Home / Cooking / How to Cut Onions without Crying

How to Cut Onions without Crying

Onions have been around for thousands of years, being used in various dishes from many different cultures all around the world. This intensely flavored vegetable is beloved in just about every region of the universe, and has become the world’s second most important horticultural crop.

Ironically, despite its seemingly defense mechanism, the onion has managed to remain a beloved edible ingredient in many households. Being a bit of a spit-fire vegetable, the onion will spray its pungent juices near to the eyes of its culinary handlers. And the reaction left upon the face of an innocent onion’s unintended victim, will be that of stream-lined tears, swiftly swelling away from the reddened, stinging eyes of blurry vision.

Unfortunately, an onion can’t control the release of it’s nutritional juiciness once penetrated by the edge of a knife. What can be controlled is the way we culinary experts, or even amateurs go about handling our tasty fellow onions.

The fact of the matter is, no one likes to mask a face full of tears in the middle of preparing a wonderful meal. It’s an untimely interruption, and experiencing the ordeal on a regular basis will likely result in an avoidance of onions even though they may be greatly favored.

So, instead of being forced to live without the unique, and exotic taste of onions, lets look at a few tips and tricks to keep those tears at bay while cutting up the one vegetable that just seems to fight back.

Use a Sharp Knife

Most chefs will swear by this method, as well as convey to you, that onions are absolutely their nemesis. But it is true that a sharper knife will help to keep the tears away. When using a very sharp knife to cut an onion, you are essentially slicing through the onion. Whereas, duller knives tend to squish the onion, pressing out some of the onion’s juices, and therefore, causing tears to develop in your eyes.

Use a Cold Onion

When onions are cold, the juices are not as easily released. You may still develop tears, but try using the sharpest knife you have on a refrigerated onion, and you just might walk away tear-free. Placing an onion in the freezer for no more than 15 minutes substitutes as a well refrigerated onion.


Soak Onion in Water

Soaking onions in water for a good hour will dilute the irritants in the vegetable. Cold water at the end is best, as it falls in line with the cold onion method above. But either way, your eyes should remain unaffected as you chop away, with irritants in the vegetable deactivated by a thorough soaking.

Cut Out The Root

The core of the onion is where the root lies. And it is the root that holds the irritant properties of the vegetable. Cut out the root, and save your eyes the trouble of tears. To get to the root, you will need to cut deep into the onion from its top where all the stringy pieces of hay-like threading are protruding out. Cut a wide circular motion around that bulge, while digging down deep into the vegetable. A three dimensional, triangular-like shape should pull out. This would be the vegetable’s root.

Microwave The Onion

Placing an onion in the microwave for 30-60 seconds is said to remove tear-inducing gases and irritants from the vegetable. Simply cut off the ends of the onion before microwaving – it is okay to leave the skin intact. Once ready to chop, the skin will peel away quite easily, and you should be left without tears.