Shallots make a great addition to your dishes and add a sweet yet sharp flavor. They also add a garlic-like bite to the dish, making them a great ingredient. But you might run out of the tiny shallots. In that case, it’s always good to know the shallots’ substitutes.
Shallots are similar to onions and garlic as they all belong to the same family. They add great flavors and crunchy texture to the dish. In case you are out of shallots, you have various options.
Some best shallots substitutes are onions, chives, garlic, leeks, and scallions. You can use any of these and some more instead of shallots in a recipe.
There are 21 substitutes available, and I have listed them with complete information. So, without further delay, let’s check out so you can return to cooking your dish after choosing the best alternative.
Quick Peek: Shallots
This Section will provide you with all the information related to shallots. You will find information about shallots, their flavor, health benefits, and how to cook them.
What Are Shallots?
Shallots are said to be close cousins of onions, and this is mainly because, firstly, they look similar. Secondly, they belong to the same family, the Amaryllidaceae family.
They are believed to be first cultivated in Ashkelon, an ancient city on the coast of Israel. However, they are more likely to be first cultivated in Central or Southwest Asia.
Shallots are bulb-like vegetables widely used in many dishes, especially in Asian cooking. They have a less intense taste than onions and are used to add flavors to dishes without letting them overpower the dish’s overall taste.
They are like small, oval-shaped onions, mainly finely chopped and sauteed in most recipes. The skin of shallots may vary from golden brown to red, and different varieties of shallots are available in the market.
Shallots are also widely used in French cuisine and now commonly act as a substitute for onions. They grow in clusters, and the inner skin of shallots is white and purple-tinged.
When you peel a shallot, you will find 2-3 bulbed-shaped cloves similar to garlic cloves. The leaves of shallots are small and short in size and have a hollow cylindrical shape.
They have finer layers, and their water content is much less, so while cooking, one needs to be very cautious, or else they can get easily burnt.
Shallots pair well with salad dressings and can also be used in pickles.
Describing Shallots: Flavour And Texture
Shallots have a less intense taste when compared with onions and also have a hint of garlic. The presence of onions and garlic flavors is obvious as they belong to the same family and have sulfur content, which derives the taste and flavor.
They also have a note of sweetness; they get sweeter and juicier after cooking. When compared with onions, they tend to be more similar to the taste of red onions but are mellower and soft.
As I said at the beginning of the conversation, shallots and onions are close cousins, and shallots are the more peaceful ones. If we talk about the texture of shallots, they are papery and dry.
They provide a great crunch in sandwiches or other dishes because of their texture.
Uses Of Shallots
Shallots have been a major part of Asian cuisine and have been an important ingredient in French cuisine because of their less pungent taste.
The best thing about shallots is that they can be chopped or sliced as required. The aromatic flavors of shallots can be added to many dishes as well. You can saute them at the beginning of the recipe and cook them until caramelized to add a sweet note to your dish.
As they are milder in flavor when compared to onions or garlic, they can be directly added to salads. You can also roast them or fry them.
Shallots are not only used in recipes but also used for garnishing purposes. They are best for adding aroma and flavors to pickles. If you slowly cook or roast the shallots, they taste sweet and mellow.
Shallots can be added to the dish in many forms. Let’s see the brief descriptions.
Raw and chopped shallots are often used as they are less intense and have aromatic flavors. They can be added to salads or dressings and consumed directly. Raw shallots are important ingredients in French-style vinaigrettes.
When it comes to garnishing, fried shallots are the best option to add. They pair well with Thai soups and are often used to decorate dishes.
3. Slow Cooked
To bring the sweet note of the shallots, they are slow-cooked, which enhances the dish’s overall flavor. They are also slow-cooked as a whole without cutting or slicing them in the dish.
Slow-cooked shallots are great for many recipes which require a long time to cook. They can be consumed separately as well by spreading them on pieces of bread or as a side dish with chicken and other meats.
Shallots On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Shallots are related to the onions and garlic family and have great nutrients packed from vitamins A, B6, and C to minerals like potassium and magnesium. They contain great amounts of antioxidants along with antiviral properties.
Shallots are a good source of dietary fiber.
1. Hair growth
Shallots are rich in sulphur, which helps produce collagen tissues promoting hair growth.
2. Slow Down Cancer cells
They also slow down the growth of cancer cells because of the ethyl acetate extracts found. Several studies by the National library of medicine show they are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.
3. Heart Health
When it comes to heart health, due to the presence of antioxidants and allicin protects the heart and also lowers the levels of reactive oxygen species.
The richness of potassium is also beneficial for heart health. Shallots are also known for boosting blood circulation, which helps to remove toxins from the bloodstream.
The presence of iron and copper helps to produce red blood cells, which help to increase blood circulation.
Also, they are known for producing anticoagulants for thinning the blood and reducing the risk of heart attack, strokes, and other such issues.
4. Helps In Diabetes
If you are a diabetic person, then shallots are good news for you.
Many studies show that shallots are beneficial for insulin and help to maintain weight due to diabetes. If shallots are consumed regularly, they can lower the body’s sugar levels.
5. Cures Allergies
Shallots are also known to cure mild eye and nose allergies. They are primary ingredients in medicine related to allergies, mainly seasonal.
6. Brain Health
Shallots are good for your brain. The presence of folate helps in improving brain health.
Shallots can also aid obesity as they suppress fat accumulation, which helps to prevent obesity.
8. Emotional Well-Being
In case you are dealing with lots of stress, shallots can help relax your body and mind.
The presence of folic acids helps to boost emotional well-being. Shallots have vitamin A, which is known to improve vision health.
Why Use A Substitute For Shallots?
There are so many positive points for shallots, but one still needs to be aware of substitutes in case of unavailability or allergy issues.
Even though they are famous because of their mild flavor, they can be replaced in many recipes if you are looking for a stronger flavor.
Regarding the price of shallots, they are quite expensive and not commonly found in kitchens. So, opting for substitutes of shallots which are less expensive and readily available at home or nearby stores, is a wise choice.
Sometimes when a recipe calls for shallots, but people want a stronger flavor in their dish, then that is a place where you might need to use a substitute of shallots with a more robust flavor.
As already mentioned, the unavailability of shallots is another important reason why many of us need to find alternatives and use the same in the recipe.
21 Best Shallot Substitutes
So, let’s dig into the 21 best substitutes of shallots that are easily available and replace them without compromising the taste and flavor of the overall dish.
1. Yellow Onions
If you are short on shallots and don’t mind the strong flavor in your dish, then yellow onions are one of the best replacements for shallots. They add a deeper flavor to any dish.
The yellow-colored skin has a great amount of sulfur, and like shallots, when they are cooked, they get mellow and release sweet flavors.
They hold heat really well, because of which they can be roasted or caramelized. You can use ¼ of yellow onions instead of 1 medium shallot in raw or chopped form.
Chives have delicate tones of onions and garlic. These grassy vegetables can substitute shallots when you only want a hint of onions or shallots flavor.
If you replace shallots with chives, you might need to be very generous. You can use chives in a 1:1 ratio instead of shallots and increase the quantity per your taste preferences.
If you want to garnish your dish with shallots, you can easily use chives as they will fulfill the requirement of shallots and add in their own flavors.
I know garlic has a very strong flavor, but it can be used instead of shallots. After all, they belong to the same family and have few things in common.
The only difference is that garlic is more powerful, whereas shallots are mellow and sweet. If you plan to add garlic instead of shallots, consider cooking or roasting; then garlic can somehow match the flavors of a shallot.
The intense flavor of garlic can overpower the flavors of the dish. Never try to replace shallots with raw garlic if the recipe specifically calls for shallots.
You can use 1 clove of garlic in place of a medium shallot. You can consider adding more only if you are comfortable with a strong garlic flavor in your dish.
Leeks are closely related to onions and also have a little garlicky flavor. They are milder in taste than shallots and are not so commonly used in dishes.
However, they can be one of the best substitutes as they won’t overpower the dish with their flavor and justify the requirement of shallots in the recipe.
One thing to be aware of about leeks is that they cook quite quickly, so it is advised to use them later in the recipe. They will pair well with soups.
You can use the white and green parts of the leeks. The green part is more fibery, so you can use the light green areas and the white part of the leeks.
Use them in a ratio of 1:1, which means 1 shallot equals 1 cup of leeks. However, you can increase the number of leeks per the dish’s flavor requirement.
5. Garlic Scapes
We just discussed replacing shallots with garlic cloves and also noted that garlic will not exactly match the flavor of shallots as they are strong and pungent in taste.
Now, instead of garlic cloves, you can prefer garlic scapes in place of shallots for a milder flavor in your dish. Garlic scapes are green curly leaves that grow above the soil, whereas garlic is underneath the earth.
Mostly they are scraped, and only the garlic cloves make it to the stores. If you come across garlic scapes, you can use them in various dishes.
Add them to pasta or salad dressing in place of shallots in a ratio of 1:1. They can also be used in raw form. Try to use fewer garlic scapes at first and then increase the quantity per your taste.
6. Red Onions
Onions have been a close relative to shallots, except for the fact that they are too much when compared with shallots.
