Chopping an Onion

IMG_3632Chopping onions has never been my favorite task. In fact, I always dreaded it.

The onion would fall apart, the pieces were terribly uneven, and of course, I would end up in tears, not just because I had mutilated my ominous opponent, thus creating onion juices and fumes, but also from utter frustration.

Then came the breakthrough day when I watched a show by Alton Brown where he uncovered the secret to flawless onion-chopping every time. Another huge plus is that I chop the onion so quickly, most of the time I don’t even cry!

This is how I used to cut onions. First I would make some horizontal cuts. IMG_3362Then I would cut across vertically. IMG_3366Then the nightmare would begin. It would start out ok, but then the onion would start sliding, falling apart and eventually I would end up with a lot of very uneven pieces. IMG_3375Now here is my wonderful discovery.

Cut the onion in half, keeping the end intact. You can even peel back the skin and first layer and keep it on so you’ll have something to hold on to.

Starting from the bottom, make diagonal cuts all the way across but make sure not to cut all the way through to the end. As you near the middle, make cuts straight down and then continue making diagonal cuts.


IMG_3610Cut across. And there you have it, perfect, even pieces and your onion doesn’t fall apart.
The pieces are also as small as you want them to be. Since I like my onions very finely chopped, almost minced, I love this part especially.

I hope this makes your life a little bit easier. It sure did for me.IMG_3632


  • Ruslana

    Thank you so much for this post. This is exactly what I needed. I am the youngest in my family and learned all the tricks from my older sisters, but when my sister always taught me to cut onion it never turned out perfect for me, even though she did it the same way and hers looked great. After my sisters got married and moved out and didn’t look over my shoudler anymore and I started cooking more. However, I still struggled with my onions so I bought a chopper and always chopped my onions with that. I even got used to the difficult task of cleaning it out perfectly afterwards so often. I decided that I’d rather waste some extra time to clean the chopper but feel good about my onion. Now I will have to try your trick and save myself some time taking out and cleaning my chopper just for some onion.

  • Oksana

    I used to cut onion like you did before. Then my aunt pointed it out to me that the onion already had layers, so there shouldn’t be any vertical cuts. I do similar way what you do now, except I don’t have any grasp at the end, so I’ll try that idea of peeling back the skin and keeping it to hold on to. But the truth is, cutting onion is still not my idea of fun.

  • Oksana

    I do have a question, can I pre-cut a bunch of onions and keep them in a ziplock or sealed glass container? How long would it keep in the fridge? Thanks

    • olgak7

      Yep, you can pre-cut the onion and store it in a very well sealed container in the refrigerator. I’ve never had it for more than 3-4 days, but it’s such a time saver. I like to do it whenever I have a little bit of extra time. Make sure to seal it really well, much more than you think it needs, otherwise all the contents of your refrigerator will taste like onions and your refrigerator will reek with the smell of onions.

  • Katie

    thats the way i do it 🙂 also if u need a lot of cut onion i bought this onion chopper at fred myers u can chop anything on it…. especially for Oliv’ye salad when all things are cut into small cubes- its turns out so perfect all same size 🙂

  • olga

    Olga, I hate chopping onions! I end up getting big uneven pieces and pick them out of my food later on… This post was sooooo helpful. Another reason I think Im getting weird chunks is because im using a small kitchen knife. Is the knife in your pictures above an onion knife? what kind of knifes are you using? I have really old cheap kitchen knives and am looking to upgrade? what kind would you suggest?

    Thanks so much, God bless you and your family!

    • olgak7

      Hi Olga!
      I’m glad this was helpful to you. Chopping onions is not a fun chore, but at least it’s doable now and takes much less time.
      I have the iCook knives. Check them out in my Shop. I love them. They are really sharp and have are comfortable to hold too.

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