You’re probably familiar with shallots, those small, fragrant bulbs that give dishes like French onion soup their signature flavor. But if you’ve ever tried to make a recipe that calls for shallots and realized you’re all out, you know how disappointing it can be.
Fortunately, there are a few substitutes for shallots that will help you get the same delicious results in your recipes.
I’ll start by explaining what a shallot is and then go over the seven best substitutes for them.
What Are Shallots?
Shallots are linked to onions and garlic since they are from the same family, the alliums. Because of their mild taste, these bulbs are a staple in many cuisines.
Shallots look remarkably similar to little onions. However, scallions are distinguished by their longer form.
Shallots have a mild and subtle taste whether they are raw or cooked. Shallots have a flavor that is both sweet and peppery. Shallots also have an acidic flavor. Shallots, like other allium family members, have a bite, though not as much as red or white onions.
Shallots have an onion-like flavor with a faint garlicky undertone. Raw shallots have a little pungent flavor, but they are never so aggressive that they overshadow the rest of a meal.
Shallots may have an even more mellow taste after being cooked. Shallots soften in flavor when cooked and make a great supporting player to other flavors in a recipe.
Shallots’ taste and texture both benefit from being cooked. In contrast to onions, which maintain their structure even after being cooked for lengthy periods of time, shallots nearly dissolve into the meal.
To prepare meals, shallots may be utilized in many different ways. In many cases, shallots may stand in for onions as the main flavoring agent because of their mild taste. Shallots are used for a variety of dishes, including:
- Pies and tarts
- Stews and casseroles
Best Substitutes For Shallot
Onions are one of the most common substitute for shallot, and they’re really easy to use. You can use them raw or cooked, in any dish that calls for shallots.
You can use onions just like you would shallots: add them to soups, stews, and sauces, or sprinkle them on salads and pastas.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re substituting onions is that they have less bite than shallots do. If you want your dish to have the same flavor profile as it would with shallots, use more onion than you would normally do with the same amount of shallot.
Leeks are a member of the onion family and are used in both savory and sweet dishes. The white part of the leek stems is usually used for cooking, while the green tops can be used for garnish or chopped up for salads.
Leeks have a milder flavor than shallots, but they still have a distinct taste that’s similar to onions. They’re often described as earthy, with a hint of sweetness that makes them perfect for pairing with other aromatic ingredients like mushrooms or carrots.
Chives are edible flower that has a similar shape and size to shallots. They have a milder flavor than shallots, with a hint of garlic, but they’re still pretty strong.
Chives are best when they’re snipped into small pieces and added raw to salads or sandwiches. You can also chop them up and add them to soups or stews, or use them in place of shallots in any recipe that calls for them.
The main flavor profile of chives is mild onion, with hints of garlic and leek. The taste is very similar to shallots but much milder. The texture is more delicate than a typical onion or shallot—it’s somewhat like a cross between scallion and chive—so it’s not as strong-tasting as the other two options on this list.
The uses for chives are pretty similar to those for shallots. One difference is that you can’t use chives raw like you could shallots—you should always use them cooked because their flavor will be too strong if eaten raw.
Garlic has a flavor that’s similar to shallots, but it has a stronger bite. Garlic is often used in stews, soups, and sauces because of its ability to add an extra kick of flavor without overpowering other ingredients.
Garlic has a flavor profile that can be described as “hot,” “spicy,” or “garlicky.” It’s important to note that these descriptors are subjective and based on personal preference—some people love the taste of garlic while others hate it.
If you’re looking for a substitute for shallots in your cooking, try substituting one or two cloves of crushed garlic for each shallot called for in your recipe.
#5 Green Onions
Green onions are a bunch of baby scallions that grow together in a clump. They have a green stalk and white bulb. The outer layers of the bulb are pale green, while the inner layers are white or yellowish-white. The tips of green onions are usually light green or white in color, but they can also be purple, pink, red, or brown.
Green onions are milder than shallots and sweeter than regular onions. They’re best used raw because they lose their flavor when cooked or dried out over time.
Green onions can be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches, diced up as part of a stir-fry, added to soups as garnishings for extra flavor, chopped up and sprinkled on top of cooked rice dishes like fried rice or jambalaya… basically anywhere you’d use regular onion!
#6 Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are green stems that grow from garlic bulbs. They’re often sold at farmers’ markets and are a great way to add a little extra flavor to your dishes.
Garlic scapes have a milder flavor than garlic cloves, so they can be used in place of shallots in recipes like vinaigrettes or dressings and soups. You can also use them as an alternative to chives and scallions in most dishes, though they may not hold up as well to long periods of cooking.
As with any ingredient substitution, it’s important to adjust your recipe accordingly—for instance, if you want more intense garlic flavor in your dish, you may want to add more garlic than the amount called for in the original recipe.
Using a shallot substitute can change the flavor of your meal somewhat, but if you follow the advice in this article, you can come very close. Check them out and give us feedback.