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How to Chop an Onion Without Crying

Stop the Tears: Chop an Onion Without the Waterworks

Chopping an onion is one of the most basic skills every home cook should have under her belt. If you're interested in a simple method, be sure to check out our onion chopping tutorial. While no tears are shed in the video, I know this problem plagues more than a handful of folks.

I, for one, used to see my tears well up in mere anticipation of the task at hand. Here are a few tips and tricks to make those painful, pesky tears stop and allow the chopping to ensue. Keep reading to learn how to stop crying and start chopping.

  • Keep that baby cold. If you chill the onion in your refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before chopping, you'll cut down on the amount of the acid enzyme, the active ingredient that actually makes us tear up, released into the air.
  • Leave the root until the end. This step is absolutely crucial. If you cut off the root prematurely, the onion will start to bleed and the waterworks will begin in full force.
  • Bring the heat. Light a candle and set it near the cutting board before cutting the onion. The gas released by the onion is drawn into the flame of a candle. If you want to take it up a notch, and you cook with gas at home, turn on the burner, and safely set up your chopping station next to the flame.
  • Deep breaths in and out of your mouth. This will allow your olfactory nerves, closely connected near your tear ducts, to get a break. If you breath in and out through your mouth effectively, no tears will be generated. Plus, you'll be calm, cool, and collected before you continue cooking!

Have any of these worked for you? Any other tips to add to the list? Please share your thoughts below!

Join The Conversation
shannrose shannrose 5 years
I soak the onion cut in half for a few minutes before I continue to cut it and that works pretty well for me.
lauren lauren 5 years
I will try all of these! For me sometimes my contacts help but if it is a real potent onion, I still cry even with them in!
thetalldrink thetalldrink 5 years
wear ski googles or have your neighbor cut it! seriously, put the onion in the freezer for ten minutes and youll be crying that you didnt figure this out sooner.
muse2323 muse2323 5 years
Contacts have never stopped me from crying; what's the trick with that, oatmealpie? Chilling the onions works best for me (and in situations where it doesn't, sticking my face in the freezer or fridge for 15 seconds helps clear up the tearing--a trick I learned from working in a sandwich shop).
oatmealpie oatmealpie 5 years
Or wear contacts.
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