How to Cut an Onion


I know some people who wont use onions if they’re 1) in a hurry, 2) have makeup on, or 3) don’t feel like crying at the moment. I used to think that until I started working in kitchens and learned how to cut onions quickly. That’s a shame, ’cause onions=flavor. If you can cut them quickly, you shouldn’t have to worry about the tears or the hassle.

As with most veggies, I recommend using an 8″ chef’s knife on a wooden/bamboo, or thick plastic board–not glass. Also, don’t forget to keep your non-cutting hand in a “claw” shape. Don’t ever let your finger tips be vulnerable.

Start by cutting off the bud. NOT the root, but the flimsy top part.

Then, with the peel still on, cut right down THROUGH the root so each half has a little bit of root still attached. This will help hold it all together.

Then, peel back the papery covering but don’t pull it off. This will give you an extra piece to hold on to when your other hand is cutting.


Turn your knife horizontally and place your palm flat on top of the onion. Don’t cut towards your fingers! Cut most of the way through the onion, but not all the way. Stop at about where the knife is in this picture.

Depending on how big you want the chunks, cut the equidistant lines horizontally. For example, if you want a very fine dice, you may need 10 horizontal slices. If you want big, rough chunks, you may only need 1 slice.

Then, cut straight down in equidistant lines in the same direction.

Finally, cut straight down in the opposite direction.

And THIS is why it’s nice to keep that little peel at the end. So you don’t chop your finger when it gets to the last chop!


This is definitely the fastest way to cut onions–for the times you don’t really care what it looks like. Follow the same steps before you started chopping and simply slice straight down. Use your left hand’s first finger joints to guide your knife as you slice. You should be able to cut these blindfolded (not recommended).

These should make little bitty albino rainbows. Awww…

Any questions? Here are some onion recipes if you need a little inspiration.

About Ande Truman

Ande has made mistakes in the kitchen since she could reach the countertop. From a restaurant head cook, to cooking meals for friends, to her own solo plate, experimenting & learning drives her. She's also a freelance graphic & web designer, photo/videographer, guitar player and wanderlust-er. In her spare time, she works a full-time 8 to 5 cubicle job. She's the creator of Broke & Healthy.

Browse Archived Articles by Ande Truman

Categories: Cooking Techniques, Onion, Recipes, Recipes by Ingredient

Tags: , , , ,


Comments for How to Cut an Onion are now closed.

  1. […] Speaking of which, if you’d like to practice, here’s how to properly cut an onion. […]

  2. […] Cut up 1/2 onion in VERY small pieces. If you need a hand cutting one, go here.  […]

  3. Thanks for the examples! I hate cutting onions because I didn’t know how, I’ll try these methods and see how it goes!

  4. Awesome and thanks! I’ve heard of several ways to cut the onion but this is a much better way to do it!