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A Shallot Substitute: Two Options You Probably Have In Your Pantry

A Shallot Substitute: Two Options You Probably Have In Your Pantry

I’m working on a recipe, and I forgot to buy the shallots, which is a variety of onion that tastes like regular onions with a pinch of garlic powder.

Honestly, french gray shallot is not a type of onion that I generally keep around, especially in the small amount that recipes call for.

But as a fan of onion flavor in a lot of the asian cuisines that we create, it’s become a habit to pick up small shallots here and there.

Sure, they are tasty, and I love cooking with them because of their milder taste, but I find them a bit overpriced these days. 

Sometimes I go to the grocery store and they don’t even have any. 

So if you find yourself in a situation like I am, and you’re trying to figure out your best shallot substitute, here is what I am going to do in my recipe.

I usually have red onions around, and they take the place of shallots fairly well.

Shallots are a fairly new addition to my cooking routine. 

I only started using them after I started ordering cooking boxes. I don’t recall if it was Home Chef or Plated that first introduced me to the joys of cooking with shallots. 

Regardless, they do add such a wonderful flavor of shallot to a dish. I love the flavor of onion but Andi isn’t quite as much of a fan. 

That is why she gets excited when she sees me cooking a dish with the delicate flavor of shallots. 

She knows that she is going to get that mild shallot flavor without the overpowering kick that onions offer.

The green part of leeks has a similar flavor profile to shallots. The green portion of the leeks have a mild taste compared to the white bulb portion. 

If you are looking for more of a delicate flavor, leeks can be a great alternative.

If you need a shallot replacement use the greens of leeks in equal parts to the requirement for shallots.

I prefer to use leeks as a substitute option when the recipe calls for cooked shallots. When it comes to using the ingredients like raw onions the texture can be a bit weird. 

Greens of leeks 1:1

Substitute yellow onion for shallots

Yellow onions, which are sometimes called sweet onion are a good substitute for shallots. The flavor profile is similar to the flavor of shallot and the texture is really close. 

Yellow onion doesn’t have that hint of garlic that shallot does so you may want to add in a small amount of garlic with the yellow onion.

As far as onions go, yellow onion has a mild taste. The cooking process also creates a sweet taste with most onions.

If the recipe calls for cooked shallots replace yellow onion in a ratio of shallots 1 to 1. 

If the recipe calls for raw shallots replace yellow onion which half ratio. In other words, only use half as much yellow onion.

Cooked yellow onion 1:1
Raw yellow onion ½:1

Substitute green onion for shallots

If you find yourself out of shallots, but you have some green onions (also known as scallions) these are a terrific substitute. 

Cut the white portion of these onions and only use that. You can substitute the white part of the scallion one to one. 

Save the green stalk of the scallion for a future recipe or dice it up and garnish your dish with it for an extra treat.

In the end, green onions are the best shallot substitute. 

Whites of green onions 1:1 ratio

Substitute white onion for shallots

White onions have a bold flavor. They are much harsher than shallots but if you are out of shallots and these are all that you have, they will work. 

The trick to substituting white onion for shallots is to use only half as much and add a pinch of garlic. 

Add garlic is optional but it will help you get much closer to that shallot flavor.

White onion: ½:1 ratio with a pinch of minced garlic

FAQ about shallots

What do shallots taste like?

Shallots taste a little bit like a mixture of an onion and a touch of garlic. It is very light on the garlic taste, but I sense those hints nonetheless. 

A shallot raw has a very pungent flavor, and a cooked shallot is much milder in flavor. 

The lovely thing about a shallot is cooking with one will not overpower the dish. Onions have a terrible habit of overpowering a recipe, and this is why a lot of cooks prefer stovetop cooking with shallots.

What does a shallot look like?

A shallot looks like an oblong, small or medium onion. It has a papery skin that is a brownish copper color. 

You will also see hints of pink. When you cut into a shallot, it will have a light purple to white color tone. 

When you cut into a shallot, you will also find two to four cloves.

How long does a shallot last?

How long a shallot will last depends on how they are stored. Dry shallot stored in a cool and dark place can last about a month. 

Shallots stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator will last 10 – 12 days.

Which is stronger: shallots or onions?

Onions and shallots are similar in taste, but generally, onions are more pungent. Shallots, especially cooked shallots, have a milder flavor profile.

The bottom line

In my recipe, I ended up substituting yellow onion for shallots, and it worked out great. 

While it would have been awesome to have shallots on hand,  I’m delighted that I had an opportunity to try out the substitution and tell you guys about it here.

Shallot Substitute

Shallot Substitute

Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute

If you are looking for the best substitutes for shallots here is our best tip for what to substitute for shallots.


  • 1 green onion


  1. Substitute whites of green onions 1:1 ratio

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