Recipes

How to Cut Green Onions with Step by Step Instructions

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Last Updated: Nov 2, 2021

You’ve no doubt tasted green onions or used them in your cooking to add that crunchy, mild onion and peppery flavor. Extremely popular in Asian, Indian, and Mexican food, green onions, also known as scallions, are a close relative to other similar fresh vegetables like garlic, shallots, leek, chives, and Chinese onions. But don’t mistake them for spring onions that have larger bulbs and are sweet.

Now that you know the difference between green onions and spring onions let’s dive into how to slice scallions, where to make the first cut, and what parts of the green onion to use.

What to do before you cut green onions

Before you start cutting the scallions for your recipes, you must prep the onions using these two steps:

1. Prep the green onions

Rinse the green onions under cool running water. Remove any wilted or damaged parts and slimy skin on the white parts. Place the scallions on a cutting board and slice 1-2in from the top. Discard or throw into your compost pile.

2. Cut above the roots

Slice the green onions above the roots using a chef’s knife, separating the green stalks from the white bulbs.

Don’t throw away the rooted bulbs, as you can use these to grow more green onions. All you need to do is put the roots in a glass of water (root side down) and leave it near a window for a few days. Change the water frequently, and in about 3 days, you will have new green onion shoots.

How to slice green onions

The entire green onion is edible, from the white portion to the green parts. Depending on the recipe and if you’re using it as an ingredient or a garnish, green onions can be cut in three basic ways.

Let’s look at these three methods:

Method 1: Thin Slices

Hand cut Scallions on wooden cutting board.

Place the onions on a cutting board. Hold the scallions in place gently with the fingers of your non-dominant hand, and slice the green onions. Use a sharp knife and slide the blade back and forth without pressing too hard, or it will crush the onions.

Cut green onions into thin slices, creating tiny rings. These rings can be small or long slices. Use the circular slices to garnish recipes and add a pop of fresh, pungent flavor to foods, like soups, fried, and sautéed dishes.

Method 2: Curled Cuts

Hold the knife parallel to the green stalks and slide the knife down to cut the green onions into thin wispy scallion “hair.” But you can make the slices as thin or thick as you like depending on your recipe.

Instead of cutting parallel to the green onions, you can also cut at a slight diagonal angle to cut long thin strips known as shredded or curled cuts. Place the strips in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes, and they will curl up. Drain and pat dry before using.

These slender slices of green onions have a less intense flavor than when they are cut in other shapes. They are great for garnishing food, in salads, and are a must for most Asian food.

Method 3: Decorative Slices

Cut the scallions into larger chunks, about 1in or smaller. You can cut them straight at a 90-degree angle or use a bias slice to cut green onions at a 45-degree angle, giving you some decorative slices for your recipe.

Bias-cut green onions also have more surface area, making them ideal for stir-fries and skillet-based meals.

The white and light green parts of the scallion are used when you are cutting this way. But the green leaves can also be biased-cut and added to the recipe.

Method 4: Mincing green onions

Some recipes require mince green onions, usually as a garnish or for toppings.

Cut them in circular shapes to mince the scallions and then chop the onions further into smaller pieces.

How to cut green onions with a kitchen scissor

If you’re not handy with a knife, an easy way to cut green onions is to use kitchen scissors.

Simply hold a bunch in one hand and snip with the scissors. You can use the scissors to cut the scallions directly into the food and not use a cutting board at all.

How to make green onion flowers

Cut green onions into 5cm long pieces. Take each piece and use a scissor to cut 4-5 slits lengthwise. But remember not to slit through the entire length of the green onion piece.

The strips will start to curl up. Place in a bowl of cold water, and they will curl up like a flower, which you can use to decorate your food.

Storing chopped onions

Pre-cut green onions and store them for later. You can do this by filling up an air-tight container with chopped, cut, or sliced onions and storing them in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Quick tips when cutting up green onions

Chef chopping spring onions

Here are a few quick tips to make sure you cut green onions efficiently and safely.

  • Use a sharp knife to make quick cuts. Use a rocking motion to chop the green onion.
  • Use your non-dominant hand to hold the green onions in place. But don’t place your hands flat on the cutting board. Instead, curl up your fingers slightly under your hand when holding the onions. This way, you protect your fingers from cuts.
  • Cut lightly, and don’t crush the onions while holding them.

Chopped green onions are a must-have ingredient

In most recipes, you will use the green onion’s white and pale green parts, but the dark green leaves make a delicious garnish. Simply slice them thin or in circles and sprinkle them on top.

It doesn’t matter which part of the green onion you use; you will get a beautiful spicy flavor, and your food will look fresh and mouthwatering. Green onions also make a great substitute for other fresh produce like chives, shallots, leeks, and onions, making them a must-have in your fridge.

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