Shallots, like many other plants in the allium family, are known for their potent yet irresistible place in the kitchen, making so many dishes taste richer, more exotic and generally pleasant to the palate. But, sometimes, we can’t have all of our ingredients, making us question what we should use for substitution in the dish.
Onions are the ideal replacement for shallots in cooking!
Shallot substitutes can be easily found without a problem, starting close to home, with the allium family of plants and vegetables such as garlic and onion. They too grow in clusters and have a similar taste, but unlike the rich and fragrant taste and smell of the shallot, they may lack in some departments, but when you are in a pinch, they can do marvels, and balancing the sweetness, strength and taste can all be achieved with some variants of spices, herbs and mixes in between.
The most used substitution for shallots is, of course, onions, who can come in a variety of forms and flavors such as green onion or better known as spring onion, yellow onion, white onion, some variants of red onion and so on, and since it’s a plant really close to the shallot, only minor tweaking will be needed to get that full texture and taste of a run of the mill shallot.
If by any chance you are feeling wilder, and/or want to experiment in the kitchen in a bit, you can use leek as a replacement, giving your food a richer, greener taste, but unlike the shallot, leek cannot be used in conjunction with almost anything, so choosing with what to pair it as a substitution in a recipe can be of great importance.You may also use cippolini, which are smaller, round and flat Italian variants of onions, which are mostly used for pickling and bottling, but if you can find them fresh in the spring, they can be amazing, or if you can customize a recipe for using pickled variants of them, they can work well too.
Generally, all forms of closely related plants and vegetables from the Allium family can be used as substitution for shallots, but some forms may suit your personal preference or the recipe more closely than others, so when choosing a substitution, testing some variations can be the best way to decide what you should and shouldn’t use, and with that said, I hope that this small guide can help you in finding your perfect substitution for that meal you have planned, so without further adieu, happy cooking, have fun and don’t forget the salt and pepper!