Many recipes call for shallots – a member of the onion family. 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!
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.
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!)
Keep reading to find out more about this versatile vegetable and what to use if you don’t have them on hand for a recipe.
There are many types of this the allium family. Shallots are one of them. Find out about the onion varieties here.
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.
Share this post about these replacements for shallots on TwitterShallots are a very versatile member of the allium family. They can be used in all sorts of recipes. Find out what to use in their place if you don't have them on hand at The Gardening Cook. Click To Tweet
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 shallots.
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.
Admin note: this post for shallot alternatives first appeared on the blog in August of 2018. I have updated the post to add all new photos, and a video for you to enjoy.
Shallot Substitutes Printable
Shallots are a very versatile vegetable that have a mild onion flavor. They can be hard to find at the grocery store, though. This printable shows some shallot alternatives to use in their place for best results.
Print it out and add it to your recipe files.
- Printer paper or cardstock
- Computer Printer
- Load your heavy card stock or glossy photo paper into your Deskjet printer.
- Choose portrait layout and if possible "fit to page" in your settings.
- Print out and add to your recipe files.
Tuesday 11th of October 2022
Under your photo of Shallot substitutes, you have a photo of a spring onion but it is listed as Scallions. Green onion and scallions are the same but spring onions have a large bulb.
Wednesday 12th of October 2022
Hi Kim, thank you for letting me know about my photo error. I have adjusted the photo for the correct image.
Saturday 9th of January 2021
great so much help to some one that has just learned to cook thanks
Tuesday 16th of June 2020
My mom and I had a favorite "baked rice" recipe from a NY Times Cook Book that we made all of the time. If we didn't have scallots on hand, I substituted a bit of onion and garlic in the recipe. Worked great. Also, this was pre-Google so I had to come up with it on my own.
Today I am making Tyler Florence's Shrimp Scampi and Linguine and since I was already to the store, had no desire to go back again. While I have no shallots, I do happen to have some scallions so will be using them.
Tuesday 31st of March 2020
Best I’ve read yet!! Where does seeet white onion play in all this
Wednesday 1st of April 2020
Hi Carolyn. I've written a post on the different types of onions and how to use them. You can read it here.
Tuesday 31st of March 2020
Thank you for this very helpful tutorial on all things onions!