Learn how to cut green onions for use in any dish. Whether they’re a main ingredient or a simple garnish, scallions add a nice pop of texture, flavor and color to any dish. This step by step guide will teach you how to properly wash, trim, chop and slice green onions for their many uses.
I use green onions often in my cooking. They’re great for a milder onion taste and so versatile. As someone that is not a fan of raw regular onions, I don’t mind the more subtle taste of raw scallions (an interchangeable name for green onions) making them a staple in my refrigerator.
How To Cut Green Onions
Step 1: Wash
All onions grow in dirt and because green onions are not protected by the paper-like outer layers of regular yellow or red onions, they tend to be dirtier.
Remove the dirt by rinsing and gently scrubbing under cool water with your hands.
This preparatory step also helps in step two which is removing the outer layers.
Step 2: Remove Outer Layers
You’ve probably noticed that the outer layer, especially close to the root end of the green onions tends to get “slimy”. This slimy or soft outer layer and any other wilting or yellowing outer leaf should be pulled off the onion.
To do this, find the top and pull down toward the root end. They should pull off easily and unveil a firmer layer underneath.
Step 3: Cut Off The Ends & Trim Tops
Every part of the green onion is edible. Unlike leeks, where you tend to only use the white and light green parts, the entire length of the green onion can be used, except the roots.
So before cutting the onion for use in whatever recipe you’re making, it’s important to chop off the ends just above the stringy roots.
This can be done individually if you’re only using one or two green onions or as a bunch.
To cut off the ends of an entire bunch of green onions, arrange them on a cutting board so that all the ends are together in an even line. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice down across all the onions right above the root.
The tops of green onions can also usually benefit from a little trim. Unless the onions are very fresh from a farmer’s market, they’ll likely look a but wilted and older at the tops. If so, do the same thing and trim 1/4″ or so off using a sharp knife until you get to a portion of the stalk that’s firm and dark green.
Step 4: Chopping Green Onions
There are a few different methods to consider when cutting green onions and most come down to how you plan to use them.
The white section is milder in flavor while the darker green is a bit stronger. Because of this, you’ll sometimes want to separate the whiter portion from the darker green in a recipe.
If so, simply find the point on the green onion where the color shifts (it’s also where the white base of the onion splits into multiple green stalks) and slice in half at this point. From there, you can chop or slice each section as desired.
No matter which type of cut you decide on, two things are essential when cutting green onions: a sharp knife and using a smooth circular motion to cut.
Dull knives will bruise the produce and create tearing. A sharp chef’s knife and a smooth motion where the tip of the knife never leaves the cutting board ensures that the cut will go all the way through the onion producing clean edges and lessening any resistance while chopping.
Option 1: Regular Chop
Chopped green onions are probably the most common cut. This can be done as thick or thin as desired.
Below you’ll see a relatively medium-sized chop. This would be good for recipes where the onions cook down a for a bit of time, like a stir-fry.
A finer chop is typically utilized when the green onions are used as a garnish. For example, on top of this General Tso shrimp recipe.
Option 2: On The Bias
Chopping green onions on the bias, which simply means on an angle, is another type of cut that can be employed.
To do this, angle the knife in relation to the onions. Instead of the onions being at a 90° angle to the knife when chopping, hold them at a 45° degree angle. This will result in a slanted cut.
There’s no benefit to slicing scallions on the bias, it’s purely for presentation purposes.
Option 3: Thin Curly Strips
This is not a very popular cutting method but it can be striking in presentation, especially soups. As shown in this hot and sour egg drop soup, small sections of the green onion can be sliced lengthwise. This produces thin strips with a slight curl to them.
This type of chop can be used both as a garnish or for cooking. Again, there is no taste difference in doing so, it’s solely visual aesthetics.
Prepping & Storing Chopped Green Onions
If you like to prep produce directly after shopping, green onions are great for that. Everything discussed in this article from washing, trimming to chopping can be done ahead of their planned use.
Store the chopped onions in either a baggie or air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The prepped onions can also be frozen easily. Make sure they’re completely dry from washing before doing so. Store in an air-tight container for up to a few months.
If not prepping the onions before storage, wrap the root ends in a damp paper towel to keep fresh for use.
Regrowing Green Onions
Did you know green onions are one of many produce items that will regenerate? Bok choy, celery, carrot greens and cabbage are a few others.
To do this, take the root ends (it’s best to chop off the roots leaving at least 1″ of stalk above it) and place in a shallow dish or bowl of water. The roots should be completely submerged.
Set the dish in a warm spot with plenty of light and change out the water daily. Within a week, you will start to see stalks gradually regrowing. At this point, the onions can be replanted in dirt or left in water and used as desired.
This process can usually be done about three times before needing to start fresh with a new green onion root.
PIN FOR LATER
Some Ideas For Using Green Onions
How To Cut Green Onions
- 1 bunch of green onions
- sharp chef’s knife
- Gently rinse and scrub off any dirt from the stalks and bulb of the onions.
- Peel off any slimy or wilted outer layers.
- Using a sharp knife, cut off the root end about 1/4" above the string roots. Turn the green onions around and do the same for the top ends of the onions.
- Arrange the green onions so they're all in an even line then chop as desired into a fine chop, thick chop or angled chop using a smooth circular motion with the knife. The knife should be held at a 90° angle to the scallions for regular chops or a 45° angle for an angled/on the bias chop.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Watch the web story to learn more – Step By Step Guide: How To Cut Green Onions
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.