Learn how to cut shallots quickly and simply. Shallots are a great onion that has a milder flavor than its cousins the yellow and sweet onion. These tasty onions are more elongated in shape and typically smaller than a yellow onion.
They tend to be more in a clove fashion rather than independent like a red onion. You will peel them away like you would garlic. When you are choosing a shallot shoot for one that firm to the touch and not squishy.
Video – How to cut shallots
- 3 shallots
- cutting board
- paring knife
What is a shallot?
A shallot is an onion. It has a milder flavor than its cousins. It is very popular in French cooking and it is used in all kinds of pan sauces. If I was going to use a substitute for a shallot I would use a yellow onion.
6 Simple steps to cut a shallot
We have two different ways to cut these shallots. Most people will end up dicing a shallot to get it really fine. Finely diced shallots are very common in a pan sauce or a dish with finely diced onion.
We will also cover slicing a shallot. You can do this to get a little bit bigger piece than a dice. You can also not cut it in half and end up with some really cool shallot rings.
Cut the stem end off
Cut the end off of the shallot. We want to leave the root end so it keeps it all intact as we cut it. You can trim a bit off of the root end if it makes it easier to peel the skin off.
Peel off the skin
These little guys can be delicate. You want to try to peel the skin off without damaging the shallot. You can use a pairing knife to make a very fine slice so you have something to get under.
Sometimes your nails will work fine without a knife.
You can soak the shallots in some warm water and this will help you when you try to peel the skin off. Soak them for a 1/2 hour or so and then cut them with the instructions below.
Cut in half
Simply you are looking to cut the shallot the long way through the root end. This will set you up for dicing and slicing.
I have an entire post on the best pairing knife for beginners if you are not sure what to look for in a knife.
Cut towards the root end
With a sharp knife, you want to slice toward the root end. Make the slices as wide as you want the pieces of onion to be. I like to slice in the 1/8″ range. Be careful to keep your fingers out of the way while you do this step.
Keep the slices short of the root. You don’t want to cut all the way through so you have something that will keep the shallot intact as you chop it into pieces in the next step.
Cut across the shallot
Now you are ready to slice them into little pieces. Go ahead and slice them in the opposite direction to the size that you did in the last step.
This should leave you with perfect little diced onions.
If you decide that you want them even smaller hold your hand on top of the end of the knife and go back and forth and chop them with the butt end of the knife.
Slicing shallots are very popular for all kinds of dishes. Cut both ends off the shallot, peel the thin skin off and then slice the shallot very thinly across the shallot onion. That is how simple they are to slice.
If you prefer them not in a ring form when you slice them just cut the shallot in half first then you slice.
How to Cut Shallots (6 Simple Steps)
- 3 shallot
- 1 pinch salt optional
- Cut the stem end off, not the root end. You want to cut off the end that was the stem of the shallot.
- Peel the skin off the shallot. Use a pairing knife it its easier.
- Cut in half through the root end.
- Slice into the shallot towards the root end bit not though it. You want to leave some to keep it intact.
- Cut across the shallot to dice it.
- If you want slices that dont slice into the shallot skip that step and then cut across like you diced it.