How to Clean Green Onions (5 simple steps)

In this brief article, we will be discussing how to clean green onions in five super easy steps.

Green onions, also known as scallions, are partially developed young onions with a less intense flavor as compared to mature onions. Since onions are a root vegetable, they grow in the ground and are exposed to dirt, which makes cleaning them thoroughly that much important!

How to Clean Green Onions?

Here’s how to properly clean green onions using these five simple steps:

  1. Trim the root end of the green onions.
  2. Slice the green onions in two to separate the green and white parts. Then, thinly slice the green part on the diagonal to expose the maximum surface area and any hidden dirt.
  3. Place the onion leaves under running water, and thoroughly rub off any dirt with your fingers. Also, run your fingers between the leaves to wash out any dirt that might be stuck between them. 
  4. Place the green onions in a colander and rinse under cold water to remove pesticides and any remaining dirt.
  5. Use paper towels to pat the green onions dry and prevent wilting. Chop the onions and store them in an airtight container. They can last in the refrigerator for about a week.

How to Prepare Green Onions for Use?

As mentioned, washing the green onions thoroughly under cold water is the first step. Always avoid using gritty or slimy green onions.

Remove any damaged or wilted tops of the green onion, as well as the slimy skin on the white parts.

Also, trim at least 2 inches from the green tops.

What Part of Green Onions Is Used?

Green onions belonging to the family Alliaceae are consumed for their immature bulbs as well as green foliage. Green onions produce a mild flavor during tissue disruption and can be eaten raw or cooked (1).

Both the white and green parts of green onions are edible: 

The green part features a mild flavor and is often used for an attractive garnish. 

The white part has a sharper more onion-like taste and is usually used cooked in recipes. 

Onion pungency is caused by a wide range of sulfur compounds that cause burning sensation in the back of the mouth and throat (2).

What is the Nutritional Information on Green Onions?

Similar to most vegetables and fruits, green onions are most part water and contain lesser sugar and fewer carbohydrates just like potatoes, carrots, and corn.

A one-cup serving of green onions contains:

According to the US Department of Agriculture, one cup (25 g) of green onions contain: 

Calcium, Ca20mg2%
Iron, Fe0.36mg2%
Magnesium, Mg8mg2%
Potassium, K70mg2%
Sodium, Na10mg
Vitamin C4.8mg8%
Vitamin A, IU100IU2%
Vitamin K48µg60%

What are the Health Benefits of Green Onions?

Green onions are a great source of fiber. A single cup of chopped green onions contains about 10 percent of the fiber you require for an entire day. Fiber helps lower cholesterol, and also reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease. In terms of vitamins and mineral content, onions have low content of sodium and high content of vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium,magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium (2).

Green onions also contain a compound called allicin which is believed to prevent cancer by blocking the growth of cancerous tumors, especially in the stomach. Onions contain antioxidant components such as volatile organosulfur compounds and flavonoids. Quercetin is the flavonoid with antioxidant capacity that is abundant in green onions. Antioxidants are capable of neutralizing free radicals and their actions by acting at different stages. They act at the levels of prevention, interception, and repair (1).

Extracts of this green vegetable also prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Lab tests on some varieties of onions revealed that in high enough concentrations, they can kill or slow down the growth of E.coli or salmonella (2). 

The phytonutrients and antioxidants in green onions defend the body against cell damage that causes inflammation and age-related diseases.  

Onions also contain saponins and peptides, which have been isolated and studied for their potentially beneficial health perspectives, such antispasmodic activity, which might contribute to explaining the traditional use of onions in the treatment of disturbances of the gastrointestinal tract (2).

Alterations in lipid profiles, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are risk factors conventionally associated with the early appearance of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Onions have been described to have hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, and antithrombotic effects and therefore could be used in CVD prevention. Focusing on onion lipid-lowering effects, this vegetable has been reported to exert moderately hypolipidemic effects and consequently reduction of CVD and obesity (2).

Are There Any Risks of Eating Green Onions?

Despite their health benefits, green onions are extremely high in vitamin K, which interferes with blood thinners. So if you’re taking warfarin for heart disease or preventing strokes, ask a physician if you can eat green onions.

The most common side effects, produced by intake of small amounts of onion, are bad breath and body odor. However, several studies have demonstrated that consumption of excessive amount of onion, especially when the stomach is empty, can cause other less frequent undesirable effects, such as gastrointestinal upsets (burning sensation and diarrhea), flatulence, and changes in the intestinal flora (2).

Although rare, people have become gravely sick after eating contaminated green onions, particularly from hepatitis. This is why washing vegetables is extremely recommended. 

How to Use Green Onions?

Here are some interesting ways to use green onions:

  • Garnish for soups
  • Stir-fry
  • Adding zing and more crunch to cucumber salads
  • Bake them into biscuits
  • Make refreshing club sandwiches
  • Make green onion pancakes
  • Bake them into bread
  • Convert them into a vibrant sauce

Other FAQs about Onions that you may be interested in.

Does Onion Powder Go Bad

How to preserve onions

How many red onions are there in a pound?

Can you saute a Red Onion?


In this brief article, we answered the question of how to clean green onions. They have many health benefits and a variety of uses but washing them thoroughly before use is essential for eating them healthily.  

If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.


  1. Suleria, Hafiz Ansar Rasul, et al. Onion: Nature protection against physiological threats. Crit rev food sci nutr, 2015, 55, 50-66. 
  2. Thampi, N. I. V. E. T. H. A., and VERONICA S. Jeyadoss. Comparative investigation of total antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of two allium species. Asian J Pharmac clin res, 2015, 8, 148-151.

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