how to cut an onion

May 7th, 2009

I have to admit something. My knife skills are bad news. I desperately need to take a class because there’s no telling when a finger is going to go missing. Things get especially bad when I try to cut an onion, which is rather often. You’d think practice would make perfect, but instead I usually end up cutting it a different way each time and am left with a crazy assortment of onion chunks and tears streaked down my cheeks.

Well, the other day I saw chef Jacques Pepin cut an onion on his tv show and everything just clicked. He made it look so simple, I just had to try his technique out. Let me tell you, it is life changing. It’s so simple, and once you get the steps down, it’s a breeze. And the quicker you can cut an onion, the less likely you’ll cry. Ok, do it with me, you’ll be happy you did.

1: Cut the onion vertically in half, from stem to stem. Remove one stem and get rid of the skin.

2: Place the flat side down on the cutting surface. Insert the knife about a half inch from the stem and cut into the onion, bringing the knife back towards the cut end. Repeat until you’ve got a bunch of vertical cuts in the onion.

3: Without lifting the onion off the board, turn it 90 degrees. Now make cuts perpendicular to the ones you just made, starting at the chopped off end and working towards the stem.

5: That’s it! You should now have lovely little chopped bits of onion.

Comments: 8 Total

  1. carolyn

    May 7, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    i am glad to hear i’m not the only one who is challenged by dicing. sometimes i even cut the wrong way when i want rings of onions!

  2. Katy

    May 7, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Holy wow, talk about a lesson I needed!! Thanks for posting this! I usually end up with strangely sized, ragged bits of onion, too! Ha!

  3. Carrie

    May 7, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    thanks for sharing. i was just thinking that there must be a better way to cut an onion than the mess i usually make.

  4. RZDESIGN

    May 7, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    You know, this method is also used in the game “Cooking Mama” & “Cooking Mama 2″ on the Nintendo DS. Got it from those games. Works perfect!

  5. Katie

    May 7, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Now we need a sure-fire way of cutting onions without crying! I can’t do it – I literally cry painful tears, so I have to call my boyfriend in simply to chop onions for me! Nice chopping tips though – I will pass them on to him, haha.

  6. Frank

    May 19, 2009 at 2:31 am

    The reason you cry when cutting onions is the sulfur reacts with the water in your eyes to produce sulfuric acid. The highest concentration of sulfur is where the roots come out of the onion. My recommendation is that you remove the stem that doesn’t have the roots, and proceed as written. Only don’t cut all the way to the stem, leave it to hold the onion together as you chop. Once you’re done you have a chunk with the roots that you can throw away.

  7. links london

    April 6, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    My recommendation is that you remove the stem that doesn’t have the roots, and proceed as written. Only don’t cut all the way to the stem, leave it to hold the onion together as you chop. Once you’re done you have a chunk with the roots that you can throw away.

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