Here's What You Can Substitute For Shallots

Shallots have definitely been having a moment for quite a while now. From viral New York Times pasta recipes to TikTok hashtags with 6.3 million views and counting (via TikTok), you'd be hard pressed to find someone who can truly say that (at least the mention of) this piece of produce hasn't crossed their path.

Although the word shallot sounds a bit like a fancy onion, these blubs are not perfectly synonymous with the common kitchen staple. Like onions, MasterClass says shallots are part of the allium family, and are close relatives to both chives and garlic (with them being grown in clusters like the latter). Based on how you cook them, shallots can take on sharper, more pungent flavors, or be rather subdued and exude hints of sweetness.

Though shallots bring a depth and flavor to recipes in a way that many other alliums or herbs will find it hard to rival, you may end up in a situation where you do not have any of the unique bulbs on hand. But never fear — there are a few ways to substitute shallots, depending on what qualities you're after.

What to do when you find yourself short on shallots

While a certain dish or recipe might call for shallots specifically, there are right and wrong ways to go about selecting substitutes if you're unable to acquire the allium. According to MyRecipes, swapping onions for shallots works ideally when the recipe calls for the shallots being cooked, as using raw onions to replace raw shallots will not be the most palatable exchange. For ideal results, choosing yellow onions (versus red, white, or sweet) will offer a flavor that isn't too sharp or mellow. A simple rule for conversion is that one small onion is roughly equivalent to three small shallots. To get the flavor of your dish to be even more shallot-like (rather than just onion-y) The Gardening Cook offers an easy hack: Simply add in a pinch of garlic powder or a little bit of minced garlic.

Shallot substitutes are not just limited to yellow onions, however. The Gardening Cook notes that you can make use of other members of the allium family as well, including leeks, garlic scapes, green onions, and sometimes even red onions, depending on what you're going for. Whether it be cooked, pickled, steamed, roasted, or even raw, as with any replacement ingredient in the kitchen, it's all about context.