Onions are a staple ingredient in many dishes, but they can be tricky to cut. If you’re not careful, you can end up with tears streaming down your face and a pile of chopped onion that looks like it was done by a toddler. But don’t worry, with a few simple tips, you can learn how to cut an onion like a pro.
In this post, we’ll show you how to cut an onion quickly and easily, without the tears. We’ll also provide some tips on how to store onions so they stay fresh for longer.
So whether you’re a beginner cook or a seasoned pro, read on for all the information you need to know about cutting onions.
How to cut an onion like a pro
To cut an onion, first cut off the top and bottom. Then, peel off the outer layer. Cut the onion in half lengthwise and then slice it thinly crosswise. To prevent tears, try cutting the onion under running water or chilling it in the refrigerator before cutting.
Whether you’re dicing onions to add to a sauce or slicing them for fajitas, these cutting techniques will work for all types of onions, including red, Vidalia, white, and shallots.
Here’s how to cut an onion:
- Identify the stem end of the onion. The stem end is the end with the dried stem that looks like a shoot. It is not the side that is grassy-looking.
- Hold the onion steady on its side with the ends pointing outwardly.
- Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the stem end off the onion about 1/4 inch into the onion.
- Discard the stem end.
- Leave the root end of the onion intact. The root end will help hold the onion together while slicing.
Here are some additional tips for cutting an onion:
- Use a sharp knife. A sharp knife will make it easier to cut the onion evenly and prevent you from crushing the cells, which will release the sulfur compounds that cause tears.
- Cut the onion under running water. This will help to reduce the amount of sulfur compounds that are released into the air.
- If you still find yourself tearing up, try wearing goggles or a scarf over your nose and mouth.
With a little practice, you’ll be able to cut an onion like a pro in no time! Find out how to tell if an onion is bad in my next post.
Video: How to cut an onion
How to cut an onion for onion rings
Cutting onions for onions rings can be a little tricky because onions are round so they want to roll around while you are cutting them.
First, cut off the stem end of the onion. Make a shallow cut through the skin, rocking the knife lengthwise from the stem to the root end. This will allow you to peel the skin off without cutting into the layers.
Place the onion on the cutting board, root end down. Hold it firmly in place with your non-dominant hand. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the onion crosswise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick rings. Continue slicing until you reach the root end.
Carefully separate the rings from each other. Your onion rings are now ready to be battered, fried, and enjoyed!
You can learn how to freeze onions so that you can have your onions ready to go for your next batch of onion rings.
How to cut an onion without crying
Cutting onions doesn’t have to be a tear-jerker. While you might still shed a few tears, the fresher the onion, the less you’ll cry.
Onions make you tear up because enzymes in the onion cells are released when you cut them. These enzymes react with oxygen in the air to form syn-propanethial-S-oxide, a gas that irritates the eyes and causes tears.
There are a few things you can do to reduce tearing when cutting onions:
- Chill the onion. Chilling the onion slows down the enzyme reaction, so you’ll tear less. Place the onion in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before cutting it.
- Cut the onion under running water. The running water will help to carry away the syn-propanethial-S-oxide gas, reducing the amount that reaches your eyes.
- Wear goggles. Goggles will protect your eyes from the syn-propanethial-S-oxide gas, preventing you from tearing up.
Even if you follow these tips, you might still tear up a little bit when cutting onions. That’s perfectly normal! Just remember, you’re not a crybaby. You’re just a human being who is reacting to a chemical irritant.
Here are some additional tips for cutting onions:
- Use a sharp knife. A sharp knife will make it easier to cut the onion evenly and prevent you from crushing the cells, which will release the enzymes that cause tears.
- Cut the onion in a well-ventilated area. This will help to disperse the syn-propanethial-S-oxide gas, reducing the amount that reaches your eyes.
- If you still find yourself tearing up, take a break. There’s no need to push yourself if you’re starting to cry. Take a few minutes to compose yourself, then come back to cutting the onion when you’re feeling better.
With a little practice, you’ll be able to cut onions without tears in no time!
Frequently asked questions about how to cut an onion
Now that you know how to cut an onion like a pro, there’s no excuse not to add them to your favorite dishes. Onions add flavor, texture, and nutrients to any meal, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different ways to use them.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add chopped onions to soups, stews, and chili.
- Sauté onions in olive oil and garlic for a simple and flavorful side dish.
- Caramelize onions for a sweet and savory topping for burgers, sandwiches, and tacos.
- Grill onions for a smoky and charred flavor.
With a little practice, you’ll be cutting onions like a pro in no time. So get chopping and enjoy all the delicious dishes that onions have to offer!
How to Cut an Onion
- 2 Yellow Onion
- Holding the onion steady on its side with the ends pointing outwardly, simply cut the stem end about 1/4 inch into the onion.
- Cut right through the middle of the root end, straight down through the onion.
- Pull the skin back toward the root end removing it completely from the onion.
- Cut across the onion from the stem end working your way back to the root end cutting strips as thick or as thin as you desire.
- Make cuts into the onion, cutting inward or lengthwise toward the stem end. Make sure to not cut through the root end.Then you will cut across the onion like you would when making slices. Make sure to keep your fingertips back cut across your lengthwise cuts working your way toward the root end.