When it comes to red onions, they can be considered a better substitute than white or yellow onions. They resemble a close taste with shallots.
However, they are stronger in flavor than shallots but milder as compared with the other two types of onions.
Red onions can be directly used as a raw ingredient in salads or other dishes. Even if you cook, they can somewhat justify the flavors of shallots.
To reduce the sharpness of red onions, simply soak them in cold water for a while and then use them in your dish. They have a similar texture to shallots. A 1:1 ratio of red onions to shallots is fine to use.
7. Dried Onions
Dried onions can be a convenient way of adding shallot flavor to the dish. They are similar and milder.
Consider adding a little bit of garlic powder, and you can cover up the use of shallots with this combination.
Dried onions are handy and pair well with chicken soups or sour cream and onions dip.
If your recipe calls for shallots, but you don’t have one, try adding dried onions, and you can get some flavors of shallots.
Remember that dried onions cannot provide the same texture as shallots. Use ¾ tablespoons of dried onions instead of a medium shallot, and you are good to go.
Another green kind of vegetable, scallions are technically green onions that possess flavors similar to shallots. They are types of onions commonly used to enhance the flavors of dishes.
They have a milder taste and also lack the note of garlicky flavor. So you can use them if you want more delicate flavors than shallots.
Use them raw for garnishing, or cook them in place of shallots. They will just go well in any form.
They will try to resemble the flavors of shallots without the intensity of onion or garlic, which is good if you are not looking for such flavors.
The white part of the scallions has a sweet note, whereas the green part is sweet as well as grassy in flavor. Using the white part with a dash of garlic powder or cloves can mimic the flavors of shallots.
Use scallions in place of shallots in a ratio of 1:1. However, you can be generous with scallions if you want more enhanced flavors in the dish.
9. White Pearl Onions
Another unique variety of onions is the white pearl onions which are lighter in color than regular onions and are small and spherical.
They are not only light in color but also milder in flavor. They are sweet and less pungent as compared to regular onions.
They are the best choice if you want to add an onion-like flavor without letting the flavor overpower the entire dish.
You can use white pearl onions the way you use shallots. Either fry or roast it; you have all the possibilities with white pearl onions. They are similar to the size of shallots, so you can use them in a 1:1 ratio quite easily.
10. White Onions
Talking about onions in place of shallots, white onions can also be used as a substitute. However, if you have other shallots substitutes, try picking them instead of white onions.
They are very sharp in taste and can be used in recipes that call for a stronger flavor. However, white onions and shallots have a similar texture.
So you can substitute ¼ white onion in place of 1 shallot in your dish. A handy tip is to reduce the number of white onions so that it does leave a sharp taste and ruin your dish. If possible, go for red or yellow onions.
Ramps look similar to green leafy vegetables like scallions. They are related to the onion family and have a taste between onion, garlic, and scallions.
They are only available during the spring season, so you can try them deliberately in place of shallots. Ramps also have a pungent flavor, but the best thing is that they get soft and mellow as they are cooked.
So use ramps in those recipes which call for cooked shallots to enhance and match the flavor of shallots. Use half of the ramps in place of 1 shallot.
You can increase the quantity if you are ready for extra flavors.
12. Powdered Garlic
I know that garlic has a very different flavor from shallots but can be used in very specific recipes of shallots. However, you can also try using garlic powder in place of shallots.
Remember that the powdered form of garlic is stronger, so you need to be very mindful of adding them to any dish.
Garlic powder is idle if you substitute shallots with yellow onions or leeks, which have less garlicky or no garlic flavor.
You can use ⅛ tablespoon of garlic powder in place of 1 shallot. They are in powdered form, so they get cooked real quick, so try to add them at the end of the recipe.
13. Onion Flakes/ Powdered Onion
Another option for replacing shallots can be onion flakes or powder. Similar to garlic powder, onion powder also possesses a great flavor which is more pungent.
However, it is more convenient to use onion powder as it is handy and always available in our kitchen.
The onion powder is mostly made after roasting the onion bulbs and then grounding them, so it also has an umami flavor and is more pungent.
Onion powder is idle to use in place of shallots if you are using garlic, garlic scapes, or garlic powder in place of shallots. You can use ¾ tablespoon of onion powder in place of 1 shallot.
14. French Fried Onions
French fried onions can be substituted in place of shallots only if the recipe calls for crispy shallots on top of the dish.
You can easily get packed french fried onions in your nearby stores. French fried onions are made from yellow onions, which have all the flavors similar to yellow onions.
The packed french fried onions do have flour in them. You can try to French fry the yellow onions at home and use it in place of shallots.
They will be a great option for garnishing and adding an extra crunchy texture to your dish.
