I opened my onion rack lately to find onions that had sprouted several-inch-long green roots... It made me extremely queasy and I threw them out. But I was wondering - would it be safe to eat them / cook with them?

  • 7
    They are definitely safe but the flavour and consistency might be a little off. The onion spends its energy on the sprouts which will dry it out and make it less sweet. What you can do is chop the sprouts and use them like spring onions (scallions if you are American). Feb 15, 2011 at 16:11
  • Similar question: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/7326/2001 Feb 15, 2011 at 17:08

5 Answers 5


Sure, but the rest of the onion gets mushy and unpalatable after they've grown for a bit. Some people eat the sprouts; they have a lot of protein, so they're popular with vegans and other protein challenged groups.


The roots aren't usually very green- they're white.

The part of the sprouts that is green is call... wait for it... Green onions.

You can just eat the sprouts and don't bother with the spent bulb.

  • 1
    The sprouts that are green are... wait for it... not green onions. Scallions are made from separate cultivars which lack a fully developed bulb. Dec 31, 2017 at 16:44
  • 1
    @JeffAxelrod- Not always. Sometimes they are different cultivar. In some cases they are simply immature. Either way, the part that matters in this conversation, the sprout, is nearly identical. Jan 2, 2018 at 15:48
  • 1
    @Sobachatina According to table of onion cultivars on Wikipedia, green onions (AKA "scallions") are from a different cultivar. You should update your answer to remove this error. Jan 18, 2019 at 0:46

Absolutely! They can be quite strong though. I would recommend cutting them thinly. I just used some as a garnish on my miso soup. They add just enough onion flavor and it looks nice.


When I lived in Belarus in the '90's, all the women had an onion sitting on top of a jar that had green sprouts, or "green" onions, and they cut from them continually. What I can't remember is how much water there was. I am trying it myself today as I found an onion had sprouted.


I love onion sprouts. They do not have as wild of a taste as the onion. Sometimes I only use the bulb to make sprouts.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.