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Shallots are the lesser-used cousin of onions and garlic. You might see them in the store and mistake them for underdeveloped onions, and while they are in the onion family, shallots are in a league of their own when it comes to versatility and flavor.

Shallots 101

Easy to work with — French cuisine regularly gives shallots a starring role and it’s easy to see why. It looks and feels like an onion but tastes sweet and mild when cooked properly. You can use shallots raw, sautéed, roasted, and pureed, and they make a delicious addition to many dishes. Shallots also don’t leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth. (We’re looking at you, garlic.)

Come in a wide variety — Like onions, shallots have a few variations in color and flavor profile. Although shallots are technically perennial plants, they are harvested year-round because of their fast growth time, which means your cooking can benefit from shallot’s flavor anytime! French shallots are the red ones you usually find in stores and have the traditional shallot taste. Jersey shallots (often called false shallots) are bigger and don’t have the same flavor. Dutch shallots are more yellow, smaller than French shallots, and have more of an onion flavor.

Great for you — Like garlic, shallots go beyond just adding great flavor to your cooking. They’re rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and organosulfur compounds, all of which have many associated health benefits.

Now that you’ve learned more about the humble shallot, how will you be incorporating it more into your kitchen?