Have your recipe ready and can’t find shallots?
In a pinch, red onions can substitute for shallots, but the taste will be significantly different.
While both red onions and shallots are part of the allium or onion family, they are different species.
The shallot or allium ascalonium has a unique tapered shape that makes them look different from other onions.
Onions, or allium cepa, are more round and have different colored skins.
Their flavor profiles make them suited for different recipes.
Shallots are flavorful with a milder taste and smell, while red onions have a more robust, more pungent profile.
Shallots should be used in dishes requiring a more delicate taste, while red onions are great for dishes that need intense flavors.
Shallots are considered a better onion because of their milder flavor and aroma, making them a favorite with some chefs.
While red onions are sweeter, they also can overpower a dish with their sharp and potent flavor.
Red onions also grow as a single bulb, while shallots grow in bunches, similar to garlic.
Shallots should be used in salads, or dipping sauces, adding to the flavor without overpowering the dish.
They will be an excellent choice in slow-roasted or braised dishes, where their sweetness can bring out flavors without taking over the show.
Red onions can be used in stir-fries, soups, stews, and the delicious French Onion Soup.
Deep-fried shallots make an excellent garnish for salads, soups, and stews.
Crispy and flavorful, they are a common addition to Asian meals.
To make crispy fried shallots, first:
- Peel the shallots and slice thinly. Try to make them as equally thick as possible. Shallots can turn from a beautiful golden brown to a burnt, blackened mess in a flash.
- Place the shallots in oil first before heating the oil. This might sound strange to everyone that is used to heating the oil first. However, as mentioned, shallots burn easily, and dropping them into hot oil will just burn them.
- Fry until golden brown. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Watch them with an eagle eye. When they start turning brown, turn off the flame and continue frying in hot oil. If you are too late, the whole batch will be burnt!
- Strain the shallots or scoop them out with a sieve. If you like, you can keep the oil for subsequent use.
- Pat dry with kitchen towels to remove excess oil.
Presto! You have a delicious snack on its own or a perfect addition to most dishes, especially when added to Asian cuisine.
Watch the video recipe and make the best crispy fried shallots ever
Can I use red onion instead of shallots?
Red onions and shallots do not taste the same.
Shallots have a mild, delicate flavor, while red onions are potent and sharp.
Red onions can be used in a pinch even if the recipe calls for shallots, but the dish will have a vastly different taste.
Red onions have a stronger flavor than shallots and will overpower any dish that doesn’t have an equal amount of sweetness to it.
They also have a sweeter taste that might not appeal to some people as the shallot’s milder flavor.
Red onions have a stronger flavor and can overpower some dishes, so they are often used in richer dishes.
Shallots have a milder flavor than red onions, and they do not change the taste or texture of the dish as much as red onions do.
Both onions and shallots are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.
The nutritional content of 100g of both in raw form are:
|Protein||1 g||2.5 g|
|Carbohydrate||10 g||17 g|
|Calcium||17 mg||37 mg|
|Magnesium||11 mg||21 mg|
|Phosphorus||41 mg||60 mg|
Are shallots stronger than red onions?
No. Shallots have a sweet, milder flavor with a slight hint of sharpness, while red onions are pungent and intense.
Shallots should be used in dishes that require a more delicate addition, while red onions will overpower the dish.
Shallots and red onions are members of the same plant family called alliums.
Shallots can be pickled and used as a condiment, while red onions typically taste stronger and are typically sliced finely like a chiffonade.
There is a substantial difference of opinion in the culinary world on which vegetable has a stronger taste – shallots or red onions.
Shallots have more sulfur-containing compounds than red onions do, which is why they have a more intense flavor.
The nutritional content of both shallots and red onions is similar, with shallots having slightly more vitamins and nutrients.
The health benefits of any onion from the allium family are vast. Onions have long been credited with:
- Improve heart health from the high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Onions have been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and blood clots.
- The fiber in onions promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria called probiotics. Our bodies are unable to digest fiber. Fermentable fiber goes into feeding the good guys in our colon that balance the gut and defend us from harmful invading bacteria.
- Onions also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with reducing muscle aches and pains.
- The anti-inflammatory properties also protect the various organs and brain, the key to reducing the risk of severe diseases like heart attacks, Parkinson’s, and respiratory problems.
- Distinctive amino acids found in onions called cysteine sulfoxides have been shown to boost testosterone, the hormone that controls aggression and sex drive.
- Onionin A is what gives onions their powerful taste. It is a sulfur-containing compound that has been shown to slow tumor development and could help reduce the risk of cancer.
- The phytochemicals that onions contain react with the body to trigger healthy reactions and support the immune system.
Why do chefs use shallots instead of onions?
Shallots have a sweeter, milder taste than red onions, which are intense and sharp.
Gourmet chefs love using shallots to add flavor without having a dish overpowered.
Many of us are so accustomed to the harsh taste of onions that it might be surprised how much better a dish can be just by substituting shallots.
Shallots are especially common in Asian cuisine, which is often spicy.
Most won’t want the overwhelming taste of onions mixed into spicy food.
Shallots have a sweeter taste and milder flavor and will make excellent additions to curries, stews, soups, and stir-fries.
There are numerous ways for you to incorporate shallots into your life.
- You can add them raw to salads. Just slice a couple of them up thinly and chuck them in your next meal.
- They can be added to stir-fries or lightly sauteed.
- They can be baked until golden brown and added into condiments, dips, vinaigrettes, and mashed potatoes.
- They can be fried and kept to be used as garnishes. When frying sliced shallots, use room temperature oil so you can control the temperatures better. Shallots burn incredibly quickly and can go from golden brown to black in a flash.
- You can pickle shallots to add acidity to salads. Simply toss a few thinly-sliced shallots in a bowl with some vinegar, sugar, and salt and store after a few minutes.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.