Shallots: Tips and Tricks

A member of the allium family, which includes kitchen constants like onions and garlic, shallots are almost like the greatest hits version of their more famous relatives. Pungent when raw but mild and sweet when cooked, shallots are a true workhorse in the kitchen. Expand your allium knowledge and see for yourself why so many chefs are making the switch to shallots.

  • Though shallots and onions are in the same family, they’re not one and the same. Explore their differences here.
  • Not sure what flavors to pair with shallots? When cooked, shallots can boost the flavor of light meats like chicken or fish without overpowering subtle flavor notes. Raw shallots, on the other hand, are great additions to salads or sandwiches!
  • Stateside, you’re most likely to come across a squat, red variety like dutch red or pikant but that doesn’t mean other varieties aren’t available. Be on the lookout for torpedo shallots, which are milder and easier to work with. You can identify them by their long, straight exteriors.
  • Once you’re ready to start selecting your shallots, look for ones that feel heavy for their size and don’t give to pressure. Size can have a big impact on your shallot too; expect larger ones to have a bolder taste that’s closer to a standard “onion” flavor. In our opinion, smaller is better, but it does come at the cost of a lower yield. 
  • Similar to other alliums, shallots are easy to store and have an excellent shelf-life. For best results, keep them in a cool, dark place with ample airflow. If stored properly, you can expect your shallots to last about a month or so before spoiling.
    • Pro Tip: You can still use shallots once they’ve sprouted, but remove the sprouts before serving; they’re much more bitter than the rest of the shallot. 
  • Shallots are delicious when cooked, but they tend to get more tender once they’ve been exposed to a little heat. Even so, they can be roasted, sautéed, braised, or grilled to great success!