Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: The low-down on dicing onions!

 
How to dice an onion

Originally published in 2006

Okay, so you have a nice big onion and your recipe wants it diced.

Have you ever wondered if there's a best way to dice an onion?

I used to have all sorts of problems dicing onions nicely, until my uncle (who is practically a gourmet chef!) showed me how he did it. I've done it the same way ever since, and now dicing onions is a snap... even if I'm making a triple batch of salsa... when I need 18 cups of diced onions.

If you would like to watch the video tutorial, click here! This is a 6 MB WMV file and you can either right-click to save to your desktop, or just click and it will stream.

Here is the photo tutorial of what I think is the easiest way to dice an onion!

How to dice an onion

1. Start with a freshly-peeled onion. I always rinse the onion after I have peeled it, so it doesn't make me cry. (If you wear contact lenses, this won't be a problem for you, though!) Set the onion, root-side-down, on your cutting board.

Step 2!

2. Cut your onion in half.

Next...



Dicing an onion

3. Lay each half, cut side down, on your cutting board.

How to dice an onion

4. Slice one half of your onion as shown.

The best way to dice an onion!

Slice thinly for minced onion, or thickly for coarsely-diced onion, or anywhere in-between as desired!

How to dice an onion

To get every last bit of your onion sliced, use one hand to hold the onion in shape and make the final slice or two.

Dicing onions

5. Now, turn your sliced onion ninety-degrees to either the right or left, and...

The best way to dice an onion

6. Start slicing again, angling towards the middle of your onion. Make your slices thin for minced onions and thick for coarsely chopped onion.

Dicing Onions

7. Repeat steps for the other half of your onion.

Dicing an onion

And then you're done!

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1. Menu plan make-ahead strategies (Feel Good About Dinner)
2. Time-saving recipe bases (Davette Brown)
3. Split chicken breast tip (Living So Abundantly)
4. Oil vs. butter tips (Sunny Side Homestead)
5.

Comments

I have always despised cutting onions, and when I had to cut up a large onion for tonight's meal, I cut it up the way you have shown here, and it was SO EASY and SO quick! I'll be cutting up my onions this way for now on! =)

I'm so glad it helped you! And it was fun to do :). I'll have to try to think of more little things that I have a particular way of doing that seems to work well. :)

That's exactly how I do it! Fast and effective. The best anti-tears remedy for slicing onions I've found is to light a candle near where you're working.

His, Lisa
wife to Daryl, momys to 7

Yeah, the rinsing only works a little. :D If we ever had/used candles, I would try your idea! But usually I just chop quickly and then rinse my cutting board off. :D

Thanks for sharing, Tammy! I surely try this method! Any ideas for cutting small onions? I have trouble with that. ;-)

And oh, if you see Bonnie (or talk to her on the phone) before next Tuesday, can you tell her the reason I didn't write to her this week is because I didn't have time? Thanks. :)

No special advice for cutting small onions, but I just use this same method. Just try to hold the onion together while you're doing the second set of cuts. :D The onions I had for this demo were really narrow and flat (they're from the garden :D) and not as easy to cut, but basically just try to hold it together until it's diced. :)

I will try to remember to pass your message on to Bonnie! :)

I love...LOVE my Pampered Chef Chopper. I use it daily in the kitchen to chop onions, garlic, carrots, etc. It's fantastic for making soups.

I've field tested a bunch of different types of these chopper gadgets, and none of the other kinds (even the really pricey ones) compare to the Pampered Chef. Plus, it has a lifetime guarantee! (with your reciept) It opens up completely and is dishwasher safe...it's really easy to hand wash as well. If you find one at a yard sale, snag it!

-Gwen

I have a Pampered Chef Chopper as well and love it! :)

Thanks!!!

You know I picked up a little food processor for $10 and it does the work for me. No more tears.:)

When I have my contacts in I get no tears with onions without forget it my nose starts to run and all. I heard to put them in the freezer for 10 mins and they will not be as bad I think it freezers the gas.

I was going to say the same thing about wearing contacts. That is one good thing about being a wearer.

I heard that when you peel the onion try to leave on the layer of skin it has, and if you cut while the skin is intact, it wont release that strong smell that makes your eyes water, or not touch the onion with your skin...which that last one might be hard because regardless if the skin is cut you still kinda get a lil teared.

I heard trying to leave the skin intact, after peeling the onion there is a thin layer that if you can cut it while trying to leave that intact at least the best you can do it leaves less crying.

Cool video! Didn't know that about the contacts. A friend in the Dominican Republic told me that if the onion is too strong, to dice it on the cutting board under running water. Sounded strange, but she showed me and it worked beautifully!

Thanks for sharing!

