Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How To Cut An Onion

“It’s hard to imagine civilization without onions.” ~Julia Child

Julia is so right. Onions can make their way into any meal of the day –whether it’s a breakfast omelet, an afternoon salad, or a dinner stew.

And while we can sometimes take this kitchen standby for granted, the health benefits of onions are worth noting. Onions are abundant in sulfur-containing compounds, such as quercetin and allyl sulfides, which have been linked to lowering the risk of some cancers and maintaining a healthy heart. And those sulfuric compounds are also the reason we cry when we’re cutting an onion. To cut down on the crying, chill the onion. Also begin cutting at the top, leaving the root end uncut as long as possible as it contains the highest concentrations of sulfuric compounds.
Photo courtesy of Alice Henneman on Flickr
And cutting an onion takes some practice. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to cut an onion:
1.      Cut off the top/stem of the onion. Peel off the outer layers of skin.
2.      To dice, cut the whole peeled onion in half, from root end to stem end.
3.      Lay each half cut side down on a cutting board. Make multiple, evenly spaced cuts from root end to stem end of onion, being careful not to cut through the root end. Adjust the space between each cut to obtain the desired dice size.
4.      Hold the onion together and make horizontal cuts parallel to the cutting surface. Again, be sure to leave the root end in-tact.
5.      Make multiple cuts across the onion, adjusting the number of slices for desired dice size. Dispose of the hard root end.
6.      Add onion pieces to recipes!

You can view this entire step-by-step guide from the National Onion Association here.

Or watch Cynthia Lair of Cookus Interruptus show how to cut an onion in this instructional video here.


  1. Nice post Lisa and McKenzie, thanks so much for sharing some onion love!

    1. You are so welcome! :-) In case you didn't get a chance to see this, we shared a yummy pizza recipe with caramelized onions here: http://nourishrds.blogspot.com/2014/04/whole-wheat-pizza-with-caramelized.html