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A bundle of "red scallions"
Alternative namesgreen onions, spring onions

Scallions (also known as green onions and spring onions) are edible vegetables of various species in the genus Allium. Scallions generally have a milder taste than most onions. Their close relatives include garlic, shallots, leeks, chives,[1] and Chinese onions.[2]

Although people use the bulbs of many Allium species as food, the defining characteristic of scallion species is that they lack a fully-developed bulb. Instead the Allium species referred to as scallions provide hollow, tubular green leaves growing directly from the bulb. These leaves are used as a vegetable and can be eaten either raw or cooked. Often the leaves are chopped into various dishes and used as garnishes.[3]

Etymology and names[edit]

The names scallion and shallot are derived from the Old French eschalotte, by way of eschaloigne, from the Latin Ascalōnia caepa or Ascalonian onion, a namesake of the ancient city of Ascalon.[4][5][6]

Various other names are used throughout the world to describe scallions including spring onion, green onion, table onion, salad onion, onion stick, long onion, baby onion, precious onion, wild onion, yard onion, gibbon, syboe (Scots) and shallot.


A germinating scallion, 10 days old
A close-up view of spring onions (note the larger bulbs)

Species and cultivars that may be used as scallions include

  • A. cepa
    • 'White Lisbon'
    • 'White Lisbon Winter Hardy' – an extra-hardy variety for overwintering
    • Calçot
    • A. cepa var. cepa – Most of the cultivars grown in the West as scallions belong to this variety.[7] The scallions from A. cepa var. cepa (common onion) are usually from a young plant, harvested before a bulb forms or sometimes soon after slight bulbing has occurred.
    • A. cepa var. aggregatum (formerly A. ascalonicum) – commonly called shallots or sometimes eschalot.
  • A. chinense
  • A. fistulosum, the Welsh onion – does not form bulbs even when mature, and is grown in the West almost exclusively as a scallion or salad onion. [8]
  • A. × proliferum – sometimes used as scallions[9]


Scallions generally take 7–14 days to germinate depending on the variety.[10]



Chopped scallions
A Korean haemulpajeon (seafood and scallion pancake)

Scallions may be cooked or used raw as a part of salads, salsas or Asian recipes. Diced scallions are used in soup, noodle and seafood dishes, sandwiches, curries and as part of a stir fry. In many Eastern sauces, the bottom half-centimetre (quarter-inch) of the root is commonly removed before use.

In Mexico and the Southwest United States, cebollitas (transl. little onions) are scallions that are sprinkled with salt, grilled whole and eaten with cheese and rice. Topped with lime juice, they are typically served as a traditional accompaniment to asado dishes.[11][12]

In Catalan cuisine, calçot is a type of onion traditionally eaten in a calçotada (plural: calçotades). A popular gastronomic event of the same name is held between the end of winter and early spring, where calçots are grilled, dipped in salvitxada or romesco sauce, and consumed in massive quantities.[13][14]

In Japan, tree onions (wakegi) are used mostly as topping of Japanese cuisine such as tofu.

In Nepal, scallion is used in different meat dish fillings like momo and choyla (meat intertwined with scallion and spices).

In China, scallion is commonly used together with ginger and garlic to cook a wide variety of vegetables and meat. This combination is often called the "holy trinity" of Chinese cooking,[15][16] much like the mirepoix (celery, onions, and carrots) in French cuisine or the holy trinity in Cajun cuisine. The white part of scallion is usually fried with other ingredients while the green part is usually chopped to decorate finished food.

In Vietnam, Welsh onion is important to prepare dưa hành (fermented onions) which is served for Tết, the Vietnamese New Year. A kind of sauce, mỡ hành (Welsh onion fried in oil), is used in dishes such as cơm tấm, bánh ít and cà tím nướng. Welsh onion is the main ingredient in the dish cháo hành, which is a rice porridge used to treat the common cold.

