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Baked maple and balsamic shallots

Updated: Wed, 2 March, 2022

Balsamic, maple syrup and rosemary added to whole roasted small onions or shallots – that’s elevating the humble onions to divine heights of taste!

balsamic shallots

I know my onions

When I was a student (in a galaxy far, far away, billions light years ago) I sustained mainly on onions. And beer, but that’s not something to be proud of.

Onions though, together with cabbage, are famously the source of vitamin C for the deprived, oppressed and malnourished. Being a skint student behind the Iron Curtain, I certainly qualified as all three.

Onions ward off scurvy, help control blood sugar and are rich in nutrients. More importantly for me back then they also proved to be a fantastic hangover cure. But as I often mentioned before, a fried onion sandwich should be on everyone’s food bucket list together with puffer fish or huitlacoche.

Humble onion is the start to many a fine dish: it’s in soffritto which leads to exquisite risottos. It sits underneath sublime roast game birds. You cannot do without crispy onions sprinkled over stir fries and caramelised onion slices are far more important than aged Gruyere in a classic French onion soup.

Fried onions with a steak? Absolutely, or at least onion rings. Bangers and mash? Oh yeah, but only with onion gravy.

roasted shallots with balsamic and maple syrup

Not smelling of roses

The only problem is the smell: however you go about it, onions smell very strong. They smell when raw and sliced, sitting around in the kitchen – I’ve learned the hard way to prep my onions at the very last moment.

There’s no mistaking onions frying, though at that stage many will say it’s the loveliest fragrance in the world, up there with grilling bacon. And they stick around long after the meal, like a guest who outstays their welcome.

In the days of open plan kitchens (me too), the living area might be mistaken for a hot dog stand a long, long time after the washing up is done.

And that is where this dish is a winner – no odour, you see. Roasted onions, especially smothered with maple syrup, brushed with balsamic vinegar and tickled with rosemary sprigs, tend to behave themselves better than their fried mates.

They are still a fantastic companion to roast meats or even a cheese board but you don’t have to wash all your soft furnishings post-dinner.

balsamic roasted onions

Help! How to peel shallots?

The only chore is peeling shallots. They are very knife-resistant and have layers and layers all stuck together. So if you have a good tip or a shallot-peeling hack, please share it in the comments section below.

Until then, I do what I really detest doing. For dishes that require chopped shallots I buy ready-chopped, frozen ones, available from some supermarkets. What a waste, carbon footprint, plastic packaging etc. – I’m fully aware and feeling the guilt, so I try to replace shallots as often as I can with fully-grown onions.

Especially that ready-chopped shallots are completely useless in this particular recipe!

how to peel shallots

Cooking balsamic shallots

Once you combat the peeling obstacle, it’s easy. Salt and pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to be rubbed into the onions or left to work on them for a while like marinade. Then just nestle them snugly in an ovenproof dish, pour over the remaining marinade and tuck in some rosemary.

They need an hour in the oven covered with foil, and I like to add the maple syrup at the end, when the foil is lifted and the shallots bask in the syrup and caramelise in the heat.

They will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, in a tightly closed jar.

You can use shallots or small onions, just adjust the baking time if they are bigger. Either way, a treat - a treat without the pong.

maple and balsamin shallots

More condiment recipes

Also great with a cheese board or charcuterie is fig confit made from fresh figs cooked in madeira syrup.

And you must not forget pickles, made in a flash from any vegetables: carrots, cucumbers, beetroot or even asparagus when in season.

Another sweet-spicy preserve to make at home is greengage jelly, made from widely underrated fruit.

More onion recipes

Out of dishes where onions are indispensable, pan-fried calves’ liver must be foremost.

Crispy tobacco onions, deep fried crunchy and spicy bites that look like frazzled tobacco leaves – whence the dish takes its name.

And there’s the glorious French onion soup, of course, deep-flavoured and caramelised, with cheesy toast topping.


Baked maple and balsamic shallots

Servings: 4Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Rating: (3 reviews)


  • 12 shallots
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/360F/gas 4.

2. Trim the top and bottom of each shallot with a sharp knife and peel all the outer layers.

3. Place them in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and rub it into the onions with your fingers.

4. Arrange them in a small ovenproof dish so they fit in snugly; pour over the remaining oil and vinegar left in the bowl. Cut the rosemary sprigs into 4-5 pieces each and tuck them in between the shallots.

5. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour, turning them over carefully halfway through.

6. Remove the dish from the oven and spoon the maple syrup over the shallots; return to the oven uncovered for 10 minutes.

7. Serve straight away as a side to meat or fish, or at room temperature as a relish.

Originally published: Thu, 31 October, 2019

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi David - thank you for pointing it out!
6 months ago
Roasted shallots are so delicious, and easy to make, although for my taste they don't need the maple syrup. Just wanted to mention a small error in your method. 180 degC is 360 degF (not 200). Best wishes, David
6 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Mela - that I didn't know. Thank you for the tip!
2 years ago
Mela Mulvey
Shallots can be peeled easily if you put them into boiling water for a few minutes.. the skins will just slip off.
2 years ago
Fitoru Keto Support
Wow! This shallot recipe really look so tasty! I so want to try this now! Thanks a lot for sharing!
4 years ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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