Shallots and onions are two popular ingredients featured in a wide range of recipes.

But while shallots and onions share several similarities, many differences set them apart.

This article compares and contrasts the taste, appearance, nutritional value, and potential uses of shallots and onions.

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Both shallots and onions are vegetables that belong to the Allium genus, which also includes other plants like leeks, chives, and garlic.

However, although onions and shallots are closely related, there are several key differences between the two.

For starters, onions are covered in papery skin, which reveals several layers of rings when peeled. They vary in size and color but are most commonly white, yellow, or red.

Unlike onions, shallots grow in clusters, and the cloves are oblong in shape, with colors ranging from grey to pale purple or brown.

Shallots also have a mild, somewhat sweet flavor, which is more subtle than the sharp, pungent taste of onions.

Additionally, while onions are often found in various dishes, shallots are less common and typically significantly more expensive.


Onions and shallots are closely related but have several key differences in appearance, taste, and popularity.

Both shallots and onions are rich in nutrients, including fiber and an array of important vitamins and minerals.

Here is how 2/3 cup (100 grams) of raw shallots and onions compare in terms of nutrition (1, 2):

Protein2.5 grams1.1 grams
Fat0.1 grams0.1 grams
Carbs16.8 grams9.3 grams
Fiber3.2 grams1.7 grams
Vitamin B620% of the Daily Value (DV)7% of the DV
Manganese13% of the DV6% of the DV
Copper10% of the DV4% of the DV
Folate9% of the DV5% of the DV
Vitamin C9% of the DV8% of the DV
Potassium7% of the DV3% of the DV
Iron7% of the DV1% of the DV
Pantothenic acid6% of the DV3% of the DV
Magnesium5% of the DV2% of the DV
Thiamin5% of the DV4% of the DV

Although onions contain fewer calories in the same serving size, shallots are higher in many essential nutrients.

In particular, shallots contain a higher amount of fiber and are rich in vitamin B6, manganese, copper, folate, and vitamin C.


While onions are lower in calories, shallots contain a higher amount of several vitamins and minerals.

Onions are used in a variety of dishes thanks to their distinct flavor and versatility.

In particular, red onions have a mild flavor that works well when served raw on sandwiches, salads, and burgers.

Meanwhile, yellow onions can be sautéed, roasted, or caramelized and added to soups, dips, and savory pastries.

Compared with yellow onions, white onions are slightly sweeter and have a crisp texture that makes a great addition to salsa and guacamole.

On the other hand, shallots are favored for their subtle, delicate taste and can be pickled, caramelized, or roasted and used in salad dressings, sauces, and vinaigrettes.

Shallots are sometimes added to soups and pasta dishes or used as a garnish to top casseroles and side dishes.

You can sometimes swap cooked onions in for cooked shallots, but it’s important to adjust the quantity to account for the size differences.

Shallots can also be used in place of onions, but keep in mind that it may change the flavor of the final dish.


Onions are used in a variety of dishes, and different types may work better for certain recipes. Shallots have a more subtle, delicate flavor that works well in salad dressings, sauces, and vinaigrettes.

Shallots and onions are closely related but have several notable differences in terms of taste and appearance.

Compared with onions, shallots contain more calories but are higher in fiber and micronutrients.

While there are also a few distinctions between their culinary applications, you can use them interchangeably in certain recipes.