species -- Allium fistulosum. They are also known as Japanese bunching onions or Welsh onions, according to Chowhound. The white stalks of scallions have a stronger flavor like onions, but the leaves are milder.

Green onions are actually composed of different types of onions and are related to leeks, shallots, and garlic. They are pulled from the ground early, before developing too much of a bulb, and spring onions grow for longer.

Green onions and scallions have a more mild onion taste, particularly when cooking with them rather than regular onions. Green onions can be prepared as part of many side dishes and scallions are a great addition to soups.

When in doubt, follow a recipe to figure out which onion flavor will fit your dish the best.

Watch: How to Chop an Onion the Easy Way

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