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Chives vs Green Onions

Learn all about Chives vs Green Onions and how you can use these fresh green stems in your meals and healthy cooking. Which one is a vegetable and which is an herb?

Which is better to eat raw and which can be cooked? These versatile greens are perfect as a topping on soups and salads or mixed into potato salad.   

Whole green onions next to bowl of chopped green onions.

What are chives? 

Chives are herbs with all green stems and are sold in plastic containers.

They are part of the allium family, like onions and garlic, and are purple when they flower.  

They have just a hint of onion flavor but are subtle and can be sprinkled on top of delicate dishes.

They are best eaten raw like other delicate herbs such as tarragon or dill.  

How to use chives 

Chives are perfect as a topping for delicate dishes. They are best used raw because they can’t stand up to cooking very well. They break down and lose their mild flavor when heated.  

You can use chives with potato salad, scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, top soups, salads, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, omelets, compound butter, dips, or spreads.  

What are green onions? 

Green onions are a vegetable with white ends and green tops. The white ends have a more robust onion flavor than the green ends, which are milder. 

You can cook green onions or eat them raw.  

They are closely related to onions, and certain varieties can develop into onions with bulbs on the ends.  

They are also called scallions and are sold in bunches at the grocery store. 

Learn how to freeze green onions for your next recipe.

How to use green onions 

Use green onions in dishes that can stand up to a stronger onion flavor and a crunchier texture. 

Some examples of dishes are stir fry, savory baked goods like pancakes, biscuits, or scones, dips with sour cream, and on top of salads or chili. 

I share the best way on how to store green onions.

Chives vs green onions 

The main difference between chives and green onions is that chives are herbs and green onions are vegetables. 

They are both related to leeks and shallots in the allium family. 

Green onions can be cooked, while chives are best served raw.

Green onions are crunchy, and chives have a more subtle texture.  

Green onions taste more strongly of onions, while chives have a milder flavor. 

Chives are more delicate and uniform in color, while green onions are multicolored. 

Can you substitute green onions with chives?

While green onions and chives look similar, it depends on the dish you’re making if you can substitute one for the other. 

If you want more onion flavor and crunchy texture, use green onions. Learn how to cut green onions for the best results.

If you want a more subtle flavor, use chives.

In some cases, they can be interchangeable if the dish will work with either chives or green onions.

FAQs: Chives vs green onions

Spring onions are more developed green onions. The spring onion bulb has grown enough to become a small onion, whereas green onions are cut before the bulb has begun to grow. 

If you don’t have chives, you may be able to use green onions if the dish can take a stronger onion taste. If it’s a delicate dish, like eggs, you may want to use another light herb like tarragon or dill. 

The entire sprig of chives can be used since they are all uniformly green. You’ll just need to cut off any ends that look too dry.

Chives are considered herbs because of their delicate nature. You can mince and eat the green stems served on top of savory dishes. 


Chives vs. green onions have many similarities and a few differences which determine how they are used. 

Chives have a subtle flavor and are best eaten raw. They are perfect for sprinkling on top of meals or folding into dishes that aren’t cooked. 

Green onions are heartier, have a stronger onion flavor, and crunchier texture. They can be cooked in dishes or sprinkled on top of soups or chilis. 

They are both delicious greens that can often be exchanged in your meals.   

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