Are Green Onions Keto Friendly? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Are Green Onions Keto Friendly

Whether a soup or salad, a burger or pizza, a baked potato or stir fry, virtually any dish can be elevated by the addition of the ever flavorful onion. While there are a number of different onion varieties, all boasting their own unique flavor profiles, one mild tasting, extremely versatile variety – the green onion – is the focus of our attention in this article. Green onions offer an onion-y flavor that transitions from more complex at the white base to more herbal tasting through the green stalk. While green onions fit into a wide range of different cuisines, it is worth reviewing its nutritional profile to ensure that this tasty vegetable fits the bill for those following a ketogenic diet. 

Green onions are considered keto-friendly due to their low carbohydrate content. As with any food item, serving size and total carbohydrate count matters most when it comes to ketosis. Fortunately, a large amount of green onions would need to be consumed before contributing a substantial amount of carbohydrate. Some other keto-friendly alternatives to green onions include chives, shallots, and leeks. 

In this article we’ll discuss a brief overview of green onions, nutritional content and keto status, and review several alternative options. Let’s dig in!

What are Green Onions?

Green onions are a member of the Allium family which includes other popular vegetables like garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives. Green onions have long, hollow green stalks and a narrow white base. Most green onions are harvested before a true bulb can form, so they are often referred to as immature onions. The green stalks characteristic of green onions provide some different nutrients compared to bulb onion varieties, but still offer a familiar onion flavor with less bite. 

History and Unique Uses of Green Onions

Green onions have been around for quite some time. It is believed that they were first cultivated in Asia over two thousand years ago. The green onion has since become a popular ingredient worldwide and has a myriad of different uses including medicinal and culinary applications.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, green onions are considered “warm/acrid herbs that release the exterior”. These types of herbs are used to treat the early stages of certain diseases. Specifically, they are used to treat upper respiratory tract infections, diseases of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, and some skin diseases. The belief is that green onions, or any warm/acrid herb, will induce sweating and expel the disease from the body, diminishing its ability to invade the body any further. 

Green Onions and Scallions: Are They the Same?

Technically, green onions and scallions are the same thing. The biggest difference between the two vegetables is the amount of time they are allowed to mature. Scallions tend to be harvested earlier than green onions, and as such, will have a slightly narrower bulb than green onions. Both offer a similar flavor profile and can be used interchangeably in recipes. 

Potential Health Benefits

The Allium family, which consists of vegetables like garlic, leeks, chives, and onions, is known for being rich in organosulfur compounds. These compounds have been extensively studied and an overwhelming number of research has concluded that these compounds may be beneficial for preventing a variety of different health issues. These include lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and preventing chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

FODMAP Friendly

Furthermore, green onions are considered to be a low FODMAP food. A low FODMAP diet is a dietary approach used to relieve symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. They are a group of carbohydrates that can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals. 

Onions and garlic are at the top of the list when it comes to foods to avoid while following the diet. Fortunately, however, green onions are considered low FODMAP. This allows those following this dietary approach to enjoy that onion flavor without the negative side effects associated with high FODMAP onions.

Are Green Onions Keto-Friendly?

Green onions, along with the rest of the Allium family of vegetables, are considered to be keto-friendly. As with any food item, serving size and total carbohydrate count matters most when it comes to getting into and staying in ketosis. Most individuals following a ketogenic diet aim to consume between 20-40 grams of carbohydrate per day to ensure they are in ketosis. Fortunately, the typical amount of these vegetables used in cooking is so small that they contribute very little carbohydrate to the overall nutritional content of the dishes they are included in.

Nutritional Profile of Green Onions

As previously discussed, green onions are a versatile vegetable that add a mild, onion-y flavor to any dish they are a part of. In addition to their savory flavor, green onions also provide minimal calories and a plethora of different micronutrients. 

Micronutrient Profile

It is said that they have a combined nutritional benefit similar to that of both onions and leafy greens. Some of the main nutrients found in green onions include vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate. Vitamin K is the most abundant macronutrient in green onions as one medium green onion provides roughly 34% of the recommended daily intake for women. 

