how to dice an onion without crying

How To Dice An Onion Without Crying

Dicing an onion is one of the most important skills you will ever learn in the kitchen.  But dicing an onion comes with an unfortunate side effect…crying. Follow these steps and with a sharp knife and a little practice, you can master cutting onions without crying.

how to dice an onion without crying

So why do we cry when dicing onions anyways?  Well, when you cut an onion, you break the cells.  When the cells break it released a gas called propanethiol s-oxide and that gas mixes with the enzymes in the onions creating a sulfur gas.  This gas reacts with the water in your eyes causing them to tear up.  But using a sharp knife and making as few cuts as possible, you can cut an onion without crying.

How To Dice An Onion Without Crying

There are a few truths about onions, they are round and have two ends – the root end and the stem end.  Identify each part of your onion before you start to cut.

[ezcol_1half]
how to dice an onion without crying
Root End
[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]
how to dice an onion without crying
Stem End
[/ezcol_1half_end]

To start dicing an onion, the first thing that you need to do is remove the stem end from the onion.  Don’t worry about removing the extra paper around the onion just yet.  To remove the stem end, place your onion on a cutting board with the root end facing left (or right if you are left handed), and carefully slice off the top of the onion.  By remove the stem and not the root, you leave the onion intact for easier dicing.

how to dice an onion without crying

Now, place your onion with the cut side down on your cutting board so that the root end is facing up.  

how to dice an onion without crying

With a sharp knife cut straight down through the middle of the root of the onion, slicing it in half.

how to dice an onion without crying 

You’ll now have two pieces of onion.  Go ahead and remove the skin.  You should be able to grab the skin to remove it no problem now.  See how easy that was?

how to dice an onion without crying

Place the onion half flat on your cutting board, and make vertical cuts in your onion being sure to leave about 1/4″ between the root end of the onion and where the blade of your knife stops.  By not cutting all the way through to the root end, helps keep the onion intact while cutting.  The more vertical cuts you make the smaller dice you will end up with.

how to dice an onion without crying

Now turn the onion 90 degrees so that the root is again facing to the left (or right if you are left handed), and carefully make horizontal cuts in the onion.  Use your other hand to gently hold the top of the onion so that it stays together while slicing.  Let the weight of the knife do the cutting for you by pulling as you slice.

how to dice an onion without crying

Finish dicing your onion by cross-cutting the same width as your vertical cuts.  The onion should fall apart into perfectly diced pieces as you cut.

how to dice an onion without crying

If yield is more important to you than the precision of your cut, you can also dice the root end of your onion.  Turn your onion root side up and make vertical slices.  Cross cut around the root, and voila!

how to dice an onion without crying

Keep the root end that you haven’t cut yet and toss it in a freezer bag, and keep it in the freezer.  Use any leftovers like this to make chicken or veggie stock – it’s a great way to use up kitchen scraps and get the most out of your meals.

And there you have it a perfectly diced onion without the tears!  Do you have any special tips that would help others when dicing onions?  If so, share them below!

Leave a Reply: