How to Properly Slice an Onion


Understanding how to slice an onion is a skill that everyone should learn. You’ll feel more accomplished in the kitchen, and you’ll save money on food costs. Basic cooking skills are always great to have!

slicing an onion

How to Slice an onion

Slicing onions seems to be tough for many people. You can save time with some tips on what you can do with them. It won’t leave you with many tears.

When you’re learning to slice an onion, there are two important things to remember: you need a sharp knife, and you need to stabilize the onion as much as you can so you don’t cut your fingers off.

Put the onion, with the stem end facing away from you, on a cutting board. With your non-dominant hand, firmly grasp the onion. With your sharp knife, cut about 1/2 inch from the stem end with your dominant hand. After that, make a smaller cut at the root end to get rid of the stringy portion of the roots while keeping the core intact.

Turn the onion over so that the root side faces up. Cut it in half and place the cut side down onto the cutting board. Peel back the onion skin.

Make lengthwise cuts into the onion – from the stem end to the root end, without cutting through the root end entirely. Cut at an angle around the onion, keeping the knife blade pointed toward the onion’s core. Keep your onion slices together while you’re slicing them.

Finally, you’ll make criss-cross cuts. Rotate the onion 90 degrees and make cuts that are perpendicular to the first ones. To protect your Fingers, curl your hands and press your knuckles against the knife as you cut the onion. Your knuckles will lightly guide the knife as you finish cutting the onion. Basic cooking skills are important to keep in mind.

How thin should I slice my onions?

Thinly sliced onions are an excellent choice for caramelizing because they contain less water than thicker slices. A chef may also punch the onion to release oils and make it crunchier, which increases the flavor of the onion.

The answer to ‘should I cut my onions thicker or chop them?’ may depend on what you are making. If you are making a side dish like stir fry, chopped onions tend to work better because they will break down and become soft more quickly, whereas thick slices of onions would give your dish a nice crunch.

How to not cry while cutting an onion

I’m not ashamed to admit that onions make me cry like a baby. I don’t know if it’s the chemical irritant they release while cutting them, or simply the fact that I am a baby and am easily startled by the sound of any knife cutting on anything, but onions make me cry for some reason.

slice an onion without crying

New research suggests that the tears you shed while peeling onions are caused by a certain type of irritant. The white onion, which is less popular for cooking but found in many restaurants, contains a higher concentration of this irritant. Thus, if you’re trying to reduce your onion-induced tears, try selecting a sweet onion rather than a red or white one.

If you’re a big onion user, you know it can be a pain to cut them without crying. Why not try refrigerating or freezing the onion before cutting? Refrigeration or freezing will slow down the release of the irritant, which gives you a longer period of time to get the onions cut and get out without crying!

You want to try and avoid the cut side of the onion while cutting. There are a number of  ways to help reduce tears:

  • cut the onion under a vent
  • use fresh onions
  • chew gum
  • run the onion underwater
  • cover your knife in lemon juice before cutting

It can be hard to cut onions tear-free! Some of these methods may work better than others, but let me know how your experience with this went.

Properly Cutting an Onion

The next time you’re cooking, we hope that you ?nd these basic cooking skills helpful and effective in your kitchen. Knowing how to cut an onion correctly can help you feel accomplished and save you time and tears. Happy cooking!


how to slice an onion, basic cooking skills

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How to Properly Slice an OnionHow to Properly Slice an OnionHow to Properly Slice an OnionHow to Properly Slice an Onion

7 thoughts on “How to Properly Slice an Onion

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  • Not a fan of chopping or peeling onions either but I do it anyway .I do know if they are really strong the running water trick keeps you from tearing up so bad. Great advice!

    • Thank you Dana and I’m glad that you found that the “running water” trick works for you.

  • Thanks for sharing. I hate cutting onions.

    • Shelly, I don’t mind cutting or chopping an onion. I hate peeling an onion. I don’t know why, but if someone would peel it for me ~ I’d be a happy camper (I’m weird, lol)

  • Thanks for this article! It is always a very good idea to have some basic kitchen skills. And it is never too late to learn.

    • You’re welcome 🙂 I was never taught kitchen skills as a child, teenager. I had to learn all of it on my own. I just think it’s important.


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