Food and Drink

Scallions (in the US) vs. Springs Onions (in the UK): What’s the Difference?

spring onions and scallions

Scallions and spring onions: two peas in a pod, right? Well, not quite. While these two types of onions are very similar, there are a few key differences to be aware of.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at scallions and spring onions, comparing and contrasting their flavour, bulb size, edibility, common uses, and availability. So whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook just getting started, read on to learn everything you need to know about these two versatile ingredients.

What is a Spring Onion (UK)?

Spring onions are a type of onion that is harvested early before the bulb has fully developed. They have a long, slender green stem and a small, white bulb. 

The stem and bulb are both edible and have a mild onion flavour. Spring onions are popular in British cuisine and are often used in salads, soups, and stir-fries.

What is a Scallion (US)?

Scallions are also a type of onion that is harvested early. However, scallions typically have a smaller bulb than spring onions, and the bulb is often not eaten. 

Scallions have a long, slender green stem and a mild onion flavour. Scallions are popular in American cuisine and are often used as a garnish or condiment.

5 Differences Between Scallions (US) and Spring Onions (UK)

Here are five differences between scallions in the US and spring onions in the UK.

1. Taste

Spring onions have a slightly sweeter and more delicate flavour than scallions. This is because spring onions are harvested earlier before the bulb has fully developed. 

Scallions have a sharper and more pronounced oniony taste due to the higher concentration of sulfur compounds in the bulb.

The flavour and texture of both scallions and spring onions can also vary depending on the growing conditions. For example, scallions grown in cooler climates will have a milder flavour than scallions grown in warmer climates.

2. Bulb Size

Spring onions typically have a larger bulb than scallions. The bulb of a spring onion is about 1-2 inches in diameter, while the bulb of a scallion is about 1/2-1 inch in diameter.

3. Bulb Edibility

The bulb of a spring onion is edible and has a mild onion flavour. The bulb of a scallion is also edible, but it is often not eaten because it has a stronger onion flavour and can be tough.

4. Common Uses

Spring onions are often used in cooked dishes, such as salads, soups, and stir-fries. The entire spring onion, including the bulb and the stem, can be used. 

Scallions are often used as a garnish or condiment. The green stem of the scallion is typically used, while the white bulb is often discarded or used sparingly.

5. Availability

Spring onions are typically available year-round, while scallions are more seasonal and are typically only available in the spring and summer months.

Final Thoughts from UK vs. USA

Scallions and spring onions are very similar, but there are a few key differences to be aware of. If you’re looking for a sweeter and more delicate onion flavour, spring onions are a good choice. 

If you’re looking for a sharper and more pronounced onion flavour, scallions are a good choice.

If you liked our article on scallions vs. spring onions, why not check out our blog about the differences between arugula and rocket?

Scallions (US) vs. Spring Onions (UK) FAQ:

Are scallions and spring onions the same?

Scallions and spring onions are very similar, but there are a few key differences. Spring onions typically have a larger bulb than scallions, and the bulb of spring onion is edible, while the bulb of a scallion is often not eaten. Spring onions are also more commonly used in cooked dishes, while scallions are often used as a garnish or condiment.

What is a good substitute for scallions in the UK?

If you can’t find scallions in the UK, you can substitute spring onions. Simply omit the bulb of the spring onion, or chop it very finely. You can also use other mild onions, such as white onions or leeks.

What part of a scallion do you eat?

You can eat both the green stem and the white bulb of a scallion. The green stem has a milder flavour, while the white bulb has a stronger flavour. You can use the green stem and the white bulb interchangeably, or you can use them for different purposes. For example, you might use the green stem as a garnish and the white bulb in a cooked dish.

Related Posts
Walkers vs. Lay’s: What’s the Difference in the UK vs. the US?
Walkers and Lay's crisps

Why are Walkers called Walkers in the UK, but Lay’s in the US. Find out about portions, flavour differences, and Read more

5 Differences Between Cilantro (in the US) vs. Coriander (in the UK)
cilantro and coriander

The plant is known by both names, cilantro and coriander. We discuss what the differences are, why they’re confusably interchangeable, Read more