These caramelized shallots from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, are made by roasting shallots low and slow in butter, sugar, and vinegar until softened and sweet and tangy. An exceptional and impressive side dish for any occasion.
Shallots take on a dulcet, docile personality when slowly coaxed to caramelized. And not only are they easy to make and charming on the table, they’re easygoing in terms of playing nicely with all manner of main courses. Including your Thanksgiving turkey as well as your Tuesday night roast.–Renee Schettler
Barefoot Contessa Caramelized Shallots
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 pounds shallots peeled*, roots intact
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons really good red wine vinegar (or substitute sherry vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a 12-inch (30-cm) ovenproof sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sugar and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until the shallots start to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss well. Place the pan or skillet in the oven and roast until the shallots are tender, 15 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots. Immediately transfer the shallots to a platter or serving dish. (Don't worry about the variance in cooking temperature, if the shallots are done before the rest of dinner, transfer them to a plate, hold at room temperature, and then slide them back into the oven for just a few minutes to warm.)
- Just before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley.
*What you need to know about how to demurely disrobe shallotsShallots are, thankfully, far easier to disrobe from their clingy papery skins than other diminutive alliums, such as pearl onions. Still, we won’t say no to shortcuts when it comes to stripping shallots, especially when in the throes of dinner party prep. So we want to share what the lovely Barefoot Contessa has to say on the topic. She drops whole unpeeled shallots in a pot of boiling water for just shy of a minute, then drains them. The skins can then slip off with the utmost of ease. Furthermore, the good Contessa continues, you can peel the shallots hours in advance and later, when you’re juggling everything else, simply give them a quick sauté before tossing them in the oven. How easy is that?
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I’ve always loved shallots, whether as an ingredient in salad dressing or lightly sautéed with mushrooms or even as a stand-alone vegetable. They’re simply wonderful! I tend to have the ingredients for these caramelized shallots on hand, making this a great spur-of-the-moment recipe.
Another plus of this recipe is the minimal prep time. I used fairly small shallots, so the total time was less than 40 minutes. I had a beautiful red wine vinegar from Spain that brought additional depth to the dish, enhancing the roasted flavor of the alliums. I served this with roasted chicken and a fresh butter lettuce salad.
The yield was correct, but I think everyone would have eaten more if they could. No leftovers here. This will appear again on the holiday table.
Shallots are quite possibly my favorite member of the allium family. Mild in flavor, shallots are a wonderful addition to just about any dish that calls for onions and boy do they caramelize nicely! I loved this dish.
In a recipe like this one that has minimal ingredients, I try to use the best ingredients I possible can! I really liked the combination of first caramelizing the shallots in butter with sugar in the sauté pan, then transferring the whole thing into a hot oven to roast until tender. t worked very well and after only 15 minutes in the oven my shallots were tender and a lovely shade of brown.
I served it over peppery watercress as a simple side dish alongside a balsamic-rosemary pork loin and garlic mashed potatoes. I would be curious to try this recipe with peeled pearl onions as well. This could really be a lovely addition to a holiday menu!
I served this delicious preparation of shallots with flat-iron steak and twice-baked potatoes for our dinner club. Everyone—and I mean everyone—loved this side dish. I have roasted shallots before with a bit of olive oil and orange rind for a salad topper but I had not caramelized them. The only time-consuming part of the recipe is peeling the shallots. Once done, the rest is easy and fast.
After caramelizing the shallots on the stove top, I roasted for 45 minutes. This gave a nice texture—tender with a tiny bit of resistance at the center that guests commented on and liked. They were a perfect accompaniment to the steak, which I had topped with a black garlic butter. I prepared the shallots through the caramelization on stove top early in the day. I left them at room temperature, covered, and then popped them into the oven to finish before the meal.
Sticky dark caramel, silky shallots, buttery sauce...these are sooo delicious. A little on the sweet side, but they make a wonderful accompaniment to roast chicken and steamed kale. I found the recipe to be simple and clear, and obviously the result was a success. We both loved these! I think they would make a good addition to any holiday table, too. So sweet and savory.
I found all the timings to be great. No issues at all. And I actually liked that this recipe gave a range of time for the oven roasting part—it keeps you checking in. I roasted mine at 15-minute increments and found they were just right after 30 minutes total in the oven.
+ Not sure how you'd get 8 servings out of this, unless you carefully ration out 2 shallots per person. I think 4-6 servings is more likely.
In a word, FABULOUS! These caramelized shallots bring to mind candied bacon, seriously! These were so much better than roasted cipollini onions and they’re not a pain to peel! I’ll be serving these on my Thanksgiving table!
Several of the super large shallots I separated into 2 pieces once they were peeled. The shallots were beautifully glazed and tender at 20 minutes roasting time. It's important to transfer the shallots onto a platter when they come out of the oven or they will continue to cook further in the skillet and start to caramelize into chewy candy, which I proceeded to eat right out of the skillet (hence the candied bacon description!).
The butter, sugar, and red wine vinegar created such a wonderful tasting glaze. I did not need to add additional salt and pepper when they came out of the oven. Just the fresh parsley was all that was needed.
I’d say at best 6 small servings with a lot of other sides. The shallots cook down quite a bit, and the two of us ate most of the entire batch I made. Just saying. I served these with roast chicken and green beans. YUM.
I was happy to find shallots at an end-of-season farmers market and they looked a little ugly on the outside, but I thought I'd give it a try with them regardless. They had none of the even-sized perfection of the shallots in the photo. I thought I might have some challenges with the timing in the oven because they were such different sizes. I took my shallots, peeled them, and proceeded with the browning in a cast iron skillet. The 10 minute timing was perfect. In the oven, the variance on the roasting times between the smallest and the largest was less than 5 minutes, and my timing was right at the mid-point of the stated range:
Considering how less than beautiful they looked to start, this was a transformative experience for these shallots. They were melt-in-your-mouth delicious, both piping hot and also when cooled to room temperature. I did not feel they needed the additional seasoning with salt and pepper; the parsley gussied them up and made them company ready. If parsley isn't your thing, or if you already have parsleyed your holiday sides and are not in need of another parsley garnished dish, simply try another herb. Thyme might be especially nice here.
As for the number of servings, eight is certainly a viable estimate, though half that could also be the correct answer, as they are so tasty it's hard to stop eating them.
These caramelized shallots were delicious.
I made half a recipe for the two of us. I had 9 shallots in my pound. A 6-inch cast iron skillet was too small, so I used a 9-inch one. Everything else in the recipe, I cut in half. After 15 minutes in the 400° oven, all of my shallots, the large as well as the small, were tender. I recommend testing them at the 15 minute mark. One can always pull the ones that are done, and put the rest back to continue roasting.
I served these shallots with their marvelous glaze alongside a roast chicken. These would be marvelous with turkey for Thanksgiving.
These sweet little flavor bombs were simply delightful! Through the caramelization process we achieved a slightly burnt, deep maroon color on the outer layer of the shallots. Mine were tender at 25 minutes. The inner layers were almost creamy, like they were steamed within their outermost layer leaving us with a pink-hued, smearable consistency.
I would serve these as a hearty garnish for steak, adding a jammy, sweet element to the bite. I could also see these used in a crostini appetizer execution, adorning a crisp slice of bread and topped with a bit goat cheese to tartly offset the sweetness.
However you use these little gems you won’t be sorry, they’re welcome on my table anytime!
Originally published May 9, 2004