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Easy Fried Shallots in the Microwave

I got seriously hooked on fried shallots while traveling in Indonesia.

Fried shallots used to top congee.

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What do you serve fried shallots with?

Everywhere we went in Indonesia, our soups, salads, fish dishes, and sates came with these crispy-crunchy, savory bits on top. They showed up as a garnish on top of a dish of peanut dipping sauce or sprinkled over a simple bowl of rice to add a bit of color, crunch, and flavor.

I like to put fried shallots on top of fried rice or stir fries, or use them as a garnish for soups. They make a nice addition to a green bean salad or casserole in place of fried onions.

Raw onions.

They are also the perfect topper for grilled steaks or steamed fish, in place of croutons in a salad or soup, or as a garnish for cooked grains.

Sure, you can fry them in oil on the stovetop, but…

For a year, or maybe even two, I cooked fried shallots all the time. It’s not hard—just toss them into a saucepan filled halfway with hot, high smoke-point oil like peanut or sunflower seed, and let them sizzle until browned, which only takes about 30 seconds.

It wasn’t hard, but it wasted a lot of oil. And no matter how hard I tried, I ended up with oil splattered all over my cooktop. And so eventually I just stopped making them.

Sliced shallots on a cutting board.

Fried shallots in the microwave are so much easier!

More recently, I started making an Instant Pot Congee, which I garnish with shredded chicken, eggs, and/or cooked or pickled vegetables.

But my congee needed some textural variation. The thick, almost creamy porridge was begging for some serious crunch.

Crispy fried shallots were the obvious choice, but I really didn’t want to deep fry them.

Sliced shallots in a microwave-safe bowl tossed with cooking oil.

And then something magical happened. I discovered that you can coat shallots with a small amount of oil and “fry” them in the microwave. For real.

They come out just as crispy, crunchy, and beautifully golden brown. Here’s how to make your own microwave fried shallots.

crispy fried shallots on top of a bowl of congee.

How do you make fried shallots in the microwave?

  1. Thinly slice the shallots
  2. Toss them with cooking oil
  3. Put them in a microwave-safe bowl
  4. Cook in the microwave on high heat, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes, until they are a light golden brown
  5. Transfer the shallots to a paper towel lined plate to drain
  6. This crispy shallot garnish will keep for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container

Crispy fried shallots on congee

Easy Fried Shallots in the Microwave

Robin Donovan
Fried shallots are a popular garnish in Southeast Asian cuisine (Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malaysian, etc.) They add savory flavor and welcome crunch to many dishes. I especially love them on top of my Instant Pot Congee. Making them in the microwave is quicker, easier, and neater than frying them in a pot of oil on the stove.
4.58 from 7 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Breakfast and Brunch
Cuisine Asian
Calories 46 kcal


  • 2 small shallots peeled and sliced into thin rounds and separated into rings
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Kosher salt


  • Toss the shallots with the oil in a wide, shallow, microwave-safe bowl (or on a plate). Spread out the shallot rings as much as possible for best results
  • Microwave on high for 2 minutes and then check to see if they are sufficiently browned. Because they are coated with the now-hot oil, the shallots will continue to cook after you remove them from the microwave, so you want to take them out when they are just golden brown. If they are not beginning to brown yet, cook them in 30- to 60-second intervals until they are.
  • Using a fork or slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.


Serving: 1Calories: 46kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 148mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2g
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By on January 21st, 2019


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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