Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to Chop an Onion Like a Pro

*After a discussion with some friends this weekend, I thought I might include a page on my site with some kitchen tips and "how-to's."  I am just getting started with the content and adding the new page, so check back for an update.  For now, I hope this is useful! 

1. Start with your onion on the cutting board.  Do not peel it.

2. Slice off the sprout/stem end of the onion, but leave the root attached and intact.  If you prefer, you can cut off a portion of the root (leaving the root core attached), but I find it easiest not to cut it at all.

3. Put the flat, cut side of the onion on the cutting board and slice straight down through the root, dividing the onion cleanly into two halves. At this point, peel the onion skin off each half.

4. Lay one half of your peeled onion on the cutting board.  Then, make the first in a series of three cuts.

-For the first cut, with your knife parallel to the cutting board, slice toward the root end without cutting through.  Repeat this cut at regular intervals, moving toward the top of the onion.  This makes horizontal slices.

-For the second cut, place your knife with the tip end toward the root, and make vertical slices through the onion that are the same size as your horizontal slices.    

-Finally, for the third cut, turn the onion and slice across it (knife parallel to the root) in the same thickness as the horizontal and vertical slices.  This last cut produces the dice, and you can discard the remaining root end. 

How To Chop An Onion Like A Pro on FoodistaHow To Chop An Onion Like A Pro


  1. I'm forwarding this to my bf, Jeff, who is very interested in cutting onions with very sharp knives. Sometimes his fingers get in the way, but at least his onion will be perfect :)

  2. I often experience my fingers getting in the way of the knife... or maybe the knife seeks out my fingers... either way, I must admit I am pretty accident prone in the kitchen but this method helps tremendously with keeping down the injuries! :)

  3. I also learned another way to make only 2 sets of cuts, vs 3, at my knife skills class. Follow steps 1-3 but when you get to 4, instead of cutting horizonal slices and then vertical, make only vertical slices but make them on an angle following the veins of the onion. Then, when you cut parallel to the root, you have dices. Ta da! This is GREAT for me because I'm VERY sensative to the onion smell and can barly get through prepping the onion to dice while still being able to see. :-)

  4. I will have to let Rush know how to properly cut an onion considering I always make him do it because i cry too much! What a good boyfriend :)

  5. Stephanie-Thanks for sharing the great tip! :) They mentioned that method in my knife skills class as well, and it is the way I always used to cut my onions and is definitely the QUICKEST. So, to spare your eyes the tears, the "two cut method" might be better.

    Just keep in mind is that because the radius of each onion layer is different, using only two cuts will never give you onion pieces that are all exactly the same size. I think this is why professionals always use the three cuts: because you get almost all the same-sized onion dice which makes everything cook really evenly.

    In the end, I guess for a home cook, it really only matters how much a stickler you are and which method feels comfortable to you (and your eyes!). :) It took me a little while to get used to the three cut method, but now I always prefer it.

    And one last thing: I was told that a good way to prevent your eyes from tearing is to only breathe through your mouth when cutting. I know, it is a little awkward, but it makes sense; your sinus cavities can expose the onion vapors to your tear ducts. Give it a try, it works for me!

  6. Great post.I just recently learned to cut like this. Great tips.If you wont mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

  7. Alisa-Good idea! I added it to the techniques page and added the widget here. :)