How to Cook With Shallots

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Shallot and potatoes are perfect for a roast chicken. Add a salad, and you have the perfect meal.

How to Cook with Shallots

Shallots are one of my absolute favorite members of the onion family and an ingredient that I like to have in the kitchen at all times. They are extra special in that they are a bit sweeter than regular onions and offer a wonderful (but not overwhelming) onion flavor to whatever they touch.

Shallots are incredible for sautéing and stir-frying and can also be braised or roasted, in chunks or whole. Thin slices can be added to salads. And I almost never make a vinaigrette dressing recipe without some minced shallot (or at least some member of the onion family).

Read on to discover more about this sweet, cute neighbor of the common onion. I’ve also collected some go-to recipes that use shallots at the bottom, including a recipe for a tempting, lemon-y whole roast chicken with garlicky shallots and tiny potatoes.

Shallots on a surface.

What Are Shallots?

If you want to get technical, shallots are “alliums,” which is actually the Latin word for garlic. So, siblings of shallots include garlic, leeks, chives, and white, red and yellow onions. 

There are two basic types of shallots: traditional French shallots (considered by many to be the “true” shallot, pictured above) and seed-grown shallots. Shallots can be grown either in a traditional (“French”) way with multiple bulbs on a single plant or from a seed. The former has a hard end where it was separated from the bulbous plant and a softer texture when cooked. The latter has a whisker-like end that serves as the roots of the singular bulb and has a firmer texture.

Fork on a dish of Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan.
Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan

What Do Shallots Look Like? 

Shallots look like small yellow onions, usually with papery skin that is either deep golden brown or reddish. Regular, seed-grown shallots are fairly round and bulbous, often with two lobes attached by the root. They range in size; the smaller ones are younger and usually milder in taste. Most common in the United States are Jersey shallots, which have a deeper, pink-copper color.

French shallots are most common (as one might expect) in France but also available elsewhere. They may have a slightly grayish tone to the skin and are usually more elongated in shape.

How to Cook with Shallots
French shallots are on the left, and “regular” shallots are on the right.

What do Shallots Taste Like?

Some people think shallots taste milder than onions in general. I disagree — I find them to be fairly comparable, and by that, I also mean that the intensity varies from shallot to shallot. Yes, in general, the smaller ones are milder, but every shallot has its own personality, so give it a taste to see how strong it is, and make adjustments to the amount used as you see fit.

When cooked, shallots become slightly sweet and quite lush. “Melting” is a term often used with shallots because when they are cooked, they become very soft, and their flavor melds beautifully into dishes.

Shallot Substitutes

If your recipe calls for shallots and you don’t have any on hand, you can use onions to get the job done in many situations. Make sure to chop them extra finely. Yellow onions are sweetest and replicate the taste of shallots best.

How to Cook with Shallots: Everything you need to know about how to buy, prepare, and cook shallots, one of the most wonderful members of the onion family.

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Where To Find Shallots

Shallots are usually available in most grocery stores and farmers markets — wherever onions are sold. You’ll usually be able to find them near the onions and potatoes.

How to Choose Shallots

Select shallots as you would any onion: Pick the nice, firm bulbs with bright, taut skin. Avoid those with damage or bruises. If you want a bolder shallot taste, go for the large ones; if you are looking for a milder flavor, the small shallots are the way to go.

Sprinkling crispy shallots over Fresh Green Bean Casserole.
Fresh Green Bean Casserole

How to Prepare Shallots

Shallots can be prepared in a number of ways, similar to onions. Step one is pretty much always removing the skin. Slice the ends off the shallot and peel the skin off. Depending on your intended use for the shallot, they are then usually thinly sliced or chopped, coarsely or finely. Sometimes, they are left whole for roasting or braising.

How to Cook With Shallots

Shallots are as versatile as any of their onion siblings. Sliced or chopped raw, they are often added to various vinaigrettes and marinades, salsas, and salads. 

Shallots can also be sliced or chopped and sautéed with olive oil/butter and garlic as a base for soups, sauces, casseroles, sautés, and quiches. 

Roasting small peeled shallots as part of a sheet of roasted vegetables is really nice. Another way you might see shallots served are sliced, and all crisped up in hot oil, then used to top everything from burgers, stews, salads, or pretty much anything else!

Pouring oil over pan of chopped shallots.

How to Store Shallots

Shallots can be stored in a cool, dry place and will keep for about 1 month. Alternatively, they can also be stored uncovered in the refrigerator for about the same amount of time. If you press on the outside of the shallots and it gives, it’s getting past its prime. Once you peel, slice, or chop a shallot, the raw shallot should be placed in an air-tight container and can stay fresh in your fridge for about 5 days.


Are shallots nutritious?

