Difference between Onions and Shallots

December 20, 2016 by Editorial Team

There are different types of onions around the world. Regular onions usually come in three colors: white, red, and yellow or brown. Another type of onion is the shallot which is commonly mistaken as a regular onion. Shallots are favored for their milder flavor and can be used as substitutes for regular onions. Just like onions, these are widely used around the world. But what is the difference between the two? In this article we will learn to differentiate onions and shallots.

Descriptions

Onions vs Shallots
Regular onions come in three colors: yellow, red and white

An onion is a vegetable and is considered one of the most cultivated and eaten vegetables around the world. They are usually served cooked as ingredient of a dish. Most onion types contain 89% water, 4% sugar, 2% fiber, 1% protein and 0.1% fat. Onions are believed to be rich in sulfur-containing compounds that can lower cholesterol and prevent clumping of blood platelet cells. In addition to this, onions can also help increase bone density of women in the menopause stage. When cut, onions release a volatile gas that causes a stinging sensation in the eyes of people nearby.

shallot
Shallots have long and slender bulbs

On the other hand, a shallot is a type of small onion. To be specific, it is a variety of the species Allium Cepa. Shallots are formed in clusters of multiple cloves, resembling garlic. In addition, the skin color of a shallot can vary from golden brown to rose red. Shallots are believed to contain more flavonoids than other types of onions. Thus, shallots are said to fight chronic diseases. Shallots are also rich in sulfoxides which helps control blood sugar levels and fights against viral and bacterial infections. Similar to onions, when shallots are sliced they release volatile gas that irritates the human eye.

Onions vs Shallots

While onions and shallots technically come from the same species, there are still differences between the two in terms of their taste, appearance, health benefits, and recipes they are used in.

Taste

The taste of onions varies depending on its variety; they can be sweet, mild, spicy, or pungent. Shallots have a more specific taste which is sweeter than a regular onion and has a hint of garlic.

Appearance

Onions are usually large and round in shape and are yellow, red, or white. Shallots are smaller and have long, slender bulbs. In addition to this, shallots are formed in clusters resembling garlic and they are brown or red in color.

Health Benefits

Onions are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that can lower cholesterol levels and prevent clumping of blood platelet cells. In addition, onions can help increase the bone density of women in the menopause stage. Shallots, however, are said to contain more flavonoids than other types of onions. Because of this, they are said to fight against chronic diseases. Shallots are also rich in sulfoxides which helps control blood sugar levels and fights against viral and bacterial infections.

Recipes

Onions are often used as an ingredient in dishes and requires cooking. They are sautéed with garlic and tomatoes to produce a unique flavor. Sometimes, onions are also the main ingredient in dishes such as onion soup and caramelized onions with mushrooms. Shallots, because of their mild flavor, are often used in fresh cooking and eaten raw in salads or as side dishes. These can also be turned into pickles that can be added to other fare.

Comparison Chart

OnionsShallots
Can be sweet, mild, spicy, or pungentSweeter than regular onions
Usually large and round in shapeSmaller than regular onions and have long and slender bulbs
Comes in yellow, red, or whiteSkin color can vary from golden brown to rose red
Can lower cholesterol levels and prevent clumping of blood platelet cellsHelps control blood sugar levels and fights viral and bacterial infections
Requires cookingCan be eaten raw
166 kJ of energy per 100g301 kJ of energy per 100g
1.1 g of protein per 100g2.5 g of protein per 100 g

Video

Watch this YouTube video to see the difference between onions and shallots.