Do you know how to cut an onion? Sounds simple enough, right? And for a lot of you it’s probably a no-brainer. I know there are plenty of people out there who have some impressive cooking skills. This is a good thing. I firmly believe that the biggest step you can make toward a healthier life is making real food from scratch.
Sadly, the art of cooking is disappearing as too many people rely on “convenience” food. I know because my idea of “cooking” up until a few years ago was putting a prepared “meal” in the microwave. *sigh*
That’s why today I’m giving you a simple post. A post for the people like me. You know, the people who need some basic help in the kitchen. And believe me, knowing how to cut an onion is super handy thing to know. It kind of changed my life. And it can change yours, too.
I love onions (and chopping them!)
Onions are awesome little vegetables that pack a lot of nutrition and flavor. But if you don’t know how to cut an onion it can be messy, tedious, and a tear-inducing experience. So are you ready to learn how to cut an onion? Well, too bad!
Just kidding. But first it’s important to know how NOT to cut an onion.
Three common mistakes when cutting an onion
1. Using a dull knife.
A good chef’s knife is an essential item for any kitchen. Seriously. Take some time and get some advice on purchasing the best knife within your budget (this is my favorite). Not only will it make dicing and chopping all your product so much easier, it’s much safer. While you’re at it, check out this handy article on how to properly handle a knife.
2. Cutting horizontal cuts
Many cooking instructors and online tutorials teach a technique that involves making horizontal cuts in the onion. I personally don’t like this method at all. Cutting sideways through an onion toward your own fingers is just a bad idea. Especially for the home cook who may have little people pulling on their shirt while trying to chop an onion.
And there’s really no reason to cut an onion this way. The onion already has these natural horizontal cuts built into it. So let’s just avoid this, okay?
3. Cutting off the “ugly” end first.
This was my rookie mistake for years before I knew how to cut an onion. I’d chop off that little hairy end (also known as the root end). It was ugly. I knew I didn’t want to eat it… so it was the first thing to go. Little did I know that I was cutting off the glue that keeps the onion together.
Okay, with those little “red flags” out of the way. Let’s learn how to cut an onion.
How to cut an onion
1. Cut the onion in half. Cut it right through the root end. You should now have two pieces that both have some of that ugly root end still attached.
2. Trim off the stem end of the onion (non-hairy end).
3. Peel off the outer layers.
4. Next, begin making cuts lengthwise without cutting through the root end. Remember, this fuzzy thing is going to help us keep our onion together while we dice away.
For smaller pieces, bring the cuts closer together. For larger pieces, make fewer cuts so the strips are thicker.
5. If you want diced onions, cut the onion width-wise starting at the front and working your way back.
Watch as your beautifully diced pieces make their appearance!
Again, you can make smaller or larger pieces depending on the number of your cuts you make.
6. If you want long, sliced pieces of onion follow steps 1 – 4. This time just make one single width-way cut toward the root end Easy.
7. Separate pieces.
8. Finish by thanking that ugly root end for all it’s help. And then throw it in your compost bin.
There you go. Now when somone asks if you know how to cut an onion you don’t have to say “maybe.” You just show them your mad chef skills.