The Easy Microwave Hack That Produces Crispy Fried Shallots In Seconds

There's a big difference between onions and shallots. The general consensus is that a shallot is a blend of onion and garlic. A shallot has a milder flavor than either of those, but a more complex flavor that plays perfectly with a ton of other ingredients. Across the globe, shallots are one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen.

Shallots have a unique ability to be fried into shatteringly crisp wisps of concentrated, caramelized flavor. Crispy fried shallots are a traditional garnish for many foods across southeast Asia. But that's just the beginning. Crispy fried shallots bring crunch to salads, sandwiches, and cooked greens — or they can be used to level up green bean casserole and caramelized onion dip. These double down on anything garlic and onions bring to a dish while providing some crunchy contrast.

The typical technique is to gently fry sliced shallots in a few cups of oil over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. They need to be stirred so they cook evenly, and are still prone to going from a perfect mahogany shade to pitch black in a heartbeat. There has to be a better way.

Microwaved crispy fried shallots are as easy as they're tasty

Microwaved crispy fried shallots eliminate most of the time, virtually all of the stirring, and a good bit of the oil. America's Test Kitchen places three thinly sliced shallots with ½ cup oil into a microwave-safe bowl. After 5 minutes, give it all a stir. Continue to microwave, two minutes at a time until the shallots begin to brown. At that point, decrease the time to 30-second increments. As soon as they reach the right color, get them out of the oil as soon as possible. They should land onto paper towels and get a sprinkling of salt. They'll still be a bit limp, but after five minutes of cooling, they'll be perfectly crisp.

Masterclass has a few tips for ensuring the best results, no matter how you cook the shallots. Slicing the shallots on a mandoline is fast and easy. Best of all, it's consistent and accurate. Shallots that are well sliced will cook, and color evenly. Save the olive oil for other recipes. This is best done with a neutral-flavored oil that can withstand these high temperatures, like canola or peanut oil.

Speaking of that oil, it will have taken on some crispy shallot flavor. In Thai cuisine, this oil is called naam man hom daeng. It is its own garnish for roast chicken or can be used in salad dressings.

Crispy fried garlic and leeks in the microwave, too

This microwave technique isn't limited to shallots. America's Test Kitchen uses the same technique to make crispy garlic chips and crispy fried leeks. These versions will also yield some delicious oil that can be used for focaccia, or whatever else you can think of.

Crispy garlic subs ½ cup of minced or sliced garlic cloves for the shallots. The timing is similar, but in addition to salt, they can be dusted with powdered sugar. Garlic is more likely to turn bitter than shallots, so this hit of sweetness will overcome that tendency.

Leeks need to be trimmed of the dark green tops, rinsed clean, and perfectly dry. After slicing into long, thin strips, toss with flour before being added to the oil and microwaving. The flour will ensure the leeks brown fast enough to not burn.

These crispy bits and flavored oils take you most of the way to a homemade chili crisp recipe. Chili Pepper Madness walks you through customizing this popular condiment. Once you have a custom chili crisp, be sure to note the absolute best ways to use chili crisp at home.