Carbs in Green Onions and Scallions

Add flavor and interest to your low-carb dishes with green onions

Green onion, annotated

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman 

The term green onion is usually used interchangeably with spring onion and scallion, though technically scallions are younger and have a less-developed white bulb. Green onions deliver a lot of the flavor of mature bulb onions but have less carbohydrate, since only the bulb part has significant carbohydrate.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts 

  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion: about 3 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1.5 grams fiber and 16 calories
  • 1 medium green onion (about 4 inches long): 1.1 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus slightly less than 1/2 gram fiber and 5 calories
  • 1 ounce chopped green onion: almost 2 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus about 1 gram fiber and 9 calories

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

As with most non-starchy vegetables, green onions are not measured by the glycemic index. Because they have so little carbohydrate, they can't be tested for glycemic index and are assumed to have a low GI.

The glycemic load, which takes into account the amount that may be eaten, has these estimates:

  • 1/2 cup raw chopped onions: 1 (very low)
  • 1 medium green onion (about 4 inches long): 0 (very low)
  • 1 ounce chopped green onion: 1 (very low)

Nutritional Value 

Nutritionally, green onions have a combination of the benefits of onions and greens. They are an excellent source of Vitamin K, and Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamin A and folate.

Green Onions 101

Green onions are available year round. They have bright green tops with a firm white base that includes small shoots of roots. The entire green onion is edible, although you may want to trim off any of the tiny roots. The bulb portion of a green onion is mild tasting relative to large bulb onions.

Scallions do not have a bulb. Green onions are generally eaten raw, but can also be roasted, grilled, or sauteed, whole or chopped.

How to Store Green Onions

Remove any packaging such as rubber bands and discard leaves that have been damaged. Wrap them in a plastic bag and store them in the vegetable crisper section of your refrigerator.

They should not be stored for more than five days and may wilt or lose their crispness in as little as two to three days, depending on how fresh they were when you bought them. Store green onions separately from foods that tend to absorb onion odors such as mushrooms or corn.

5 Ways to Use Green Onions, Scallions, and Spring Onions

  • Garnish Soups: Sprinkle freshly chopped green onions on top of soups for a little crunch and color.
  • Spice Up Sandwiches: Tuna or chicken salads go well with green onions in a sandwich.
  • Add to Salads: They can enhance your salad dressing and give a flavorful crunch to your salad.
  • Make a Chinese Pesto: Use a food processor and combine green onions, garlic, ginger, and olive oil to make a sauce or spread that can be added to meat dishes or used on top of other vegetables.
  • Embellish Dips: A sprinkle of chopped green onions adds color and interest to a dip as well as flavor.
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Article Sources
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  1. The World's Healthiest Foods. Onions. Glendale, Calif.: The World's Healthiest Foods, George Mateljian Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods 2001-2020

  2. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Services. FoodData Central. Onions, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb), raw. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Services

  3. The World's Healthiest Foods. What is the Glycemic Index?. Glendale, Calif.: The World's Healthiest Foods, George Mateljian Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods 2001-2020

  4. SELFNutrition Data. Nutrition Facts and Calories. Onions, spring or scallions. (includes tops and bulb), raw. New York: Conde Nast 2018