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

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.

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.

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.

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Shallots 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

Shallot Substitutes with amounts and photos.

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.Two bunches of scallions.

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.

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.

Yield: 1 printable

Shallot Substitutes Printable

Shallot replacements in recipes

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.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • Printer paper or cardstock


  • Computer Printer


  1. Load your heavy card stock or glossy photo paper into your Deskjet printer.
  2. Choose portrait layout and if possible "fit to page" in your settings.
  3. Print out and add to your recipe files.

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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.

Carol Speake

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

Kacee Conklin

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.

Carolyn Beckner

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

Best I’ve read yet!! Where does seeet white onion play in all this

Carol Speake

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.

Jacintha White

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

Thank you for this very helpful tutorial on all things onions!

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."

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