How to Cut Shallots

This tutorial will show you how to cut shallots into a julienne and then into a fine dice with step-by-step photos and a video tutorial. Shallots have a unique mild flavor that enhances the taste of dishes like salads, dressing, soups, pasta, and pan sauces. You can use shallots anywhere you want a mild onion flavor. With proper knife skills, you’ll get clean slices and dices every time.

A whole shallot on a white marble counter.

What are shallots?

Shallots belong to the allium family, which also includes garlic and onions. Unlike their larger cousins, shallots have a more delicate and nuanced flavor, often described as a pleasing blend of sweet onion and mild garlic.

The way a shallot is cut can influence the flavor of the dish it’s being used in. Finely minced shallot can blend seamlessly into dressing while bigger julienned pieces are great for frying in pasta dishes.

A peeled shallot with a side view of its rings.

Should I peel the shallots before cutting them?

Yes, shallots need to be peeled before consuming, just like garlic and onions.

What’s the best way to achieve thin even slices?

The best way to achieve thin slices of shallots or onions is by using a sharp chef’s knife.

Ingredients

This is a brief overview of the ingredients used in this recipe followed by substitution ideas. Read the recipe card for measurements.

A whole shallot on a white marble counter.
  • shallots: shallots are alliums like garlic and onion. In my grocery store they are sold in the same type of netting bags as onions. They are usually sold unpeeled and are in the same area of the product section as onions and garlic.

Equipment

  • cutting board: I like a big wooden cutting board with a lot of spacing for chopping. Wood is a good surface to chop on because it’s gentle on your knife.
  • chef’s knife: Make sure your knife is sharp and fits comfortably in your hand. A sharp knife is the best kitchen tool because it will help you cut efficiently, neatly, and safely. A dull knife has a risk of slipping. A sharp knife requires much less pressure to use and gives you better control while making neat clean cuts.

Instructions

Prep Tips

  • Equipment: To stabilize your cutting board for chopping you can set a damp paper towel, dish cloth, or dish towel underneath it. This will help prevent it from moving while you chop.

Step by step instructions for how to slice shallots.

A whole shallot on a white marble counter.
  1. Peel the papery skin off of the shallot, and separate any cloves if needed.
A knife cuts the tip off of a shallot.
  1. Keep the root end intact to hold the shallot together and slice the tip off.
A peeled shallot with a side view of its rings.
  1. You could cut it into rings now if you wanted rings. Separate the slices into rings.
A knife cuts a shallot in half.
  1. Cut the shallot in half.
The inside of a shallot that's cut in half.
  1. You’ll have two halves.
A knife cuts into a shallot.
  1. Lay each half on their flat side. Cut slices into the shallot, leading to the root.
A shallot with long strips cut into it.
  1. Cut the roots off for julienned shallots. Separate the layers.
A knife cuts into a shallot.
  1. To dice the shallot, turn it sideways and cut through the long slices all the way to the root. Discard the root.
Diced shallot on a white marble counter.
  1. You’ll end up with finely diced shallots, ready for use in your recipe.

why should you Use shallots?

Shallots have a milder, slightly sweeter taste than onions and are good in recipes where the flavor of an onion might be overpowering, such as salad dressing recipes.

Diced shallot on a white marble counter.

Tips for chopping shallots and onions

  • Keep the root attached: This will help keep the shallot together and make cutting them easier.
  • Use a sharp knife: A sharp knife is best for kitchen safety and clean cuts. A dull knife is unpredictable and can slip and cause an accident while a sharp knife will slide right through your produce.
  • Minimize tears: Just like onions, shallots can make you cry while cutting them. To help prevent crying while cutting shallots you can chill the shallots for 15 minutes, keep the root end intact, and use a sharp knife that reduces cell damage to the shallots.

What to use Shallots in

You can use shallots wherever you use onions. I like to used diced shallots in dressing recipes like my Apple Dijon Dressing (coming soon).

Love Thai food? Try Pad Thai with Tofu, and Instant Pot Thai Red Curry with Chickpeas from our sister site PiperCooks.

Storage

Store cut shallots in an airtight container in the fridge and use within 4-5 days.

Store whole unpeeled shallots in a cool, dry place like a pantry.

Diced shallot on a white marble counter.

FAQ

Can I freeze shallots?

Yes, shallots can be frozen for up to 3 months but it’s important to get all of the air out and tightly wrap it because extra moisture can change the texture when you thaw it.

What’s the difference between a shallot and an onion?

Shallots are smaller, sweeter, and more subtle in flavor than onions.

A whole shallot on a white marble counter.

How to Cut Shallots

A step-by-step tutorial on how to cut shallots. Use minced shallots in dressing recipes, rings of shallots in salads, and julienned shallots in pasta, casseroles, or stir-fries.
Servings 1
Jacqueline
special diet
A brown circle with the letters p and b to signify plant-based.
An orange circle with the letters s and f to signify soy-free.
A green circle with the letter v to signify vegan.
A green circle with the letters v and v to signify vegetarian.
prep time5 minutes
cook time0 minutes
total time5 minutes

Equipment

  • Chef's Knife
  • Cutting Board

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot

Instructions 

  • Peel the shallot by getting rid of the papery skin and the tough outer layer.
  • Prepare your cutting board by placing a damp towel, dish cloth, or paper towel underneath it.
  • Lay the shallot on a cutting board. Trim the tip off of the shallot, leaving the root end attached.

For Rings

  • Slice the shallot into thin rings all the way to the root. Discard the root.

For Julienne

  • Peel the shallot and cut the tip off, leaving the root intact.
  • Cut the shallot in half lengthwise.
  • Lay each half on their flat sides on the cutting board.
  • With the tip of your knife pointing toward the root end, cut long strips into the shallot, not cutting through the root.
  • Cut the root end off last and discard it.
  • Separate the layers.

For a Fine Dice

  • Peel the shallot and cut the tip off, leaving the root intact.
  • Cut the shallot in half lengthwise.
  • Lay each half on their flat sides on the cutting board.
  • With the tip of your knife pointing toward the root end, cut long strips into the shallot, not cutting through the root.
  • Turn the shallot and cut across the long cuts, leaving you with a fine dice. Cut all the way down to the root end.
  • Cut the root end off last and discard it.

Video

Notes

Keep the root end attached when cutting shallots to help it stay together.
Use a sharp knife for safety and best results.
Store cut shallots tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3-5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months (the texture will change).

Nutrition

Calories: 18kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.3mg
course Side Dish
cuisine French
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A peeled shallot with a side view of its rings with text title for Pinterest.

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