Things to do with onions besides crying

There is something about onions that give food more flavor, whether raw, cooked or pickled. Depending on which kind, onions can be sharp, spicy, tangy or mild and sweet. They’re used in almost any cuisine in the world and can you believe they have been used since 5000 BC?  Click the link for more amazing facts about onions.

This post is not about the historical or cultural value of onions, but merely listing information and some tips on how to handle onions properly without crying or cutting yourself. I found some great videos to illustrate how the pros do it!  Read on and soon you’ll feel like an onion-pro yourself!

Reduce the intensity.
Where it was never a problem before, nowadays my stomach can’t handle any food prepared with raw onions or an abundance of onions. To reduce the intensity of chopped raw onions for my homemade coleslaw dressing, I soak it in vinegar or lime juice first, before adding to the dressing.

Some of the tips at The Kitchn mention soaking in cold water before adding to the dish, quick cooking over high heat, slow cooking over medium heat, or slow cooking over low heat to caramelize the onion (French Onion Soup).

Chop onions without crying.
Over the years I’ve tried many things to keep from crying while cutting onions, including running out of the kitchen halfway through chopping, only to start crying again as soon as I returned. I finally found one tip that really worked:  NOT breathing through my nose, but through the mouth!

  • Others say that burning a candle right next to the cutting board – a Martha Stewart tip – helps them.
  • Rinse onion in cold water after peeling and after cutting in half,then chop like crazy (done that, didn’t work for me).
  • Keep the roots on while peeling and chopping (doesn’t always work).
  • Cutting under running water (but what if the onion should be dry to prevent oil from spattering?).
  • Make the knife wet with with cold water before cutting, so the sulfur reacts with water on the knife and not in your eyes.
  • Use onion goggles (swim goggles should work too), although I cannot see myself do that 🙂  It seems that contact lens users also have no crying issues when cutting onions.
  • This is a weird one: Put some vinegar on the cutting board, or soak a paper towel in it and sniff it just as your about to cry. (Maybe the vinegar balances out the sulfur?)

You can find many more tips at

Check out this video to see another tip to cut onions without tearing up.

Here’s another  video on how to properly chop an onion.

And if you ever wondered what scallions or shallots look like, visit this wonderful Epicurious onion guide.

Other things you can do with onions:

Do you have other onions tips? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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One thought on “Things to do with onions besides crying

  • 31 March, 2010 at 6:16 pm
    found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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