Chives, Green Onions, and Chives: What’s the Difference?

These vegetables are commonly used in Asian, American, and European cuisine.

Both the leaves and the bulb of these onions are edible and have a mild flavor compared to regular onions. However, they look very similar and can be difficult to distinguish.

This article clarifies the confusion and details the differences between chives, green onions, and onions.

Chives are younger than green onions.

The difference between chives and chives is their age.

Chives are younger than green onions, harvested earlier in their growth.

You can tell them apart by the width of the white bulb at the base of the plant. Because it has spent less time in the ground, the white bulb of a chive will be thinner than that of green onion.

As a general rule of thumb, the white bulb of a chive will be about the same width as the stem and leaves of the plant.


Green onions, slightly older, have a somewhat broader white bulb at the bottom. This bulb is generally more comprehensive than the leaves and is ovular in shape, not round.


Chives are young green onions. You can tell the age of a plant and whether it is technically a chive or green onion by the width of its bulb or bulb.

Chives are older than green onions, and chives

Onions are generally sown for a long time, about six months.

They are more mature than chives and green onions, but they are still a type of young onion harvested before they can grow.

You can identify a chive by the base’s small, round, white bulb. While it looks similar to chives and green onions, its rounded bulb gives it away.

Chives are also slightly more pungent in flavor than scallions and green onions due to their ripeness.

However, they still taste milder than regular onions, which have been left in the ground much longer and grow much more significantly.


Chives are older than green chives and chives because they have been allowed to grow longer; their bulb is more developed and rounded.

Do green onions and chives come from the same plant?

All immature onions have the same long green hollow leaves and small whitish bulbs.

However, some people consider true chives and green onions to come from a particular type of allium plant, the Allium fistulosum species.

This species differs from other onions in that it does not develop a round bulb.

When left in the ground to mature, these plants will have a straight white bulb.

However, “green onion” and “green onion” are not official plant names and do not adhere to a particular species.

Although onions of Allium fistulosum species will only form chives and green onions, any young onion can be classified into those categories depending on the age of the plant.


The terms “scallion” and “green onion” refer mainly to the age of the plant. Although some species of onion will only produce chives or green onions, it is possible to obtain them from other types of onions.

Nutritional information

Young onions like chives, green onions, and scallions are very low in calories and contain only about five calories per medium or 32 calories per 100 grams.

By fresh weight, they are 89% water and pack 2.6 grams of fiber, 7.3 grams of carbohydrates, and small amounts of protein and fat per 100 grams.

They also contain micronutrients, including folate and vitamins K and C.

100 grams of these onions have:

  • Calories: 32.
  • Water: 89%.
  • Carbohydrates: 7.3 grams.
  • Sugars: 2.3 grams.
  • Protein: 1.8 grams.
  • Fiber: 2.6 grams.
  • Fat: 0.2 grams.
  • Vitamin K: 173% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
  • Vitamin C: 21% of the IDR.
  • Folate: 16% of the RDI.

These onions also boast beneficial antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds.


Young onions like chives, green onions, and chives are low in calories and contain fiber, carbohydrates, and beneficial plant compounds.

How to cook with chives, green onions, and chives

While green onions and chives are predominantly classified by age, things can get confusing as people often use these terms interchangeably to describe any young onion.

Therefore, it can be challenging to determine the age and type of onion you buy.

However, since all young onions taste similar, the type doesn’t make much difference in dishes. If you’re unsure which type you have or are worried you might have the wrong one, you are unlikely to screw up your recipe.

Popular ways to prepare young onions such as chives, green onion, and spring onion are a salad or a side dish.

You can also cook with them by adding them to French fries, soups, and stews. Spring onions, which have a slightly more robust flavor, taste good when pickled or grilled.


Although there are slight differences between chives, green onions, and chives, they can be used interchangeably in recipes. They are often added to stews, stir-fries, and salads.

The bottom line

The difference between chives, green onions, and scallions is how old or long they grow before harvesting.

You can identify them by their bulb: chives have thinner stalks, usually no wider than onion, while green onion bulbs are slightly larger and spring onions are round.

Although there are slight differences in taste and appearance, these onions are very similar and can often be used in the same recipes.