Balsamic-Roasted Shallots

December 23, 2013
7 Ratings
Photo by Eric Moran
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

I bet you have shallots in your kitchen right now. They are your right hand man: they're the thrumming foundation of a proper vinaigrette, an early step to your risottos, the start to nearly anything good.

But they're not an unsung hero. To be one, they'd have to be heroic.

In side after side and main after main, shallots don't save the day. They're buried under flashier ingredients, taken for granted; more burly, unwavering constant than raw, undiscovered talent. Under rice, or layers of olive oil, shallots are never waiting to emerge. They aren't about to blow up the scene.

That is, until you let them be their own dish.

Here is how to do it: you crisp them in olive oil and brown sugar, and smother them in thyme and balsamic vinegar. Give them a good swig of sherry, because they, like you, could benefit from a nip around the holidays. You roast them in a hot oven until they're thoroughly slouched.

Once you do those things, you'll have shallots with real courage. Slicked in sweet balsamic, they'll save anything–dinner, your sandwich, that great pile of pasta you just cooked. They can, and will, save your first course, just as soon as you serve them underneath a fat buddha ball of burrata.

Eat them, bite for bite, with your majestic holiday roast, or put them in your detox kale salad next year. Just don't, whatever you do, quiet them with a circus of ingredients. Let your shallots stand alone. Let them be heroic.

Note: This recipe is very easily doubled. Don't fret too much about getting the measurements perfect, either; this is the kind of recipe that begs for a bit of this, a dash of that. —Kenzi Wilbur

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Kenzi Wilbur is our fearless Managing Editor and our expert on all things cocktails and mayonnaise.
WHAT: A way to make shallots into an elegant side, just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
HOW: Roast halved shallots in a hot oven with olive oil and brown sugar until they’ve developed a nice crust. Take the pan off the heat and quench the shallots in sherry and balsamic vinegar. Shake the shallots around and return them to the oven, covered, until they’re tender.
WHY WE LOVE IT: On the day before a big holiday meal, you’re scrambling to make sure you’ll have enough food to feed the masses. But don’t add just another vegetable side. With minimal chopping, a pound of shallots, pantry ingredients, and a hot oven, you can have crisp, slightly sweet shallots that will complement anything else you’re serving. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound shallots, the larger ones halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • A three-finger pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped, plus a few whole sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Put olive oil in an ovenproof skillet. (Alternatively, you can brown the shallots in whatever pan you like, and then transfer them into a baking dish).
  3. Add the brown sugar, mix to just combine, then add shallots, cut-side down if you've halved any. Brown over medium heat for 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through, or as soon as a beautiful brown crust has developed on the first side.
  4. Take the pan off of the heat, and add everything else -- salt, thyme, sherry, vinegar -- shake the pan a bit, and then cover with foil and roast in the oven until completely cooked through. Depending on the size of your shallots, this can take anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes -- test with a knife every 5 minutes beginning at the 25-minute mark.
  5. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • diana
  • Megan Mullen
    Megan Mullen
  • Eva Vooijs
    Eva Vooijs
  • michelle_a
  • booglix

41 Reviews

[email protected] October 3, 2022
Outstanding recipe
Tweeked it a bit with a Fennel Bulb sliced thinly and added more sherry
diana October 4, 2022
That sounds really good, I am going to have to try that.
FH November 20, 2021
This is so simple and incredibly delicious. It really brings up your Thanksgiving offering up a notch. There is never a morsel left when I make this, and people rave!
diana March 29, 2021
We were recently in Costa Rica and had sweet shallots over a steak. Our first dinner home I had to make them. Found this recipe and it was a huge it over pork chops. The 4 of us finished them off. Next time, I will double the recipe.
sofiawadler November 17, 2018
if i have a sweet balsamic, do i need to use the sugar?
Megan M. July 16, 2017
My brown sugar never mixed in with the oil. It was just chunky fluid bits of brown sugar floating around in the oil. Any idea why?
Nancy April 19, 2017
Is there something I can use in substitution of the Sherry? Ty
Eva V. March 9, 2016
I've tried this with green cabbage steaks (= thick slices), absolutely amazing! Only change I made was to add 3 tablespoons of chicken broth to the oven dish.
michelle_a December 27, 2015
Huge hit during Christmas dinner. Be sure to heat pan moderately with oil/sugar as my first few shallots burned a bit as heat was too high. Otherwise, doubled batch & followed recipe to a T. Perfect.
susanna.faygenbaum April 13, 2015
is it supposed to be sherry vinegar or sherry wine?
Eva V. March 9, 2016
Sherry (wine).
Osmar May 10, 2016
What kind of sherry?
Kenzi W. May 10, 2016
dry sherry!
booglix March 18, 2015
Can these be made in advance? As in, make in the morning and serve at dinner? Thanks!
alicia February 2, 2015
Are the shallots supposed to be peeled?
Kenzi W. February 2, 2015
bryan December 30, 2014
This was a popular dish on Thanksgiving. People who I expected would not enjoy the dish enthusiastically praised it. (You think you know people.) I had no luck at all getting the shallots to crust in the skillet. They browned, slightly, but nothing like a crust. I don't necessarily attribute this to a flaw in the recipe, though. It could have been the vinegar's fault. Yes, I blame the vinegar!
Lynn December 23, 2014
Can I make these a day ahead? They sound great!!
Negar S. December 22, 2014
I would like to make these tonight but I'm a little confused on the directions for step 2 and 3... Do you brown the shallots in the oven and then add brown sugar to the shallots and continue to roast? Thanks!
Kenzi W. December 22, 2014
You brown them on the stovetop, and then move them down into the oven!
Negar S. December 22, 2014
Thank you!!
Whats4Dinner November 28, 2014
oooh, Marsiamarsia! I'm going to combine the two! Brussels and two fav vegetables!! Okay, I love most vegetables but together, this sounds divine!! Sunday, yes Sunday, I will prepare this to be served alongside my Puerto Rican rice and beans (we're vegan).
Whats4Dinner December 2, 2014
Okay, just had to add that I did make this (with the brussels) and let's just say there were fork wars involved!! I'll definitely make this again.
mary-margaret November 26, 2020
I am making for thanksgiving today w Brussels sprouts as suggested. I am trying convection bake in the microwave I have as my oven is currently occupied
AntoniaJames November 26, 2014
This is on our Thanksgiving menu and seriously, I cannot wait. Happy Thanksgiving! ;o)
Kenzi W. November 26, 2014
Hooray!! To you, too.
marsiamarsia September 13, 2014
Oops! I guess my vision of shallots and cipollini surrounding the turkey is not "letting the shallots stand alone," is it? Sorry. (blush)
marsiamarsia September 13, 2014
Love the idea of giving Brussels Sprouts the Balsamic/sugar treatment, MarielMac! Must try. I can also see the shallots and cipollini garnishing the holiday turkey platter, can't you? (Cook the little onions the same way as the shallots, I mean.)
MarielMac April 5, 2014
Does anyone think this would be great using Brussels Sprouts instead of onions?
Gotowanie G. March 25, 2014
I accidentally left these in the oven for over an hour....they still turned out amazing! Thanks for posting