How to Cut an Onion Without Tears

 

So you’re preparing dinner all by yourself when a family member walks in, takes a look at you, and turns white. “Is everything OK?!” they’ll ask. “Did somebody die?!” You laugh through the tears and say, “Oh no, I just cut an onion!”

Has that happened to you before? It has certainly happened to me. Those pesky, stinging tears that go along with chopping up an onion are such a pain! Luckily, though, these tears can be easily avoided if you know what you’re doing and you have the proper equipment. Read on for the proper way to cut an onion. As an added bonus, discover the best techniques for caring for “onion eyes” on the following page.

So why do onions make you cry in the first place? Well, it’s all about the enzymes. Cutting into an onion breaks cells, and causes different enzymes to interact with each other to produce a whole new enzyme. This enzyme irritates your eyes, which creates tears.

Earlier: 12 Ways to Enjoy Arugula

How to Cut An Onion

1. Cut a small portion off the top of the onion.
2. From the root down, cut the onion in half.
3. Peel & discard skin.
4. With the flat side down, cut parallel, evenly spaced slices into the onion. Don’t cut all the way to the root.
5. With your knife parallel to your cutting board, cut slices that stop before the root end.
6. Cut through your first round of slices.

Other Tips:

  • Make sure that your knife is as sharp as possible. A chef’s knife is ideal here.
  • You can freeze onions or let them sit in cool water for 15-20 minutes before chopping to reduce tears.
  • Having the hood vent on can reduce irritation.
  • Dicing with a piece of bread in your mouth has been known to alleviate symptoms.
  • You can even use goggles to stop the sting.

How to Treat the Tears: The best thing to do is wash your hands with soap and water. Splashing cool water in your face, or placing a damp towel over your eyes, can also help.

 

Related:
14 Surprising Uses for Rubber Bands
Rediscover Onions: 2 Delicious Recipes
Onions for Health

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147 comments

Christine Ko
Christine Ko4 months ago

Interesting.

Jo S.
Jo S.10 months ago

I will try this.
Thanks Katie.

Prima B.
PrimaAWAY B.2 years ago

TY!!

Past Member
lynda l.2 years ago

water works

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers2 years ago

Thanks.

Wendy G.
Wendy G.2 years ago

Thanks, often wondered how that was done. I put my onion in the fridge before I cut it which seems to work well.

Helga Balague
Helga Balague2 years ago

Emma K. very good tip! T.Y. and yes, looks fun imagine someone using something like that :)

I put onions on the frezzer and keep my hand with water...

J. J.
J. J.2 years ago

I don't seem to have this problem...

Sheila Swan L.
Sheila Swan L.2 years ago

I always cut the onions when I'm at people's houses who cry from that. I wear contact lenses! it took me a long time to figure out why I don't cry cutting onions, and that's the answer!

Emma Kellow
Emma Kellow2 years ago

I always wear swimming goggles, personally. Works perfectly and gives my housemates a laugh!