Knowing how to cut green onions is one of the most useful skills a home chef can have— especially if you love Asian cuisine. Green onions (also known as scallions) can be eaten raw, cooked alongside other ingredients, or sprinkled on top as a garnish to add a bit of color, flavor, and texture. They're a wonderful addition to all your favorite dishes!
Below, we've listed step-by-step instructions for how to cut green onions. And by the end, you'll know exactly what style of green onion slices is right for your recipe of choice.
What are green onions?
Green onions— sometimes referred to as scallions or spring onions— are actually just baby onions. These long green stalks and small white bulbs would grow into a full-sized onion if they weren't picked early. The best part is, cutting green onions won't cause you to tear up.
The entire green onion is edible, and they offer a mild onion flavor that enhances a variety of cuisines and popular dishes. The white portion towards the base typically has a more intense flavor than the green tops. You'll find chopped green onions used in everything from stir-fry dishes, scallion pancakes, ramen, salsas to cheddar rolls.
How to Cut Green Onions
There are a number of different ways to cut whole green onions. The right chopping method depends almost entirely on your intended end-use, with a bit of personal preference factored in, too, of course. While simple chunks may hold up well during cooking, they aren't the right size to use as a garnish. Instead, you'll want to slice them into thin strips or rounds. Be sure to check what style the recipe calls for before you start showing off your knife skills.
Before you get ahead of yourself and start chopping away, head to the sink and give your green onions a thorough rinse. Grab out your cutting board and a sharp knife while they air dry on a paper towel.
Next, cut off the roots and the top inch or two of each stalk. Peel off any wilted or damaged areas and discard the unused parts in your compost bin. You'll want a clear cutting board with plenty of room to chop.
Sliced into Rounds
Garnishes and Cooked Dishes
The easiest (and the most popular) way to chop green onions is to slice them into small circles. This small size is incredibly versatile and can be used in almost all your favorite recipes.
To cut green onions into rounds, hold the scallions steady with your non-dominant hand and chop the scallion about 1/8- to 1/4 inch thick using a large chef's knife. Avoid crushing the green ends by using a gentle slicing motion instead of chopping straight up and down.
Cut on the Diagonal
Salads and Garnishes
Wondering how to cut green onions as a ramen garnish or decorative topping for your go-to dish? Try slicing them on the diagonal. Not only are these thin shreds more interesting-looking than simple rounds, but their small size also makes their sharp flavor a little less potent.
To create the thin strips, you'll need to hold the knife close to parallel with the green onion. It may take a few slices to find the perfect angle. While you can cut your green onions as thick or as thin as you'd like, most chefs aim for the thinnest strands possible.
Chopped into Chunks
Stir-Fries and Sheet Pans
Roughly chopped green onions are a no-brainer for roasted vegetables, stir-fries, and sheet pans. The large size holds up well during longer cooking periods and adds a nice pop of flavor to your dish. After chopping off the ends, cut the scallion into inch-long chunks, and voila!
Marinades and Toppings
Green onions are a great way to add a little zing to homemade marinades, rubs, and salad dressings. If you plan on using your scallions in a sauce or topping, take the time to finely mince them into tiny, uniform pieces.
First, slice the scallion into thin rounds. Small, uniform slices at this stage make it easier to achieve an even mince. Then, continue chopping the rounds into smaller and smaller pieces until they reach your desired size.
Minced green onion can also be used as a garnish on soups, stews, salads, and meat dishes.
Baking and Roasting
Slicing your green onions in half lengthwise can create an interesting pattern on the top of quiches, tarts, and other savory baking. Or chop them in half again and toss them in a roasting pan with meat, potatoes, and vegetables.
Just the Ends Off
If you plan on grilling your green onions (which we highly recommend trying), it's best to leave them whole. The already-thin stalks will easily slip between the grates when chopped, especially if you aren't using a grilling basket or tin foil for added security. Snip off the ends using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, gently rub them in olive oil, and sprinkle on a dash of salt before they hit the grill.
Tips for Cutting Green Onions
While chopping green onions is a relatively straightforward task, using the right tools and techniques can make all the difference. Here are few tips on how to cut green onions:
- Stick to a Large, Sharp Knife— Using a well-sharpened chef's knife helps prevent crushing or tearing the delicate green part of the green onion.
- Be Gentle to Avoid Crushing Delicate Scallions— Instead of chopping straight up and down, use a gentle slicing or rocking motion to avoid damaging the delicate stems.
- Chop Carefully to Avoid Cuts— Green onions' small size and slippery texture can lead to slips, nicks, and cuts. Chop slowly and carefully to keep your fingers safe.
- Start with Quality Produce— Green onions should have bright green leaves and crisp white bulbs with the roots attached. Steer clear of any onions with limp leaves, yellow bulbs, or a slimy texture.
- Begin at the Bulb End— It's far easier to start at the white bulb and work your way towards the green tops, especially if you're trying to slice green onions into super thin rounds.
- Store Green Onions in Water— The best storage method for keeping your fresh green onions crisp is to submerge the roots and bulbs in a jar of water. Change the water every few days to keep your onions fresh.
- Store Cut Scallions in an Airtight Container— Leftover sliced green onions can be stored in an airtight Tupperware or Ziploc bag to be used in future green onion recipes. With proper storage, green onions will stay fresh for three to four days once cut.
- Freeze Green Onions for Easy Use Later— If you aren't able to use all your cut scallions in time, you can place your leftovers in a freezer-safe bag to use later in a stir-fry or cooked dish. They'll stay fresh in the freezer for a few months.
- Clean Cutting Boards Before Slicing Anything Else— Just like regular onions, green onions can leave behind a lingering flavor on your cutting board. Be sure to clean it thoroughly before cutting anything else to avoid adding an unwanted oniony flavor.
How to regrow Green onion?
Did you know you can grow your own green onions using the roots of your store bought ones? All you have to do is save the white part with roots and leave them in a cup of water near a window. In a few days, you will notice new growth coming out, and you can continue to leave it in water or place it in the soil.