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Jan 16, 2009 01:24 PM

Scallions vs Green Onions

I know they are slightly different, but all I ever get in my town are green/spring onion never scallions which are always what every recipe calls for.
Is there a difference in taste?
Is one stronger than the other?

Edited to correct stupidity

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  1. Shallots look like oval shaped copper onions; the flesh is white and purple, and have a more delicate and almost musky and nutty scent to them, making them perfect for salad dressing. They're found near the bulk onions or in mesh bags.

    Fried plastic jars of shallots can be found in Asian markets, used like Durkee Fried Onions, but usually topping soup or rice.

    I think you may be thinking of green onions versus chives? Chives are the smaller, more grass-like versions which are snipped finely and have a sharper taste than green onions.

    Edit: shallots and green onions are NOT the same thing and don't look alike!
    scallions and green onions are the same thing:

    2 Replies
    1. re: Caralien

      Thank you. I feel like an idiot. I meant to ask about green onions and scallions, not shallots. Mind cramp...too many habaneros. :)

      1. re: billieboy

        Same thing, just depends where in the country you are. Thats ok.

    2. Scallions and green onions are essentially the same thing. Shallots are more like small bulb onions, usually 2 'cloves' to a bulb. The wiki article on shallots does point out that in some countries (Austrailia) 'shallot' does mean the same thing as green onion, but I think most 'gourmet' recipes have the bulb in mind.

      If a recipe called for a shallot, and I didn't have any, I'd substitute a small onion, about an 1" in diameter, or equivalent diced.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        Scallions and green onions are essentially the same in taste, at least as far as I can see, what I do really like to cook with though, is the escallion. Pronounced scallion but tastes way better. It makes a great rub for bbq. Not easy to find outside of a West Indian store but worth looking for.

      2. Shallots are part of the onion family, but milder and have a sweeter flavor with a hind of garlic. I use those many times when I don't want a strong onion flavor.

        Green onions or scallions are stronger and I like to use them when I only need a small amount of onion and also I enjoy using the greens for a very mild taste and the color is a nice addition to the recipe. Scallions have a much stronger flavor.

        I cook with shallots as often as possible in sauces, dressings, salads where a more delicate flavor is required.

        1. This confused me for the longest rime.
          I grew up in New Orleans where scallions were called shallots, a total misnomer because shallots are really a small mild onion bulb. But try to tell that to your mother! They're also called green onions so Mama and I compromised.
          So watch out for recipes from Louisiana - you never know what those folks mean! They rarely use true "shallots."

          I did later find out that green onions and scallions ARE two different things when I started growing several types of onions in my vegetable garden.
          True scallions don't form bulbs. They stay straight.
          Green onion are the immature sprouts or "spring onions" - before the bulb begins to develop from the onion "sets" which is what onion "seeds" are called. You'll often see them in markets with a bulb that has begun to form which would grow into a big onion if left in the ground.
          The green onion is the strongest of the three.

          Vegetable garden catalogues are a great place to learn about food. There are many, many more varieties in there than you are ever likely to see in any markets but you'll get the idea about the variations among different types of produce, learn when the season are, etc. Some even have good recipes.
          I learned a lot once I started tending a veggie garden and buying seeds.

          1. Some use the terms “spring onions” and “green onions” interchangeably and say the scallion is a thinner, sweeter sister to the two. Others use the terms “scallions” and “green onions” interchangeably. The difference among them is the increase in the size of the bulb, the scallion being the thinnest and the spring onion being the largest with the green onion between the two.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JoanN

              of late I've been finding 'mexican salad onions' which have green top of scallions, but a bulb about an inch in diameter.

              Then in Asian markets you can find a much longer green onion about a half inch in diameter. And in parts of Spain they grow a large spring onion, upto an inch in diameter, specifically for grilling and eating dipped in Romesco (calcots).

              1. re: JoanN

                Also another distinguishing factor is shape. True scallions are straight, green/spring onions are curved.