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How to Cut an Onion
Published February 24, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Cutting an onion is one of the most fundamental culinary basic techniques, so learn these foolproof procedures for perfect cut onions every time.
Basic cooking schools are so important to hone your skills while in the kitchen. If you’re looking to put your skills into practice then check out my techniques for How to Start a Fire or How to Truss a Chicken.
How to Cut an Onion
Learning how to cut an onion takes a lot of practice to perfect it. The best news is, onions are one of the most common ingredients used in recipes, so there should be plenty of opportunities for practice.
The most important aspect of properly cutting an onion is ensuring you have a very sharp knife. While you can use any knife, I recommend using your chef knife to cut onions. If your knife isn’t sharp you risk injury to yourself or others.
What Onions to Use
Any onion can be fabricated to your liking, but these specific onions are perfect for honing your cutting skills using this technique. Here are the onions you could use:
How to Do It
Follow along with these procedures to learn how to properly cut an onion:
Slice the ends of the onion, slice it in half and then remove the outside peel.
Press your non-cutting fingers onto the top of a ½ an onion and press down. Next, starting from the bottom to the top make slices going through ¾ of the onion.
Now, starting from top to bottom slice down through the onion.
Turn the onion 90° and make several slices down to create your dice.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: I am a firm believer in prepping things ahead of time so that the cooking process is seamless. You can slice onions up to 3 days ahead of time.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They only freeze well if you plan to use them in soups after thawing. They will hold in the freezer covered for up to 3 months.
Chef notes + tips
- The liquid, or milk, that secretes from onions works well for burns to your skin.
- In the video below you will see other ways to cut an onion outside of dice sizes.
- Alter the amount of space in-between slices to create small, medium, or large dice cuts.
Recipes to Use Them In
Check out the how-to video below, and be sure to follow me on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, and if you’ve had a chance to make this, then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!
My only way of cutting a lot of onions without crying is to wear swimming goggles! I’m not on camera and nobody’s looking so no harm no foul!
I used to always wear my ski goggles! Especially if I’m wearing mascara and don’t want it to run 🤣🤣🤣
Thank you, Chef. Your videos are all inspiring to watch and working towards better and tastier foods.
My 1985 food processor crumbled an went into trash last year (plastic/ melamine Moyer housing) we have one now that was my mother-in-law’s but no instructions
I saw your onion chopping video and I Did It!! I sharpened my knives and….My chopping looks better than any food processor Ever. So I did the celery too.
No scary old food processor needed this year!!
Very nice explanation to dressing onions. Thanks to you.
It took me awhile to realize I wasn’t tearing up while chopping onions. Turns out my contacts protect my eyes!
Hi Chef !
Thanks so much for all you do. You make things so clear .
My grandmother always said that if you stick a piece of bread in your mouth while cutting onions you won’t cry . I guess it’s an old wives tale. I have tried it if they are really strong or I have a lot to chop. It must act as a filter under your nose , It looks silly but It worked !
I want to say thank you so much. As a tip for stopping those tears I while cutting onions, I suggest lighting a candle near to where you are slicing. Works for me!
Any tips on how to stop the eyes from watering and burning while chopping onions?
Nope, check out the video!
Nice! I love this tips and this technique. Thanks chef!
Trying to move from a home cook to a home chef. So I love & appreciate your work. Staying with basics. But have a question that is tus far unanswered. How sharp is sharp for all my knives? I have a fine stone and honing steel. Thks.
that it should easily cut through paper, just like when I explain it in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAplk_irlPE
Thank you. Why I love your channel so much. Very helpful.
Suggestions for fridge containers for cut onions to keep from whole fridge smelling like them? THX!
I do plastic zip bags or storage containers at the bottom of this list: https://www.billyparisi.com/top-30-kitchen-essentials/
Thank you. I do feel like I’m in culinary school when I get your recipes and tips for cooking.