Best Shallot Substitute

Shallots are hard to replace, but there are a few options if you don’t have this delicate onion on hand! Here’s the best shallot substitute.

Shallot Substitute

Making a recipe that calls for a shallot and don’t have it? We’ve got the answers. Shallot is a small onion with a light and delicate flavor. It often features in Mediterranean and European cuisines, especially French recipes. The flavor is mild and has notes of garlic, unlike a white or red onion which can be very spicy. This means you can use shallot raw in salads for a toned-down onion flavor. It also cooks faster than a white or yellow onion, so it makes for a faster saute.

Shallot is so unique that if at all possible, go to the store and buy yourself some…especially if the word “shallot is in the recipe title! But if the store is all out or you don’t have time to shop, we get it. Here’s the best shallot substitute.

How many cups is 1 shallot chopped?

Before we start: make sure to use the substitution ratio for chopped shallot. Because shallots are much smaller than onions! Here’s the ratio:

  • 1 large shallot = 1/2 cup chopped or minced
  • 1 medium shallot = 1/4 cup chopped or minced
  • 1 small shallot = 2 tablespoons chopped or minced

Best shallot substitute

1. Yellow onion (cooked)

The best shallot substitute for cooking? Yellow onion. Yellow onion can approximate the flavor of a shallot, though of course there’s nothing like a real one. Important: Make sure to use the substitution ratio above for chopped shallot, because shallots are much smaller than onions. Don’t even think about using 1 yellow onion in place of 1 shallot!

2. Red onion (raw)

Another good shallot substitute? You can also use red onion, which is especially nice if you’re using it thinly sliced raw in salads. One caveat: red onion is much spicier than shallot, so here’s a trick. Soak the red onion in cold water for at least 5 minutes before using it raw. This helps to remove some of the bite, and get rid of the onion breath.

3. Green onion / scallions (cooked or raw)

In a pinch, green onion also works as a substitute for shallot. It works well in both cooked and raw uses. Use only the white part of the green onion, and chop it. Use the shallot substitution ratio above, and note that the white part of 1 green onion = about 2 tablespoons chopped.

4. Leeks (cooked)

Leeks also work as a shallot substitute! This works best when the shallot is cooked. The delicate, almost garlicky flavor of leeks matches the flavor of shallot well. Use the shallot substitution ratio above, and note that the white and light green part of 1 large leek = about 1 cup chopped.

Related recipes

Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring shallot:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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