In India, it is sometimes eaten raw as an appetizer. In north India, coriander, mint and onion chutney are made using uncooked scallions. It is also used as a vegetable with Chapatis and Rotis. In south India, spring onions stir fried with coconut and shallots (known as Vengaya Thazhai Poriyal in Tamil and Ulli Thandu Upperi in Malayalam) are served as a side dish with rice.

Irish champ, served with gravy

In Ireland, scallions are chopped and added to mashed potatoes, known as champ or as an added ingredient to Colcannon.

In the southern Philippines, it is ground in a mortar along with ginger and chili pepper to make a native condiment called wet palapa, which can be used to spice dishes or as a topping for fried or sun-dried food. It can also be used to make the dry version of palapa, when it is stir fried with fresh coconut shavings and wet palapa.

At the Passover meal (Seder), Afghan Jews and Persian Jews strike one another with scallions before singing "Dayenu", thus re-enacting the whipping endured by the Hebrews enslaved by the ancient Egyptians.[17] [18]

Scallion oil is sometimes made from the green leaves. The leaves are chopped and lightly cooked, then emulsified in oil that is then used as a garnish.

Onions, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb), raw (Daily Value)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy133.88 kJ (32.00 kcal)
7.34 g
Sugars2.33 g
Dietary fiber2.6 g
0.19 g
1.83 g
Vitamin A equiv.
50 μg
598 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.055 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.08 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.525 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.075 mg
Vitamin B6
0.061 mg
Folate (B9)
64 μg
5.7 mg
Vitamin C
18.8 mg
Vitamin E
0.55 mg
Vitamin K
207 μg
72 mg
1.48 mg
20 mg
37 mg
276 mg
0.6 μg
16 mg
0.39 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water89.8 g

Link to USDA Database entry values are for edible portion
Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[19] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Block, E. (2010). Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science. Royal Society of Chemistry. ISBN 978-0-85404-190-9.
  2. ^ "AllergyNet—Allergy Advisor Find". Archived from the original on 15 June 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  3. ^ Rombauer, Irma; Rombauer-Becker, Marion; Becker, Ethan (2006). "Know Your Ingredients" (hardcover). Joy of Cooking. New York City: Scribner. p. 1004. ISBN 978-0-7432-4626-2.
  4. ^ "scallion", at Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective, 5 July 2006. Accessed 28 Feb 2024.
  5. ^ "shallot". New Oxford American Dictionary (Second ed.). Oxford University Press. 2005.
  6. ^ shallot. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  7. ^ Fritsch, R.M.; N. Friesen (2002). "Chapter 1: Evolution, Domestication, and Taxonomy". In H.D. Rabinowitch and L. Currah (ed.). Allium Crop Science: Recent Advances. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 0-85199-510-1.
  8. ^ Fritsch, R.M.; N. Friesen (2002). "Chapter 1: Evolution, Domestication, and Taxonomy". In H.D. Rabinowitch and L. Currah (ed.). Allium Crop Science: Recent Advances. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 0-85199-510-1.
  9. ^ Brewster, James L. (1994). Onions and Other Vegetable Alliums (1st ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 15. ISBN 0-85198-753-2.
  10. ^ "Learn About Scallions - Burpee". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  11. ^ Cebollitas, last retrieved 2012–09–01.
  12. ^ At the Nation's Table: Chicagoat New York Times Archives, last retrieved 2012–09–01.
  13. ^ "Els "Calçots"". Archived from the original on 10 March 2010.
  14. ^ Grilled Green Onions with Romesco, last retrieved 2012–09–01.
  15. ^ "Lecture Recap: Cooking Asian Produce with Dan Wu". 30 May 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  16. ^ "YEN CAN COOK ~ SPRING ONION GINGER OIL 万用葱油". 28 October 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  17. ^ "An Iranian Seder in Beverly Hills". The New York Times.
  18. ^ "Celebrating Passover through varied Customs around the Globe". Jewish Community Federation.
  19. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  20. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.