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How to cut an onion (with pictures to help)

adam_guestadam_guest Member Posts: 3 Listener
edited June 14 in Coffee lounge
Hello all, this is my first post on teaching people how to cook so hopefully this goes well. I’m starting on something relatively simple and maybe I’ll start teaching how to cook whole meals for you and your loved ones one day 😁.

So, how to cut an onion.

Everybody has their own ways of cutting onions and if you already have a way that works for you then fantastic but if you’re struggling to get it right, then hopefully this guide can help you. I must stress that is my way of doing it and I’m not going to say that this is the only way you should cut an onion.

Lastly, if you’re around 12/13 years old or under, or you’re just simply not feeling comfortable using a sharp blade on your own, I’d recommend that you do this with the guidance of an independent adult (or a parent, family member, etc.) until you eventually get the hang of it.


1. Preparation

Make sure that your cutting board is clean before you begin. Wiping it with a wet sponge with washing liquid on it should do.

If there’s anything in the way that could make it more difficult to cut the onion, then make sure that you move them before you start.

You will then need the following:

• 1 onion
• 1 kitchen knife

(I’d recommend a big, sharp knife as shown above but alternatively, you could use a smaller version as long as it’s sharp.) 

2. Peeling the onion

Now for anybody worried about the onion making you cry, don’t worry, I have you covered…. mostly. Firstly, you’re going to cut the top and bottom off the onion.

Once you’ve done that, it should look something like this:

After you’ve done that, you’re going to want to peel the onion (I peel off the skin as well as the first layer as I find in the meals I have that the first layer can turn out a bit stringy but that’s just my personal preference, but you do need to atleast peel the skin off.)

And here’s what it look something like after peeling.

3. Onion crying prevention

Note that sometimes, you can still cry sometimes even doing this but it’s nowhere near as bad as if you didn’t and someone may have a better way of doing this than me so if anyone does, please let me know 👍.

Anyway, next you wanna turn on the cold tap in your kitchen and completely soak the onion for about atleast 20-40 seconds, depending on how thorough you want to be.

4. Cutting the onion

Now to finally get to the good bit, chopping up the onion! (Again, if you’re around 12/13 years old or under or you’re not comfortable with using a knife alone regardless of age, ask somebody who can help to assist you.)

Firstly, you’re going to cut the onion in half.

Then you’re going the two halves into another half each, leaving you with the onion in four quarters.

After that, if the onion is making you cry, wash each quarter under the cold tap for about 10-15 seconds.

You’re then going to hold the the onion with your fingers out of the way of the knife to prevent any accidents that could result you you losing a finger or two. (You can cut the onion facing anyway you want it to, as long as it’s still for when you chop it up. If it keeps moving out of place, cut it in another position where it will stay still.)

I hold it like this as I have a firm grip of the onion for when I cut it as well as protecting my fingers from getting the chop too!

Whilst holding the onion, you’re going to cut the onion into little slices. You can cut them as thinly or as thick as you like, as the only right way in that regard is your way! I personally like thick and tasty chunks of onion to go into my meals 😋.

REMEMBER: Unless you’re in the Great British Bake Off or something like that, it’s not a race! Take your time if you need to.

After that, here’s what your onion should look like:

Don’t worry if some parts look different to others as it all goes down the same anyway, as long as you chew that is! 

And if you’re mixing it in a chilli or fajitas for example, the layers will separate as you stir the food whilst cooking so if that worries you, then don’t! That’s meant to happen!

And there you have it! How to cut an onion.

I sincerely hope this has helped you and if you have any feedback or constructive criticisms, then feel free to let me know as this could help me and others in the future! All I ask in return is that you keep it friendly, thanks!


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