Not only are shallots delicious, but they are very nutritious as well (though usually they are used in small quantities, so keep in mind that you’re not getting a whole lot of shallot). Shallots are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to Healthline, they contain flavonoids, an antioxidant that has immune-boosting properties and helps buffer the body against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

When are shallots in season?

Although shallots reach their peak growing time in late spring/early summer, shallots are generally available in stores year-round.

7 Recipes With Shallots

 Here are some recipes that use shallots.

How to Make Crispy Shallots
5 from 2 votes

How to Make Gluten-Free Crispy Shallots

Crispy shallots are so simple to make, and add amazing flavor and crunch to all kinds of dishes from steaks to burgers to stews to salads.
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Green Beans and Mushrooms with Shallots
5 from 1 vote

Green Beans and Mushrooms with Shallots

A generous amount of thinly sliced shallots add wonderful flavor to this holiday side dish.
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White bowls of Farrotto with Golden Beets, Mixed Herbs and Crispy Shallots.
5 from 2 votes


A pile of crispy shallots is the perfect topper for this interesting take on risotto.
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Fresh Green Bean Casserole / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen
5 from 1 vote

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

Wow your family this holiday season by making a fresh version of this classic side dish.
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Sautéed Haricot Verts with Red Onions and Shallots topped with crumbled cheese.
5 from 1 vote

Sautéed Haricots Verts with Red Onions and Shallots

This is the perfect green bean side to serve with a roast chicken or a holiday meal. The onions and shallots get caramelized and sweet in the pan. You can top it with crumbled cheese, or leave it plain and simple.
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Simple Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan / Photo by Mia / Katie Workman /
5 from 2 votes

Simple Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan

Shallots and Parmesan turn asparagus into a very special spring side dish.
View Recipe

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Roast Chicken with Shallots and Potatoes

If you haven’t made roast chicken lately, please fix that this week! And while it’s certainly convenient to avail yourself of a pre-roasted chicken from a supermarket, it’s easy and so enjoyable to make it yourself. And you’ll be rewarded with the rich smell of roasting chicken and the satisfaction of knowing that this comfort food meal is all you. In a perfect world, no one would graduate high school without knowing how to roast a chicken.

This one just needs a salad to pair with it, as there are a generous amount of shallots and potatoes roasted right along with the bird.


  • Garlic – In this recipe, you actually don’t need to peel the garlic cloves (which, let’s be honest, is quite a relief).
  • Shallots – The star of the show in this post, and super sweet when cooked down with chicken!
  • Baby potatoes – Sure, you could do this with cut-up normal-sized potatoes, but baby potatoes are awfully cute.
  • Olive oil – A drizzle of olive oil sets up the garlic, shallots, and tiny taters to get nice and crispy in the oven.
  • Butter – Rub butter on the skin of the chicken so that it gets nice and crispy, too.
  • Rosemary leaves – Fresh, aromatic rosemary brings the flavor of this chicken to the next level.
  • Whole chicken
  • Lemon – That halved lemon goes inside the chicken, adding flavor to the bird and the pan juices.

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4.41 from 5 votes

Roast Chicken with Shallots and Potatoes

Shallot and potatoes are perfect for a roast chicken. Add a salad, and you have the perfect meal.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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  • 2 heads garlic (plus 2 garlic cloves, finely minced)
  • 10 shallots (peeled)
  • 1 pound tiny potatoes (about 1-inch in diameter)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 whole chicken (3 ½ to 4 pounds; rinsed and patted dry; remove any giblets and save for another use)
  • 1 lemon (halved)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)


  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Separate the garlic cloves, but do not peel them. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, shallots, and potatoes. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss to combine.
  • Combine 2 tablespoons of the butter, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl. Carefully loosen the skin of the chicken over the breast area and use your hand to work the butter mixture under the skin and over the meat. Place the lemon halves into the cavity of the chicken. Rub the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter over the skin of the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Distribute the potatoes, shallots, and garlic around the chicken. Roast for about 50 to 60 minutes, until the skin is browned and crispy and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 F when inserted into the meaty part of the thigh, not touching the bone. Or, when you make a small cut in the thigh, the juices should run clear, not pink.
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes so that the juices settle in the meat. Carve the chicken (discard the lemon inside the chicken), then arrange on a serving platter surrounded by the roasted garlic and shallots and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. The roasted garlic cloves will be soft and mellow in flavor. They are wonderful squeezed out of their paper skins onto toast, bread, or slices of the chicken.  


Whenever you are roasting a chicken, think about roasting a second. You’ll be able to use the leftovers in different dishes (or just enjoy them as is) all week long.


Calories: 725kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 47g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 173mg, Sodium: 264mg, Potassium: 1178mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 616IU, Vitamin C: 36mg, Calcium: 91mg, Iron: 4mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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