Difference Between Onion and Shallot


Main Difference

Onion and Shallot both are world’s most widely used kinds of vegetables. As they both look quite similar in shape and belongs from the same species and family, so they both are often considered as same, whereas in actual they both are different from each other. As almost everyone knows more about the onion, so they also categories shallot as onions by shape. Shallot is a botanical kind of onions and is quite different regarding usage, taste and other characteristics. The major difference between onions and shallots is that onions have a more strong aroma and sharp taste than shallots. Shallots, as compare to onions, are eaten without cooking (Raw) as salads because of their mild taste. Onions are preferred in cooking and are used with cooked and fried dishes.

Comparison Chart

Onions have a sharp taste.As compare to onions shallots have mild taste due to which they can be eaten in the raw form.
Aroma or Smell
Onions have a strong irritating smell.As compare to onions they do not have a strong smell.
Shape and Size
Onions are usually of large round shape. Yellow, white and red are the most common colors.Shallots possess long cylindrical bulb-like shape. They are usually smaller than onions.
Used As
Onions are used for cooking, frying, etc. They are used to cook and enhance the flavor of dishes. Most widely used in Indian, Chinese and Asian cuisines.Shallots are most widely used in salads. Due to their mild taste, they prefer to be eaten in their raw form, as they are rich in fiber, protein, and carbohydrate.
Possess high fiber which is good for blood pressure and blood sugar level.Possess large amount of anti-oxidants. It is good for controlling cholesterol and blood pressure.
Origin From
Central AsiaSoutheast Asia and Central Asia
Annual Production
74,250,809 TonsNot Specified
1.1g in 100g2.5g in 100g
0.1g in 100g0.1g in 100g
9.35g in 100g16.8g in 100g
40 calories in 100g72 calories in 100g

What is Onion?

Onion is world’s most famous and most widely used vegetable. Onions are used in every part of the world. Biological name of onion is Allium cepa. Onions by geographical area in which they are found are divided into various types and subclasses. Although the wild onions that were the very first onions of the world are now no longer exist according to their occurrence, historians and biologists claim that the first onions were originated in the Central Asia. Later on, as the time passes Southeast Asia were also in the race, and after it, onions make their way towards Europe and rest part of the world. Regarding their usage as food is found most widely in the historical background of Persia, China, and Egypt. According to some myths and beliefs, the European people when traveled first to America and North America carry onions with them. But they found Native Americans already eating a different kind of them. Onions do possess a sharp taste and an irritating aroma which can cause some sensitive people to sneeze frequently. Onions are fiber enriched and possess a handsome amount of protein, carbohydrate, and fats in it. Onions are most widely used in cooking and are the top notch preference of the famous cuisines worldwide such as Chinese cuisine, Mexican cuisine, Indian cuisine, etc. If onions are cut without pouring them into water, they produce propanethial-S-oxide gas, which has an irritating and stinking sensation causing tears from the eyes and burn the eyes. It can be avoided by simply cutting onions after pouring them in the water or by cutting them in exposure to running water.


What is Shallot?

Shallot is the botanical kind of onion. It possesses similar sort of appearance and is often regarded as onions only. They possess different shape and are smaller in size as compare to the onions. Shallots are long and cylindrical bulb like structure in shape. Other key difference between shallot and regular kind of onion is that shallots do not possess the traditional sharp taste and irritating smell like the regular sort of onions. Due to this feature, they are preferred to be eaten in their raw form as a salad, etc. Shallots possess mild taste and do not feel bitter while eating them as raw. Shallots cannot be successful if used in cooking or used for cooking; they are so sensitive in nature that after cooking they lose their natural benefits and taste. They were first found in Southeast Asia and now are found in every part of the world including Europe and rest parts of Asia. They

Onion vs. Shallot

  • Onion is world’s most widely used vegetable.
  • Shallot is the botanical kind of Onion.
  • Onions are round and larger in size. Common colors include Yellow, red and white.
  • Shallots are a long bulb shaped smaller as compare to regular kind of onions.
  • Shallots do not possess sharp smell and taste mild.
  • Onions do possess sharp taste and irritating aroma.
  • Shallots are eaten as salads in their raw form.
  • Onions are used in cooking and cuisines of all around the globe.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss