How to cut an onion without crying even one sweet tear.
I haven't cried over an onion for twelve years now. And it's not because I've sworn those fools off.
After many conversations and a quick internet search I realized cutting onions without crying isn't common knowledge (and it definitely should be!) It's time the world knew.
I admit I cringe a little when I see "10 proven ways to cut an onion without crying". Do we really need ten? Isn't one tried and true method enough? Chewing on bread seems about as effective as clapping three times and spinning in circles. It's time to get real.
The last thing you want in the kitchen is extra steps. You won't have to boil or ice bath your onions with this method. No thankey. Nope, just an effective and easy way to cut an onion without shedding tears.
As with any good story, let's start at the beginning
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Why do onions make you cry?
Why do we cry when we cut an onion? The short answer: it's sulfurs fault. Your eyes are responding to an irritant created when you cut open the onion. Our eyes create tears to protect them from the irritant and boom - it's an all out cry fest.
Onions absorb sulfur from the soil as they grow. The sulfur converts into amino acids which once crushed will unite with enzymes that create sulfenic acid. This creates a volatile chemical that easily vaporizes into the air and burns your eyes - onion tear gas if you will.
This is the most interesting description I could find for why onions make you cry.
How to Cut Onions Without Crying:
It's really quite simple. You don't have to be Gordon Ramsay to cut an onion without crying. And to simplify it even more I made a diagram for you.
The onion has two ends - a root and a stem. I find it easier to remember it as the hairy side and the stem. You always cut the hairy end first and the root end last. I am actually shocked how many online tutorials instruct you to lop off the stem first. I guess even professional chefs cry too.
Why you ask? For whatever reason that tear gas comes mainly out of the stem.
- Using a Santoku or Chef's knife cut the hairy end off of the onion. Place the onion cut side down.
- With your knife slightly to the right of the stem cut down the center of the onion. (See no. 3)
- Peel both sides of the onion.
- On the side without the stem attached, cut lengthwise with the natural lines of the onion. If you want small dice cut them a ¼ inch apart. If you want medium dice cut them ½ inch apart. (See no. 6)
- Now perpendicular to your previous cuts cut more lines ¼ inch apart for small dice or ½ inch apart for medium dice.
- Without cutting through the stem repeat on the other half of the onion.
- The very last cut you should make is cutting off that stem and then quickly tossing it in the garbage. Take that sulfur!
If you enjoyed this simple and easy method how to cut an onion you can also check out my simple method on how to cook perfect white rice.