Asafoetida is a dried sap of the Ferula plant and the best option if you do want to consume anything from the allium family.
They have sharpness similar to shallots but miss the sweet note, so you need to adjust that part. A pinch of asafoetida is enough to add aromatic flavors.
However, it will not completely replace shallots as the texture of asafoetida is not the same as that of the shallots.
Asafoetida is a very common ingredient in Indian cooking and known for aiding gastric issues. You can pair asafoetida with onion or garlic powder and get close flavors like shallots.
Radish is a very crunchy vegetable, and I know many of you might not have heard of it using it instead of shallots.
Radishes are peppery vegetables used in many recipes that call for shallots. Also, they have a similar texture as shallots and can be used in salads or sauces.
You can use the same quantity of radishes as shallots in any recipe. Use them after chopping or slicing them to get enhanced flavors.
Radish will also have its own flavors, which are actually helpful to make any dish more flavorful.
From the Apiaceae family, celery is a green sticky vegetable that has a good amount of water content. Celery is commonly found in the kitchen and used in many recipes.
So when you are short of shallots, you can go for celery. However, the flavor of celery is milder than shallots, but they have aromatic flavors that can enhance the dish without shallots.
It also has a great crunch when used in raw form. Celery is majorly used in making vegetable stocks. If you want to substitute shallots with celery, you can use 1-2 celery sticks instead of a large shallot.
Carrots may not come to mind if you are looking for a shallot substitute, but try it once if you have nothing but carrots with you.
They, too, have aromatic flavors and can be consumed raw as well. They are generally used in soups, stews, or cooked with other vegetables.
Use 1-2 carrots in place of a medium-sized shallot. You can increase the quantity as per your preference.
19. Spring Onions
Spring onions are nothing but premature red, yellow, or white onions. They are available for only short periods, and if you have them in your kitchen, blindly go with them instead of shallots.
Use it like you use shallots, and you will be shocked by the results. One thing to note is that spring onions have a little spicy taste and miss the sweetness of shallots.
Use 2-3 spring onions instead of a medium shallot, and manage the quantity as per your taste.
20. Cipollini Onions
Cipollini onions are styled french onions which can be found in markets very easily. They are similar in size to shallots but only round in shape.
They have an allium flavor with great sweetness which is a great characteristic if you want to replace them with shallots.
The sweetness of cipollini onions is best when it comes to caramelizing them. As cippolini onions and shallots are the same sizes, you can use them in a 1:1 ratio.
21. Sweet Onions
Sweet onions may not sound like a perfect shallot replacement, but it depends on your recipe.
Sweet onions are milder in flavor and can be used in raw or chopped form even though they have a milder flavor but have a high sweet note when compared with shallots.
So one needs to be careful while replacing shallots with sweet onions, or else the dish may have an unwanted sweetness. Use ¼ cup of chopped sweet onion in place of 1 cup of chopped shallots.
Short Recap Of The Best Substitutes For Shallots
Below is a short recap of the best substitute options for shallots.
Best Shallot Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor –
Chives, leeks, ramps, and celery are the best substitute for shallot, and they have quite similar flavors.
Best Shallots Substitutes That Are Easily Available –
Chives and celery are easily available in the market and can be used instead of shallots.
Shallot Substitutes Should Be Least Considered –
Onions and garlic should be least considered as substitutes for shallots. They can be used only if you have other readily available options.
How To Use Shallots Substitutes In Recipes
21 Best Substitute For Shallots
- Yellow Onions
- Garlic Scapes
- Red Onions
- Dried Onions
- White Pearl Onions
- White Onions
- Powdered Garlic
- Onion Flakes/ Powdered
- French Fried Onions
- Spring Onions
- Cippolini Onions
- Sweet Onions
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Shallot is one of the most underrated ingredients because it has a rich aromatic flavor. They can make a recipe taste so good that you will always come back for more.
Many times we are out of shallots and worry about what to use in place of shallot. However, so many options are available, but nothing can match the level.
If you are cooking something and don’t have shallots handy, try the substitutes I have listed, and let me know how your recipe turned out. I will be back with more interesting and helpful information. Until then, stock up your kitchen with shallots for next time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can we use onions in place of shallots?
Yes, you can use any type of onion – white, red, or yellow- instead of shallots. However, you need to keep a check on the quantity, or else your dish will have more of a pungent smell which is not in the case with shallots.
Are shallots good for health?
Yes, shallots are really good for health. They contain great amounts of antioxidants
What is the closest substitute for shallot?
You can use chives or ramps as they both are crunchy and have an onion and garlic flavor. They are very close to the flavor of the shallot.