In this in-depth guide, I will show you 2 ways how to cut green onions. Each of these methods is extremely handy in your kitchen and can be just the thing you need to elevate the flavor and visual appeal of the dish!
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What Exactly Are Green Onions?
Green onions are sold under a couple of different names, which is why so many people still don’t know exactly what they are. You will also find them referred to as “spring onions” or “scallions.” Keep in mind that they are not the same as shallots.
These onions are very unique as compared to others of the same genus. Most onions have large, fully developed bulbs and are sold without any of their leaves.
Green onions, on the other hand, don’t have these fully developed bulbs. Instead, their bulbs are quite small and very pale in comparison. You will also see that these bulbs don’t have a dry layer covering them. That’s because spring onions, or green onions, are sold fresh and are never dried.
Another feature that makes these onions unique is that they are sold with their green leaves which grow directly from the bulbs. These leaves are just as edible as the bulbs and frequently used in food.
Green onions have a much less oniony flavor. They are super refreshing and not nearly as spicy as, for example, red onions. They still have that unique earthy undertone, and the fresh green leaves make them very herbaceous.
In terms of how they are used, it’s pretty much the same as regular onions. However, the more common functions include being an aromatic ingredient or freshly sliced aesthetic garnish.
What Part Of The Green Onion Do You Use?
Next to “how to cut green onions,” the next big question is, “What part of the green onion do you eat?”
The amazing thing about this specific onion is that every part is edible. But every section of this onion has a different (or more appropriate) function in different scenarios.
The white bottom part of the onion (the undeveloped bulb) is often used in the same way regular onions are. It is super aromatic and will help give your food a richer, more savory flavor profile. It can also be eaten raw.
Then, you have the pale green part. It’s located above the white bulb and below the dark green leaves. It can also be used as a vegetable to add flavor to your cooked meals.
And finally, the fresh dark green leaves. These are often used as herbaceous additions to stews, soups, stocks, and broths. They don’t make beautiful garnishes, but that doesn’t mean they are useless. It’s a great example of how you can use every part of the vegetable in one way or another.
Ultimately, every part of a green onion is edible raw, and cooked. They just function better in some techniques than others.
How Much Of A Green Onion Do You Use?
Because the entire onion is edible raw, and cooked, you can use the entire thing!
But, in terms of how much you should be adding to your food, it depends on what you are trying to do.
Remember, just because it’s not as spicy as regular onions doesn’t mean it’s not still spicy. If you are using sliced green onions for garnish, don’t overdo it. For bite-sized canapes or appetizers, I would only add 2-3 thin slices.
However, in a salad, you can add freshly sliced scallions in much higher quantities. A regular salad can easily benefit from at least 1/2 cup of scallions. You will rarely see a recipe call for more.
In cooked recipes, you will likely use a lot more. You only use the white and pale green parts to help develop a savory flavor. Most recipes will call for between 4-6 spring onions, which will make about 1/2 to 3/4 cups depending on their size.
But at the end of the day, there isn’t an exact amount you are or aren’t allowed to use. It’s up to your preferences.
How To Cut Green Onions
Finally! What we are all here for; how to chop green onions.
Now, there are two techniques you can follow. The one you choose mainly depends on the part of the green onion you choose.
The dark green leaves will always be sliced. The pale green part (between the leaves and the bulb) will most likely also be sliced. But, depending on what you are using it for, it can also be diced (chopped).
The bulbous white part can be sliced or diced. You will more often than not slice spring onions. But, if the bulb is quite large, you may have to dice it instead.
Let’s first take a look at how to make sliced green onions.
Method 1: Slicing Green Onions
Many people think you can simply grab a bunch and start slicing. But that’s where you would be wrong. And, believe it or not, that’s where MANY people get sick from these onions.
Before we dive into how to cut green onions, you will need to clean them to remove any hazardous debris and rotting, spoiled parts.
Step 1: Remove Limp, Discolored, Or Rotting Leaves
Because you are working with an onion, the bulb and leaves grow in layers. Sometimes, the outer layers won’t look so great.
So, you can gently peel them off to reveal the fresher onion inside. They glide off quite easily.
Once peeled, it also makes it easier to remove the debris underneath the wilted layer.
Step 2: Clean The Onions
Start by rinsing the entire onion under cold running water. Make sure you remove any dirt, dust, and debris that are between the leaves. The bulb part is especially prone to “holding onto the dirt.”
Once they are rinsed off, give them a good shake to get rid of the excess water.
Step 3: Trim The Ends
As with all veggies, you shouldn’t eat the roots. They should be trimmed away.
You can either bunch up all your spring onions together and chop the ends off at once or do them individually. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this, and it depends on what you are comfortable with.
Don’t chop off too much of the bulb. You are then just wasting edible parts.
Step 4: Trim the tops
If you are planning on using the leafy parts of the spring onions, you can trim the tips off as well. They are usually shriveled, dried, or rotting as well.
Step 5: Slice The Green Onions
Grab the entire bunch of green onions and carefully start slicing them using a very sharp knife.
The motion you are going for is pushing forward and down. You are not chopping at them. Chopping crushes the onions which makes them lose flavor and their beautifully sliced shape.
Keep slicing until you have what you need. The white parts are best used for cooking and fresh garnishes. The leafy green parts are best used for soups and stews.
Method 2: How To Cut Green Onions To Make Diced Cubes
As I’ve mentioned above, you may need to dice the green onions if they are especially large or if you simply want a finer onion texture.
In this case, your cutting technique will differ slightly.
You still have to peel off any spoiled dark leaves, wash the spring onions under cold running water, and trim off the ends.
The big difference is the first cut. You will need to slice each green onion in half, lengthwise. This creates two half-moon pieces.
Only then can you grab the entire bunch and start slicing the pieces.
While you aren’t technically creating diced blocks, it’s as close to what you can get.
For an even finer cut, you can cut the green onions into quarters, lengthwise. So, after cutting the green onion into half-moon pieces, you cut each of these in two as well to create quarters.
If you are serving them as garnishes, don’t make them too thick, especially if they are going to be used on appetizers or starters.
For garnish, I would slice them into 0.07 to 0.1-inch (2 to 3-millimeter) slices.
If you are using sliced green onions in cooking, you can make them roughly 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in thickness.
It is very rare but there have been reports of people getting sick from uncooked green onions. If you properly clean your vegetables and only buy them from reputable suppliers, you shouldn’t worry too much.