Green Onion


  • Raw Green Onion

Nutritional Information (per 1 Medium Stalk):

  • Calories: 4.8
  • Total Fat: 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 2.4mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 1.1g
    • Total Sugars: 0.4g
    • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Protein: 0.3g

Alternative Options

While green onions are a keto-friendly option, in the event that green onions or scallions are not available during your next grocery run, there are a handful of great alternative options. These alternatives can be easily substituted for green onions and impart a similar flavor to green onions. 


Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Chives, Freeze Dried, 0.2 Ounces While chives differ from green onions visually, they both offer a similar onion-y flavor. Chives are technically an herb, and are very skinny, long, and solid green while green onions are a bit thicker, ranging from white to dark green along their stalk. While green onions can be enjoyed raw or cooked, chives tend to provide the best flavor when they are served raw in dips, dressing, or used as a garnish. If chives are cooked, it is important that they are cooked for only a brief time. 

Nutritionally, chives offer little by way of calories and macronutrients, but do provide some micronutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and choline. Additionally, chives are a very low carbohydrate herb, so they can be enjoyed while following a ketogenic diet.


  • Raw Chives

Nutritional Information (per 1 tablespoon, chopped):

  • Calories: 1
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 0.1g
    • Total Sugars: 0.1g
    • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Protein: 0.1g


Leeks are visually similar to green onions, but tend to be much larger in size. They also differ in flavor slightly as they provide a sweeter, much milder onion flavor than green onions. Like green onions, leeks are low calorie and harbor a decent amount of nutrients including magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. 


  • Raw Leeks

Nutritional Information (per 1 slice):

  • Calories: 4
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 0.8g
    • Total Sugars: 0.2g
    • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Protein: 0.1g


Organic Shallot Onion, 3 Ounce Shallots are another great alternative to green onions, especially for those following a ketogenic diet. They are low calorie and low carbohydrate, and provide a similar, yet stronger onion flavor. As with other members of the Allium family, shallots are packed with beneficial nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, vitamins A, B, and C, and folate.


  • Raw Shallots

Nutritional Information (per 1 tablespoon, chopped):

  • Calories: 7
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 1.7g
    • Total Sugars: 0g
    • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 0.3g

Main Takeaways

Green onions are a member of the Allium family and have a characteristic green and white color that spans over a long, slender stalk. They have been around for a long time and are said to have been first cultivated in Asia. Scallions and green onions are two types of onions that are very similar. The only real difference between the two is how long each is allowed to mature. 

Green onions are a versatile vegetable that add a mild, onion-y flavor to any dish they are a part of. They also provide minimal calories and a plethora of different micronutrients that prove extremely beneficial for overall health. Furthermore, they are very low carbohydrate meaning that they can be enjoyed by those following a ketogenic diet. 

If green onions are not available, some great keto-friendly alternative options include chives, leeks, and shallots. 

Related Questions

How can green onions be used?

Green onions can be used raw or cooked. Raw green onions are most often used as a garnish for soups, salads, stews, dips, potatoes, and omelets, to name a few. Cooked green onions are typically used as a flavoring ingredient and add a subtle onion-y flavor without overpowering the dish. 

Are green onions Paleo?

Green onions are considered Paleo-friendly as are other Allium family members including garlic, leeks, and shallots. 

Are green onions and spring onions the same thing?

Spring onions are not the same as green onions. While green onions have a narrow white bulb at its base, the spring onion has a much larger bulb at its base. This is because spring onions are left to grow longer than green onions and are technically a different species of onion. Spring onions are also slightly stronger in flavor compared to green onions. 

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Ashley Patrick

Ashley is a registered dietitian who enjoys helping others develop healthy habits that fit seamlessly into their everyday life. She believes in a balanced approach to health with nutrition, physical activity, and mental health being the main focus. Through nutrition education and counseling she has helped countless individuals take back their health, improve their quality of life, and develop a balanced approach to maintaining their health long term.

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