Chefs can spend many hours of the week in the kitchen chopping onions. While it is a common kitchen chore, many people are intimidated by the task. Luckily, anyone can easily learn to properly chop an onion, and without a tear in sight. To begin, gather an unpeeled onion, a cutting board and a chef’s knife that is at least twice as long as the onion. Make sure your working space is well-ventilated. It is the build-up of sulfuric compounds that causes tears.
This method will leave you with uniform-sized cubes. Depending on how big you want the final cut slices, you can change the number of slices you make horizontally and vertically. If your recipe calls for other chopped vegetables as well, keep in mind that all vegetables should be the same size to ensure all ingredients are cooked throughout.
- Place the onion on the clean cutting board. Place the vegetable so that both ends – the root and the stem – are visible.
- Holding the onion firmly, position the blade of the knife so that once you begin cutting, it will slice the onion vertically through both the stem and root ends.
- Begin the cut, making sure the blade is lined up properly. Do not complete the cut, but instead move your hand, now holding the knife handle, to the top of the blade. This will not only give you more force behind your cut, but will also ensure that you will not cut yourself if the knife slips.
- Continue the cut, slicing the onion in half.
- Turn each half cut-side down and cut the top and bottom 1/2 inches from the onion halves. You can discard the cut ends, or place them aside to be used in a stock.
- Peel the halves. Waiting until now to peel them is easier than attempting to do it before cutting the onion.
- Chop each onion half by drawing the knife through about three or four times horizontally, then again vertically.