Difference Between Leek and Spring Onion

Leek vs Spring Onion

Most of us love the aroma and flavor of onions but do not like its pungent nature that often makes people cry when fresh onions are being peeled or cut inside the kitchen. There are many different varieties of onions that belong to the genus allium. One of these varieties is called spring onions or salad onions. We all love to eat these onions that are an integral part of the Chinese cuisine. There is another vegetable that looks similar to these spring onions, and that is leek. There are so many similarities between spring onion and leek that many remain confused between the two. This article attempts to remove all confusion by highlighting the differences between them.

Spring Onion

Spring onion is a plant that is edible and belongs to the Allium species. The chief characteristic of this type of onion is that it has hollow green leaves and a bulb that serves as a root inside the earth. These onions are known all over the world for their flavor and aroma. They have a much milder smell than red onions, and they are more versatile than red onions as they can be eaten as raw salad and also used in soups, curries and even inside sandwiches. Spring onions are smaller than red onions, but whereas only the bulb is used in the case of red onions, it is the entire leaf and the bulb that is used in the case of a spring onion. Spring onions also take much less time to cook which makes them popular in many cuisines like the Chinese cuisine.


Leek is a vegetable that belongs to the same family of flowering plants that onions and garlic do. Leek is an edible plant though it is only the bundle of leaves above the ground that are consumed. Unlike onions and spring onions that have a bulb inside the ground, leek has a sheath of leaves under the ground that is cut before it is sold in the market. Though leeks taste like onions, they are crunchier than onions. Leeks are used very commonly in Italian cuisine as they along with celery and carrots make a good base curries, stews, and soups. When cooking, only the white part of the leeks is used though entire leak can be used when it is young and tender.

What is the difference between Leek and Spring Onion?

• The edible part of leek lies above the ground whereas, in the case of spring onion, even the bulb that remains inside the earth is consumed.

• Leek is larger than spring onion.

• Leeks have a much milder flavor than spring onions.

• Spring onions are an integral part of the Chinese cuisine whereas leeks are used more commonly in the Italian cuisine.