How to Chop an Onion (the fancy way)

I’m not sure how many people already know this technique, but I love it and won’t dice an onion any other way. It’s simple to do, but perhaps difficult to describe, so I hope the photos help if you never seen this before.

Start with halving your onion, lengthwise, like the above photo.

Cut a small portion off the bottom of your onion, and remove the dead skin.

With the top of the onion facing away from you, begin making vertical cuts as close together as possible, from one side of the onion to the other. Do not, however, cut all the way through the onion! Make sure the tip of your knife stops short of the top of the onion every time you slice. The onion remains in one piece, being held together by its top.

Now you’ll be cutting horizontally, with your knife moving parallel to your cutting board towards the top of the onion. Make these cuts as close together as possible as well, and again, do not cut all the way through. Stop each cut when you get to the top of the onion so that it still remains whole.

Continue this process until you can’t make any more cuts. I always move down towards the cutting board, but you could start at the cutting board and move up if you want.

At the end of this process, your onion should still be whole and will look something like this. A few pieces may have fallen out by now, but your onion should still be all connected at its top.

To make a nice dice, simply cut down through the onion, starting from the bottom, knife perpendicular to the board, moving towards the top of the onion. Every slice should create more and more beautifully diced onion.

Here’s the finished result! Just toss out the tops and throw everything else into your pan, impressing your date with your mad knife skills.

This particular onion went into a mushroom and wild rice stew, which I’ll show you as soon as it’s finished cooking. Damn wild rice always takes so freakin’ long. Back Later.


  1. Amy

    Thanks for the picture tutorial! I haven’t used that method. A tip to keep from getting misty-eyed while cutting an onion: chew gum!

  2. dude

    in fact the best thing to do to prevent onion sting in the eye is to open a window, and even turn on a fan next to where youre chopping, to allow the onion-gas to escape

  3. Grey

    I cut onions OUTSIDE because I am so sensitive to them. I love eating them… but my eyes will water for an hour or two after I have sliced an onion. Half the time I just shove them in the food processor and throw them into the sautee pan and put the lid on super fast… and immediately rinse the insides of the processor!

    Thanks for the tutorial. I will try it… outside.

    Love the blog!

  4. Betty

    You don’t really have to slice the onion parallelwise. If you slice it thinly perpendicularly (new word), and then slice across the layers, you will have tiny dices already when the layers separate. Saves time.

  5. manda

    another great way to avoid the onions tears is to put the onion in the freezer about 30 min before you are going to need it. this helps a lot even though i do find myself forgetting to do it before i need them a lot:)

  6. Mew

    Or for a quicker freezer trick is to cut the onion in half and put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes before slicing or dicing. This will already help your from crying your eyes out when cutting your next onion!

  7. JimBob

    Everyone’s got a favorite trick. I find that lighting a couple of kitchen matches, letting them burn for just a moment, then blowing them out and holding them in my lips (unburned end on lips, of course) keeps the tears away. I think it’s the activated charcoal in the burned end of the match that absorbs the gas. Or maybe it’s just the placebo effect because I BELIEVE it works. But it does. For me.

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  10. Roxie

    Rub your fingers over the bowl of a spoon to remove the onion odor. Just thought I’d throw that in for free!

  11. Laura

    I have a horrible reaction to onions so I bought some tight fitting chemistry goggles that I wear while chopping. I look ridiculous but it sure does work!

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