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How to Cut Onion Without Crying!

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Have you ever wanted to know how to cut an onion without crying? Well you’re in luck! That’s exactly what you’re going to learn how to do in this post. Believe it or not, cutting an onion without crying is actually very simple.

We’ll also look at other alternatives that, let’s be honest, were never going to work! The takeaway? You’ll never cry in your kitchen again. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this post…

Onions and garlic in a large pile

Love a good kitchen hack? You’ll love my post on how to keep bananas fresh for longer too! Love learning how to chop things properly? Check out how to cut an apple.

After many years of literally crying my eyes out in the kitchen, I’d finally had enough and set out to find a fool proof way of cutting onions without my eyes streaming. Turns out, you don’t need to be a professional chef or buy any fancy equipment. It really is far easier than you’d think! 

Red onions in a large pile

Alternative Methods and Myths

If you Google ‘how to cut onion without crying’ there are hundreds of methods that come up in the results. I won’t lie – a great deal of them don’t even work. Don’t you really hate it when that happens?! Let’s take a look at some that crop up frequently…

  • Wearing goggles. Yep, seriously! It doesn’t work anyway as you’re still breathing in the gas released by the onion. Plus, who on earth is going to wear goggles whilst cooking??
  • Using a really sharp knife. You’re still doing it the same way as always though, I really don’t understand the logic behind this one. FAIL!
  • Microwave the onion. This does NOT work!!
  • Keep sliced onion on your chopping board. What, WHY?! This definitely doesn’t work!
  • Freeze the onion for 20 mins before cutting. This does actually work but your hands will be CRAZY cold!! Not ideal really.

Like I said, there area many ridiculous methods out there and most of them simply don’t work or just aren’t ideal.

Brown and red onions in a basket

How you cut the onion matters

You can’t just hack at it willy nilly! There is a right way and many wrong ways to cut an onion. The single most important thing is that you leave the root ON. That’s right – whatever you do, don’t cut it with the ever popular ‘slice the top and bottom off’ method. You’re literally asking for Niagra Falls to pour out your eyes.

As soon as you cut the root off, it triggers the onion to start releasing that creamy white liquid at a very fast rate. Congratulations – the onion has now also started releasing that tear jerking gas that we all know and really don’t love. Not good! By keeping the root on and you have a much better chance of success. 

Brown onions in a large pile

How to Cut Onion Without Crying

Without further ado, here is how to cut an onion without crying! Drum roll please…

As I’ve previously mentioned, how you cut the onion really does matter. The most important thing is don’t cut off the root. I repeat – DO NOT CUT OFF THE ROOT!

Top Tip! Make sure your knife is sharp. It makes it far easier and much safer.

First we need to cut it in half. Don’t slice it in the middle! We need to cut straight through the root, not cut it off. Go ahead and slice it like this…

An onion with a cut line on it
An onion that's been cut in half

Next, slice off the other end. Again, NOT the root! The other end…

Half an onion with a cut line on it

Now peel off the outer skin. Not meaning to sound repetitive but – keep the root on…

A halved, peeled onion

Now you can slice however required for your recipe.

How to slice onion without crying

If you need sliced onions – prepare the onion as above then simply slice like this…

Half a peeled onion that's been sliced

Tadah! You just sliced an onion without shedding a tear. Congratulations! See my ‘second defence’ method further down in the post to guarantee a no tears experience though.

How to dice onion without crying

If you require diced onion – prepare the onion as above then make two horizontal slices towards the root, one above the other.

Half a peeled onion with cut lines on
Half a peeled onion that's been sliced twice horizontally

Then slice vertical lines from the top, towards the root.

Half a peeled onion that's been sliced twice horizontally with cut lines on it

Now, with your knife parallel to the root, carefully slice to create perfectly diced onion.

Half a peeled onion that's been sliced twice horizontally and lots vertically, with cut lines on it
An onion root and diced onion

See how easy that was? Also notice that you can actually see instead of squinting through blurry, streaming eyes… it’s marvellous isn’t it?!

A second line of defence…

As a precautionary measure – I also press my tongue up onto the roof of my mouth as well as breathing through my mouth, not my nose. This seems odd but I promise there’s method to my madness!

Doing this creates a barrier between your airways and the onion’s poignant gasses. This second defence (after cutting the onion correctly) is pretty much a guarantee to leave the tears out the kitchen.

cross section of a red onion

And that’s how you cut an onion without crying! I told you it was easy didn’t I? Go forth and never shed a tear in your kitchen again!!

If that’s not enough, you can always check out the Kitchen Mason archives for more onion inspiration!

Caramelised onion pasta in a bowl topped with fresh parsley

How to cut onion without crying - Recipes to put it to the Test!

Now you know how to cut an onion without crying - put your new found knowledge to the test with these delicious recipes!

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Onions and garlic in a large pile
Brown onions in a large pile

About Emma Mason

Emma is a professional blogger. Utilising over 20 years of cooking experience, she’s passionate about making your life easier, one recipe at a time! Drawing on her 12+ year background in recipe research and development, photography, copy writing and marketing, Emma has turned into a successful career. Known as ‘the organisation queen’ among friends, she is passionate about creating easy to follow recipes that anyone can follow and enjoy. She lives in Nottingham (UK) with her husband, daughter and 2 naughty cats. In her spare time she can be found reading a good book, training at the dojo preparing for her black belt grading, or dreaming up the next crazy colour combo for her hair!

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Janet Dekle

Saturday 5th of October 2019

I wanted to let you know that this is the first time that I have ever cut an onion without crying. Thank you

Miss KitchenMason

Sunday 6th of October 2019

That's amazing Janet, YAY! Thank you so much for sharing this with me :) Emma x

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