How to Cut Onions Without Crying

Onions are a common vegetable that can add flavor to many dishes. But they can also be irritating to your eyes if you’re not careful when cutting them.

Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent tears when you cut an onion. The first method is to do as little damage as possible to the onion when you slice it.

Use a Knife

Onions cause eyes to sting when cut, and there are a few ways you can help prevent the tears. One of the most important things you can do is use a sharp knife to make your cuts.

A chef’s knife, which is typically 8-12 inches in blade length, works best for slicing onions. A paring knife, which is 2-4 inches in blade length, is also useful for peeling and chopping smaller onions.

When cutting an onion, start by making a series of lengthwise slices from the root end to the stem end with the tip of your knife pointing toward the root. Stop short of the root to keep the onion from tearing, and move your knife gradually closer with each slice.

It is also important to do as little damage as possible to an onion’s cell walls. This can reduce the amount of gas released to cause tears.

Use a Paring Knife

A sharp paring knife makes a good choice for cutting onions. It will cut the onion more quickly and efficiently.

Another advantage of a sharp paring knife is that it will keep the onion’s irritating chemicals from leaking into the air. These include a tear-inducing compound called syn-propanethial-S-oxide.

Despite this, it’s still possible to cry when chopping onions. There are several theories on how to prevent this, but one of the most common is to use a sharp knife and try to minimize exposure to the eye-hurting fumes.

Option 3) Slice Longways: Once the onion is halved, make a series of vertical cuts lengthwise on each half of the onion, 1-inch from the root end.

Then turn the onion 90 degrees and make another series of horizontal slices across the onion, spacing each cut about 1/4 inch apart. Then, rotate the onion again and continue dicing until you’ve made all of the desired dice sizes.

Use a Slicing Knife

The best way to cut onions without crying is to use a sharp knife. This is because a sharp knife cuts through the onion flesh much more easily than a dull one, which means it releases fewer of those irritating substances that cause your eyes to tear.

Another way to prevent onion tears is to chop the onions in cold water. This will inactivate some of the enzymes that break down the onion’s sulfur compounds, thereby reducing irritants and causing less gas to be released into the air.

You can also chop the onions near a fan that’s blowing away from your face to help draw the fumes out of the air. Alternatively, you can run tap water over the onions to help release some of the gases before they get to your eyes.

Some chefs chill their onions in ice before chopping them, which can also help reduce irritants and tear-triggering gases. This is especially helpful if you’re using a lot of onions in a short period of time, as it will help them last longer before spoiling.

Use a Carving Knife

When chopping onions for stir fry dishes, a carving knife is an essential kitchen tool. It’s similar in shape to an adult-sized chef’s knife, but with a shorter blade and serrations that help make cutting through meat and bone easier.

Before you use a carving knife, make sure it’s sharp and is of good quality. A forged knife with a bolster is preferred over a stamped knife because it gives you more control over the blade.

The right size of knife is also crucial. A small one won’t support your hand well and may cause accidents.

A sharp knife cuts through onion rings faster and cleaner, minimizing the release of a tear-inducing chemical called syn-propanethial-S-oxide when you cut onions.

While you can’t avoid the tears entirely, it is possible to keep them to a minimum with a few simple tricks and some practice. Some of these include using goggles, wearing sunglasses, freezing the onions before cutting them, and soaking them in water.

Ken Onion

Ken Onion is an innovative knifemaker whose work has revolutionized the industry. Born in 1963, he hails from Kaneohe, Hawaii, and invented the SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism for Kershaw Knives - earning him a position as Premier Knife Designer with them.

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