Many of us equate fine, gourmet cooking with rare and expensive ingredients such as saffron and black truffle, but in truth, the most fundamental principles of gourmet cooking are to keep it simple and source high-quality, local ingredients! Enter the shallot! This humble and easy-to- grow allium will instantly elevate your dishes and provide a fantastic backbone for even the most basic recipes  


Is a Shallot the Same as an Onion?  


Latin name Allium cepa gr. Aggregatum, the shallot is a member of the onion family and can pretty much be used interchangeably with onions in your dishes. In culinary terms, the onion has a decidedly more pungent flavor, while shallots are mellow and almost garlicy.  


How Do I Grow Shallots?  


Shallots are like all other onion family members in that they prefer full sun, rich soil and do not like competition from weeds or other plants growing too close by. Shallots are unique from onions in that they do not produce true seed and a single bulb is planted in late winter/early spring and a cluster of bulbs forms around the “mother” bulb. (See Zebrune shallot seeds for one exception to that rule.) 


For a complete guide to growing shallots, check out our growing guide on 


How Do I Cook with Shallots 


Shallots can be used in place of onion in recipes; however, there are countless incredible recipes that allow shallots to shine at center stage. Shallots can be thinly sliced and pickled; they can be fried and tossed atop salads and other dishes to add an element of crunch. They can be caramelized, perfect with mushrooms and spinach. Shallots are celebrated in the legendary Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook by Alice Waters. This seminal vegetable tome includes such recipes as Shallot Flan and Glazed whole Shallots and, of course, a simple shallot and lemon vinaigrette.