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Garlic Chives and How to Use Them

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Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more. This post was brought to you by our friends at Evolution Fresh, who like fresh, flavorful ingredients as much as we do.

Today: We're a little herb-obsessed around here, and our latest paramour is the garlicky cousin of common chives.

Garlic Chives and How to Use Them, from Food52

If you’re in need of inspiration in the kitchen, you might want to choose a member of the allium family: Green garlic modeled for the cover of this lovely book and onions have inspired odes. And if you choose garlic chives as your produce muse, well, you’d be in good company -- they've sat for Van Gogh. At first glance they look similar to common chives, but take a closer look, and you’ll see that garlic chives have wider flat leaves (1, below) -- like extremely overgrown grass.

It's not just the leaves you can eat, though -- the flower stems, buds, and pretty white blossoms are all edible too. (Sometimes different varieties are grown for their leaves and others for their flower stems, but both can be harvested from the same plant.) Look for garlic chives at your farmers market, a well-stocked grocery store, or an Asian market. You might also come across a yellow version, which gets its pale color from etoliation, a second round of growth in the dark. 

More: Sound familiar? Endive is another twice-grown diva, and pronouncing it correctly will turn you into a diva too.

Garlic Chives and How to Use Them, from Food52

Garlic chives can be chopped and used as a garnish just like regular chives are; try using them in compound butter or sprinkling on soup as Andrea Nguyen does. They can also be treated more like a vegetable -- try stir-frying garlic chives or stuffing them into dumplings. In Oriental Vegetables, Joy Larkcom suggests using garlic chives for tempura: Tie them into bundles, dip them in batter, and deep fry. Garlic chives also pair well with eggs; try using them in a no-flour-needed egg noodle

However you decide to cook with them, do so quickly. Keep your garlic chives in the refrigerator stored in a plastic bag for a few days (the yellow blanched variety should be used within a day or so), and heed Larkcom's caution: The longer they're stored, the more their flavor will intensify.

Tell us: How do you like to use garlic chives?

Photos by Mark Weinberg

This post was brought to you by Evolution Fresh. Check out their new pairing guide to find out which foods go best with their juices.

Tags: down and dirty, diagrams, special diets, alliums, garlic chives, Chinese chives, nira, flowering chives, yellow chives

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Comments (8)


about 1 year ago Mr_Vittles

Traditionally, Koreans make a chive pancake called "pa jeon". They are flat, greasy little flavor bombs often consumed with copious amounts of unfiltered rice wine called "makkgeoli". They are made by quickly stir frying a bunch of whole chives, ladling a small amount of flour based batter, allowing it to sit for a couple of minutes, flipping, and briefly cooking the other side.


about 1 year ago HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

My mother used them like a vegetable in a soup with a little ground meat, fried garlic, and small-ish cubes (~1") of soft (not silken) tofu.


about 1 year ago Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

i just used them in ramen!


about 1 year ago babytiger

They're wonderful in dumplings. Garlic chive, shrimp, pork and egg - my favorite type of dumplings.


about 1 year ago sfmiller

I like to substitute them for scallions in scallion pancakes. They also have a real affinity for potatoes: throw a handful into mashed potatoes or buttered new potatoes or potato pancake batter or potato soup. Aargersi is right about them being prolifically self-seeding. Grow them once (the flowers are beautiful--white and honey-scented and attractive to bees) and you'll probably have more than you need for life.


about 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I use them in EVERYTHING because ours bloomed, jumped the pot, and now we have more than there are stars in the galaxy. Sprinkled into soups right at service, eggs of course, potato salad and/or grilled corn salad. Love the tempura idea! I like to add some to various pestos as well.


about 1 year ago Lindsay-Jean Hard

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

Love the pesto idea! (And wow, that is A LOT of garlic chives!)


about 1 year ago Rumi143

They are amaaaazing in scrambled eggs