Skip to Content

Shallot Substitutes – What to Use if You Don’t Have Time to Shop

Shallots are a small bulb like plant with a taste that is somewhere between garlic and onion. The flavor is milder and sweeter than onions.  But what can you do if you don’t have time to shop, or can’t find shallots for your recipe?  Use these shallot substitutes, instead!These replacements for shallots will give you a similar taste if you don't have them on hand.

There are many types of this the allium family. Shallots are one of them. Find out about the onion varieties here.

I buy shallots when I can find them and keep them on hand.  I enjoy their mild flavor and like to use them raw in salads, and also in all types of French cooking recipes. (The shallot dill and butter sauce on this halibut recipe rocks!)

Knowing what foods work as replacements for others can be a big timer saver in the kitchen. See my list of heart healthy food replacements here and some gluten free substitutes in this post.

Shallot Substitutes

It’s possible that you may find that stores either don’t stock shallots, or they might cost more than you want to spend.  Also, you might have run out of shallots and don’t have time to run to the store.

If your recipe calls for shallots and you don’t have them on hand, these substitutes for shallots will work in a pinch.

Onions and Garlic

While onions have a stronger flavor than shallots do, they can still work if you are out of the real deal.  Generally speaking, you can substitute onions for shallots 1:1.

But if the recipe calls for more than one half cup of shallots, go easier on the onions, or the flavor will be too oniony.Onions and garlic make a substitute for shallots in cooked dishes

When using white onions as a substitute add a pinch of garlic powder or some minced garlic to the onions. This will give them the onion/garlic flavor that is more like shallots.

Also note that substituting onions for shallots works best for cooked onions. If you use them raw, they will be overpowering to the recipe.

Onions are very easy to grow and are cold hardy. Find out more about growing onions from sets here.


A great shallot substitute is to use green onions, or scallions in place of shallots.  Another names for scallions is spring onions.You can substitute the white end of scallions for shallots

Scallions have a naturally milder flavor than onions, so they are excellent as a replacement for shallots in salads and uncooked recipes.

To get the flavor closest to the shallot, use only the white base of the scallion, which is actually a tiny unformed onion bulb. (you can use the top green portion as a garnish, or as a replacement for chives in another recipe.)

The flavor of the scallions will be enhanced is you add a bit of garlic powder, or minced garlic as well as the white part of the scallion.


The green part of leeks makes a great substitute for shallots. Leeks are quite mild and can be substituted 1:1 for shallots.The green part of leeks can be used as a substitute for shallots

The flavor of leeks is similar enough that they don’t need the extra garlic added to the recipe. Be sure to use only the top of the leeks where the leeks starts to turn green, not the white end part.

Also, add the leeks later in the cooking process so that you don’t over cook them.

Garlic Scapes

A garlic scape is perhaps not as often found, but if you do have some by growing your own garlic, they make a good substitute for shallots in a recipe.  Garlic scapes are the flower bud end of the garlic plant.

Their taste naturally falls somewhere between garlic and onion, which is the same flavor profile as shallots.use Garlic scapes as a substitute for shallots

Garlic scapes are firmer than green onions, but have a stronger flavor, so cut back on the amount by about 1/4. So if your recipe calls for 1/2 cup of shallots, use about 6 tablespoons of garlic scapes.

Red Onions

If your recipes calls for raw shallots, you can use red onions instead by substituting them 1:1. The flavor of red onions is milder than normal white onions and closer to that of onions make a good substitute for shallots in raw dishes

Cooking red onions gives the dish an unappealing look, so it’s best to use this substitute for uncooked recipes such as salads.

Now it’s your turn. What have you used as a substitute for shallots when you did not have them on hand? Please leave your comments below.

To give yourself a reminder of this post later, just pin this image to one of your Pinterest cooking boards.

These shallot substitutes have a similar taste to the real thing. Use them if you don't have shallots on hand.

Share on Social Media

Daylily photo gallery
Daylily Photo Gallery
Blanket flower (also called Gaillardia)
Growing Gaillardia - Blanket Flower Perennial Care Tips

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."