Caramelized Shallots


I recently discovered how much I like caramelized shallots. We have used them in everything from pizza to calzones to chicken dishes in the past few months. I love the deep and toasty, yet sweet, flavors they give to everything. They might be my new favorite, running neck and neck with roasted garlic.

I had been making just enough shallots for whatever dish I wanted to use them in. I finally got smart and made a larger batch of caramelized shallots on Friday, so that I could keep them in the fridge, ready to use at the drop of a hat. As with onions, the caramelization process isn’t quick, but it is hands-off, mostly.

I have done mine both in the oven and on the stovetop and I can’t say which I like better. The oven is even more hands-off than the stovetop version, but I think the flavor isn’t as deep and complex. Maybe I just didn’t take mine dark enough. I was rushing to get them done to use them in our calzones that night. Now that I am smarter, I will make mine ahead of time from now on. At least I am saying that now – best laid plans and all that.

Stay tuned for a lovely chicken recipe on Friday that uses the shallots. Make yours now so they will be ready.

Download or print recipe here.

Caramelized Shallots
From The Cook’s Life
Amount varies

Make as many shallots at a time as you like. Be sure they are in a fairly shallow layer in the pan or baking dish to make the process go faster.

1-2 teaspoons olive oil for each shallot
shallots, peeled and sliced thinly

Stovetop method:
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add shallots. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and cover with lid. When most of water has cooked away, stir the shallots. If they are starting to stick to the pan, add a little more water and continue cooking, covered.

Shallots will gradually turn golden brown and be very soft. Lower the heat if the shallots start to brown too fast. When shallots start to brown, stir them more often, and leave the lid off. Keep cooking until they are the color you like. I stopped with golden brown, but you can go to a deep brown, if you like. Be sure to watch them closely as they get darker – they can go from brown to black in no time. The whole process will take 30-45 minutes. Don’t try to hurry things by turning the heat higher – you risk burning the shallots.

Oven method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a casserole dish with a lid. Add olive oil and shallots. Toss to coat shallots with oil. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and cover casserole. Bake for 15 minutes.

Check shallots and see if they are starting to brown. Add a little more water if they look too dry, or are starting to stick. Cover and return to oven for another 15 minutes. Check again. Repeat until shallots are golden brown and soft. Or cook longer until they are dark brown.

Use caramelized shallots on pizza or in your favorite recipes. You can use them in any recipe that calls for onions or shallots. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


6 thoughts on “Caramelized Shallots

  1. Sarah,
    Thanks for an oven option! I’ve used Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious’ crock pot caramelized onions, but never thought of using the oven. I am eagerly awaiting the shallots that are growing great guns in my garden–because I have been without shallots for too long.


    • I have never done enough shallots to do the crockpot, obviously, since I just thought of doing a big batch a few days ago. 🙂 I need to find a source of fresh, cheap shallots this summer. Maybe growing them myself is the answer! Where did you get your starts for the garden?

  2. Sarah, several years back, when I was still living in VA, I grew them…extremely easy to grow, each bulb produces several offset bulbs…our local feed store had the ‘starts’. When I buy them, shopping-wise…I purchase them at Asian grocers…since they’re used extensively in SE Asian foods, they’re not considered ‘special’, and are super inexpensive…not at all like buying from an American style grocer/supermarket. I can get a 1 lb bag, for about $1.00!, down here in FL. You can also plant from store-bought bulbs.


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