Have you ever wondered how chives and green onions vary? It may seem funny but they’re a favorite among fresh herbs because of their mild flavor and I always seem to be wondering if I’ll get a similar flavor when I’m trying to make deviled eggs or mashed potatoes so I wrote this post
Maybe you like both of them or you’re always using one instead of the other in your cooking, without really wondering if you’re missing out.
Are chives and green onions the same?
Although you might think that chives and green onions are the same type of ingredient, they’re actually quite different in many subtle ways.
With that in mind, let’s explore what to know about chives and green onions. Which one should you use in your recipes and dishes?
Let’s find out if you should purchase chives or green onions the next time you go to the grocery store.
In the culinary world, chives are classified as a herb, which is why they are used as a garnish for dishes.
They are an essential part of classic French cuisine. Chives form part of the Allium genus family, which is a part of the onion family and why the tender green leaves have a mild oniony flavor. There are different species of chives, such as garlic chives.
Fresh Chives have long, thin green stalks with a hollow center. They grow in clumps and are usually the first herbs that appear in a spring garden.
Chives are bulbous perennials but you might not see the bulbs unless you grow them – these are removed before the chives are packaged and sent to grocery stores.
Chives taste a bit like onions, only milder. This is why they’re ideal for use in a variety of foods, such as omelets, soups, and salads.
They also won’t leave you with onion breath, which is a bonus.
Green onions (aka scallions) can also be called spring onions.
They are related to chives and leeks, but they are not herbs like chives. They are an onion species.
Just like with chives, you can find different variations of the green onion. They either take the young form of the Japanese bunching onion or the common bulb onion.
The difference between the two is that the Japanese bunching onion doesn’t develop white bulbs, while the common bulb onion will eventually grow full-sized onions.
Green onions are basically onions that are still very young as their bulbs have not had a chance to become larger. You can eat the thin green tops or small white bulbs of green onions; they are perfectly fine consumed raw or cooked.
They have long and hollow stems, white roots, and dark green leaves. They also tend to grow in clumps. They’re quite similar to chives, actually, because of how they taste like onions, only with a milder flavor.
As a result of their flavor, you can use green onions in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fries and salads.
You can see various similarities between chives and green onions, such as when it comes to their taste.
But there are quite a few important differences between them. Let’s explore them.
Chives have long and thin stems that are soft and green. Green onions, on the other hand, have thicker stems that are green towards the top and then become white at the bottom.
Chives are smaller than green onions. They are sold next to other herbs in the grocery store, usually in small boxes.
Green onions are sold in bunches in the produce aisle of your grocery store or supermarket. An easy way to spot them is by checking for their white bulbs with stringy white roots.
Chives are designed to be used as a garnish as they give a lovely pop of flavor and color to dishes. You shouldn’t use them in recipes that require you to cook them for a long period of time or at very high heat as they are delicate.
If you cook them, they can become bitter in flavor, so you want to avoid that.
Green onions can tolerate high heat a bit better than chives, so you can add them to recipes such as stir fries. If you want to ensure they maintain their crispness, add them towards the end of the cooking process to prevent them from becoming too soft.
Chives are soft and delicate. You can eat them raw or cooked. They can also be chopped into small pieces, and this is a good idea because it releases their onion flavor.
Chives are ideal when used as a garnish, like sprinkling chopped-up bits of them over baked potatoes. They also work really well in dips because they are not too strong.
As for green onions, they can also be eaten raw or cooked. Their green ends taste a lot like chives, so they make a great garnish. Their white part has a strong onion-y flavor so you can cook it like a regular onion or use it in stir-fries and sauces for extra deliciousness.
While both can be stored in the fridge, make sure you eat chives that you’ve bought at the grocery store within a day or two because they don’t keep well in the fridge.
Green onions last for a longer time. You can use them for up to a week after purchasing them, as long as you keep them in the fridge.
Pro tip: Whether you have green onions or chives, try to increase their lifespan by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and putting them in an airtight container before storing them in the fridge.
Just make sure you don’t wrap them too tightly otherwise the moisture inside will accumulate and could produce mold that will make them deteriorate.
When it comes to nutrition, chives and green onions have similar health benefits.
One tablespoon of chopped chives gives you Vitamins A, C, and K, manganese, and folate. Chives also have an antioxidant called quercetin, which protects the heart. Since chives contain compounds like sulfur, it’s thought that they can prevent cancerous cells from growing or spreading in the body.
Green onions are also healthy for you. They contain nutrients such as Vitamin K, fiber, Vitamin C, and folate. Since they’re part of the allium family like leeks and onions, green onions can help to protect you against cancer.
Researchers have found that these vegetables contain compounds that protect against the disease, as there is a link between eating this fresh produce and having a lower risk for certain cancers, such as lung and prostate cancer.
Chives have more Vitamin A and C than green onions. That said, green onions contain more Vitamin E than chives.
In what types of cuisine are chives and green onions popular?
Typically, chives are a common ingredient used in French and Mediterranean cuisine.
Green onions are regularly used in Japanese and Mexican cuisines. They are a common ingredient used in Asian cooking as they are regularly added to delicious dishes, such as stir fries.
The great thing about these two types of ingredients is that you can swap one for the other, depending on what you have in your fridge.
This is thanks to their similar taste profiles. Chives are milder than green onions, so you will need to use more of them when using them as a substitute.
These types of chives have a strong garlic-like flavor. This makes them ideal in recipes when you want a burst of garlic, like lo mein or chow mein, and they’re perfect when you’ve run out of minced or fresh garlic.
Shallots have a stronger, bolder flavor than green onions. However, they are part of the allium family and are closely related to onions and chives.
If you love adding a bit of onion-like flavor to your dishes but you’re looking for a milder version of onions, then chives or green onions are both excellent options.
While it might have felt a bit confusing to know what the differences are between chives and green onions, now that you’ve read this article you know everything you need to know about them – and you’ll be able to spot them easily in the supermarket.
We’ve featured their similarities, differences, and nutrition profiles so you know which one to use depending on what you’re cooking at home.