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Tips For Cutting Onions Without Tears

Learn how to cut onions like a chef, without the tears!

How often have you ended up in tears while cutting onions during your lunch or dinner preparations? Your eyes are burning, stinging, watering, and the more you rub, the worst it gets. You can’t see the cutting board in front of you anymore, and you’re in danger of cutting yourself instead of the blasted onion. Scroll down for my onion cutting tips…

How to cut onions

According to Thomas Scott at the Scientific American, “Peeling, cutting or crushing an onion’s tissue releases enzymes called allinases, which convert [an onion’s amino acid sulfoxides] to sulfenic acids. The sulfenic acids, in turn, spontaneously rearrange to form syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the chemical that triggers tears.”

Tips for cutting onions without tears:

  • Keep your Onions Cold – Getting your onion nice and cold before into it helps reduce the release of the chemicals that cause eye irritation! Store your onions in the fridge or pop it in the freezer for a few minutes before peeling.
  • Make sure your Knife if sharp – A good quality, sharp knife helps minimize damage to the skin of your onion as you cut into it, this will minimize the release of the irritants. Get a knife sharpener that works and is easy to use. A dull knife blade is ten times more dangerous, and tear evoking, than a sharp one.
  • Get some air movement – Blow those pesky onion irritants away from your eyes and to help keep you tear-free. Open a window or simply turn on a fan to get some fresh air circulating through your kitchen.
  • Try a new way to cut your onions – A good way to minimize tears is by keeping the fresh cut surfaces of your onion away from you. Cut your onion in half, leaving the root on and putting the cut-side down on your board. Start slicing your onion using the ‘chef method’. A large Chef’s knife is the best kitchen tool for cutting onions without tears.

Learn to cut onions like a chef

Others tips we heard over the years that will help keep the tears away while cutting onions:

  • Wear goggles and a surgical face mask
  • Run water in the sink next to your cutting board
  • Chew gum or whistle while cutting onions
  • Place a wet paper towel in your mouth

I hope these tips for learning how to cut onions without tears has been helpful.

Do you know of another method of cutting onions with no tears? Leave your comments below.

2 Responses to Tips For Cutting Onions Without Tears

  • I’ll have to try those. I’ll be cutting some onions to go in my stuffing. It’s Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend. Family, friends, laughter and good food. Can’t wait!

  • Great tip, I will share them with my wife. She does most of the cooking.

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