How to Use Spring Onion Tops

June  3, 2016

Imagine an onion, and your first thought is likely of a papery globe—a storage onion. Those onions have had their roots and greens trimmed as a part of their curing process, a process that extends their shelf life and sets their dry, papery skins. But this time of year, those same onions can be pulled early: You'll find them at the farmers market labeled as spring onions or young onions, still sporting their tender green tops.

SKK is enjoying a bountiful supply of onions from her garden this year, and after picking a bunch of young red and white onions, she asked the Hotline what the tops could be used for.

Young garlic, not a young onion, but you get the idea. Photo by James Ransom

They could go into the compost bin, or be relegated to a freezer bag of scraps for stock, but they don't need to be. Young onion tops can be used almost anywhere you'd use scallions, like in these recipes:

QueenSashy sautés them and uses them in fillings for filo pies or tarts; we're thinking we'd like to try briefly deep-frying them, Genius Fried Asparagus-style.

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We want to know what you like to do with young onion tops:​ Continue the conversation on the Hotline post or tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Liz Portnoy
    Liz Portnoy
  • glancy
  • PHIL
  • nicole
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


Liz P. June 5, 2016
I make these Green Pancakes from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More - http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/mar/22/foodanddrink.shopping2. They have the added bonus of being a good way to use up any excess leafy greens you have also, and I've gone as far as to use them as a hamburger bun.
glancy June 3, 2016
At this point in the year I'm done with supermarket onions. Just, done. So I use spring onions and their tops whenever an onion is called for. Does it change the flavor, even the texture? Sure. But it works. I saute them, add them to braises, etc. Of course, they're great if you're making stock or cooking beans.
PHIL June 3, 2016
I grill them , slice them up and use them as an accent to whatever I am making that week. topping for chicken fajitas, teriyaki salmon, skirt steak. i stick the roots in my herb pots and let them grow back.
nicole June 3, 2016
The great thing about spring onions is you can grow more from the leftover roots after you cut them down for cooking use. Just add roots to a container with 1/4 cup of water. You'll be surprised at how quickly the onions will grow back!