Erin
$5 Dinner Mom

That is exactly how I cut onions too!

I would like to know more about your knives!
I need a few good ones and I'm stumped!

This is great, I am always chopping onions, we like them around here!
In fact I was just chopping them yesterday for my kitchen tip! lol
Toni
http://thehappyhousewife.com

It was just a lovely video of you slicing the onion! Good luck with your move to Seattle. I have been praying for you.

That is how I cut onions too! After working for a caterer and having to chop up 50 or so at once sometimes (and at least several every day) it was important to find a quick easy way.
-Olivia

ps. I recognize that apron!! ;o) :o)

Hey...great job on the video. You need some more of those on your site. I have a silly question and your onion tutorial reminded me of it. Where do you find your aprons? Does anybody order them online from fave site or make them for less than $50.00? I can never find them and purchasing handmade ones can get pricey! Keep up the great work, Tammy...I enjoy your site more than just about any other!

That's almost EXACTLY how I've been dicing onions for many years! Only I turn the slices on their sides and just cut down, keeping the point of the knife towards the center as you do. Last year a friend video-taped me do this same thing because she said she had never seen anyone dice onions the way I did. I meant to post it to Youtube or something but never did.
So glad to see their are others out there who do it the same way!

My Daddy taught me to cut onions this way. I turn them on their sides for the final cuts too. I love this method of cutting onions and it's SO quick and easy!! :)

One of your regular contributors (Pragmatic Compendium) told me that I needed to post my Green Onion chopping tutorial over here. I obey well!

I hadn't visited this before - but I have already found a lot of great tips! Thanks!

See you next week!
Kristin

I love to buy several onions at a time, chop, and freeze them. It saves time when cooking, and it can save money too ... if you buy in bulk. I use onions everyday, so you chopping method will work nicely!

Tammy, this is Way off subject, but I have to comment... Your apron startled me! I have one that I made JUST LIKE IT. And, I made about a half dozen other ones just like it and gave them as gifts when we went to Ukraine to adopt our children. The only aprons that I thought existed like that are in my kitchen or in a foreign country, and whaddayaknow, there you have one in Ohio!

Praying you'll have peace about the decision to move. We just moved two hours away a few years ago, and we agonized over that decision... I can't imagine how difficult this one is for you!

Shelly
www.countryheartcitykitchen.com

This is almost exactly how I cut onions! I didn't know that if you rinse the onion it won't make you cry. I'll have to try it - my eyes are pretty sensitive.
Erica

The suspense is killing me!
Are you going to be moving????? :-)

I use a food processor.

Tammy, I loved your video, so homey and down to earth. Yes, your apron is pretty too. I have been slicing like this too altho sometimes I get kinda sloppy and think, oh well, they'll soften and dissolve in the soup. Many thanks for a great site. I really enjoy it.
Sharon

I do something very similar after seeing Rachel Ray cut her onions. But for the last step I usually just cut straight down. Your pieces look a lot more uniformly chopped than mine, so I want to try out your method of cutting at an angle next time. Thanks for the great step by step tip!

I loved the pictures. Great tip! I posted about roasting split chicken breasts in place of a whole chicken.

http://livingsoabundantly.blogspot.com/2012/10/cooked-split-chicken-breasts.html

I put onions in so many dishes. I liked how you broke it down step by step. I posted about oil vs. butter and how you can substitute in certain batters.

http://sunnysidehomestead.blogspot.com/2012/10/oil-vs-butter.html

Great tip on slicing the onions. If the rinsing works to stop crying I might even be able to get my girlfriend to help with some (crying is her excuse for skipping this task).

I just posted some tips on Ways to be More Green in the Kitchen:
http://greenbusinesswatch.org/blog/great-ways-to-be-green-in-the-kitchen

I hope it is of interest.

I'm not allow to do this anymore. Too many "slips". So now my husband does everything that involves a knife. Either he loves me or he likes to save money from trips to Urgent Care.

I love short cut !! So I always cut an onion this way from young ( I'm over 60 now ) as by this way it will not be a mess !! So I never cry when slicing the big onion !! I can't remember where I got this tip or I think it is easy to cut it this way.
I don't think it is a good idea to chop and freeze it as it may be soft after freezing it !! To slice an onion is simple ( to me ) .
When I cut the tomato , I always slice just beside the "stem" on top of the tomato, so I only have to remove the "stem"of 1 side of the tomato instead of both sides. So as to big onion if I wanted to dice it big pieces for Chinese stir fry or soup.

Any chance you are doing a kitchen tip Tuesday post tomorrow? I wrote a post for it:

http://westernwarmth.blogspot.com/2012/10/feeding-family.html

Thanks,
Bobi

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