Caramelized Shallots


Caramelized shallots are a French classic. A member of the allium family, shallots are similar to onions, but they're smaller and have a sweeter flavor—which is intensified when you caramelize them. This process involves cooking them low and slow to bring out their natural sugars. Since our recipe calls for thinly sliced shallots, they won't take long to caramelize: They soften in olive oil and butter, with a touch of sugar, in just about 10 minutes. What's more, caramelized shallots are endlessly versatile. Serve them alongside roasted meat, chicken, or fish, use them to top a steak or a pizza, or add them to an omelet, a sandwich, or any vegetable sauté.


  • 10 large or 15 small shallots

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Peel shallots and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices.

  2. Heat oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter and shallots. Sprinkle with sugar and add salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Cook shallots until they begin to brown evenly, then turn heat down to low and continue to cook until very soft, about 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Cook's Notes

If you have leftovers, pop them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator—they'll last several days.

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