How to Prep Spring Onions

May 14, 2013

How to Prep Spring Onions, brought to you by Wüsthof.

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: 4 ways to handle spring's mild, pleasantly muted onions.

Shop the Story

Onions are indispensable -- they're the start to most good things, once they turn quietly sweet and translucent. They also happen to be a great scapegoat for mid-prep crying. (Yes, we've all done it.) 

Spring, though, brings onions that are spared their punky, raucous adolescence. They're a softer expression of the allium family -- calmer, milder. And it all makes perfect sense: a spring onion is just an onion that is harvested before adulthood, sometimes earlier. Best of all? You can prep them without shedding a tear. (If you've had a bad day, reach for a full-grown onion instead.) Here's how.

More: Another spring vegetable to prep, slice, and chop? Asparagus.

Wash the onions under running water to free them of dirt and grit, and then trim the root end (but only the very, very end -- every last bit of white packs a lot of flavor). If you're braising or grilling them whole, just trim off the top-most inch of the greens, and you're done.

Since you can use spring onions where you would scallions in most dishes, the prep is nearly the same. Slice them thinly crosswise for adding to a salad, or a vinaigrette. If you're using them in a stir-fry, cut them on the bias. 

To prep the greens, just slice them crosswise using your meanest knife skills. The thinner the better for garnishing something like miso soup, but if they're going into puréed soup or scallion pancakes, slice with reckless abandon. No guest will be the wiser. 

Photos by James Ransom

This article was brought to you by Wüsthof.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ginger Noone
    Ginger Noone
  • Emily Hubbard
    Emily Hubbard
  • Astates
  • eizelle
  • hillaryhudson
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Ginger N. July 31, 2014
There are many things in the culinary world that I don't even realize I would like to know until I read something like this. I do find it interesting, the distinction. HillaryHudson, I appreciate these type of articles for that very reason. If I knew everything there is to know about food and cooking, then maybe I would not feel that way. I have a curious mind, but don't always know the questions to ask. :)
Emily H. September 15, 2013
Spring onions remind me of my childhood! My mother thought there was nothing better than a spring onion with greens (turnip, mustard, spinach, etc.), and cornsticks than this combination! Other than Vidalia onions, these are the sweetest - Emily
Astates May 20, 2013
I just would like to know why spring onions are better in this recipe than scallions. Taste? Texture? I just want to understand why one would be better than the other.
Astates May 16, 2013
I thought they were the same as well-are they milder than scallions?
eizelle May 14, 2013
"Since you can use spring onions where you would scallions in most dishes, the prep is nearly the same."
It is because they are the same!
Kenzi W. May 15, 2013
They actually aren't! Spring onions will eventually mature into onions if left in the ground, whereas scallions won't develop a bulb.
hillaryhudson May 14, 2013
This was not a helpful article, in fact, I am still trying to figure out why you featured it at all.
Kristen M. May 15, 2013
We featured it because our mission is to help people cook more (and because we think spring onions are worth seeking out).
JohnnyB May 16, 2013
I found this article very helpful. Some of us are learning to cook by ourselves and these simple features in the "kitchen confidence" series give us guidance where no where else is around to do so.
Kenzi W. May 17, 2013
So glad to hear this.