How to Chop an Onion; A Video Tutorial

I have an onion complex. Onions are never in short supply at our house. I think they make everything taste better; except dessert, I haven’t found a way to put those together.. YET 😉

Here’s a video on how to easily dice an onion and some really helpful onion tips!

Watch How To Chop an Onion:

I recently discovered that onions are considered a super food. Oh heck yeah! That’s especially exciting because onion is a staple in Russian cuisine; baked, stewed, broiled, boiled, tossed into salads, sautéed, seared, marinated, and even raw with a bit of salo (not that I eat salo, but it is customary in Russia and Ukraine).

Salo probably cancels out the superfood onion though, so forget that last part. This means I probably won’t be making a salo tutorial. Please stop crying.

How to Chop an Onion:

On choosing the right onion, here’s a quick reference from the video:

Small Onion = 4 oz (1/4 lb) = 1/2 cup chopped
Medium Onion = 8 oz (1/2 lb) = 1 cup chopped
Large Onion = 12 oz (3/4 lb) = 1 1/2 cups chopped
Jumbo Onion = 16 oz (1 lb) = 2 cups chopped

I’ll do my best to stay on track with this chart and minimize confusion (my mom grows plenty of onions for the whole family and those can come in cute extra small and extra extra small sizes too 😉 ).

Thanks for stopping by my blog to watch the videos, cook the recipes and and for leaving your thoughtful comments and suggestions! I’m so happy I started blogging or I may never have met you! You are awesome!

P.S. Do YOU have any tricks up your sleeve to prevent onion tears?

Love,
Natasha

natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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  • Lesya
    October 30, 2015

    Hi Natasha! First of all, I’m kind of obsessed with your blog. Since we Ukrainians use onions in everything, avoiding the tears is almost inevitable! I watched a Ukrainian cooking show a while ago, and they took some water in the mouth and didn’t swallow until done chopping. I usually have my boyfriend handle the onions and he said the trick worked for him 😆 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 30, 2015

      Lesya, thank you for the strange but cool tip. I would just hope that I won’t start laughing in the middle of the process 😂. Reply

  • Linda
    May 8, 2015

    When I chop an onion I always run the kitchen faucet at the same time. I learned to do this when I was a child and it always seems to work. Might just be mind over matter but give it a try. You never know. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 8, 2015

      Hmmm interesting. 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Luda
    April 23, 2015

    This is going to be probably the weirdest method but it works for me lol. Ive tried it more than once and it worked every time! but when I just have 1 onion to chop, I just cry through the process. Today I had to chop about 10 onions, so I tried the method my hubby found useful and we laughed about it. I was cutting onions on my KNEES, and did not shed a tear lol.. Considering I am 29 weeks pregnant and feeling congested, I wasn’t gonna risk crying through all those 10 onions lol. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 23, 2015

      Wow that is unusual and a pretty funny mental picture. lol. Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you in your pregnancy and delivery. You’re almost there! 🙂 Reply

  • Taissa
    April 17, 2015

    I slice my onions by the lit gas stove, works great! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 17, 2015

      If only I had a gas stove… 😉 Thanks for the tip! Reply

      • Taissa
        April 17, 2015

        Try candles, a bunch of them 🙂 Reply

  • Cindy M.
    March 21, 2015

    Sooooo…what is salo? I’m taking a wild guess & thinking it is a type of lard? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 21, 2015

      It’s like the fat portion of bacon – it’s served cold and is salt cured. Reply

  • Jules
    February 26, 2015

    Just read that chewing gum while cutting stops the tears will be trying tomorrow when I attempt your creamy shrimp pasta! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 26, 2015

      I’ll have to try that! Thanks Jules 🙂 Reply

  • dina
    December 14, 2014

    can you post a video on how to make beet soup? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 14, 2014

      That’s a great idea Dina :). I have a video of a bread recipe coming out next week or so. After that I might do a video of the beet soup. Reply

  • Jessica
    December 9, 2014

    If you chew gum and chop onion you wont cry(: Reply

  • Charlene Hsiao
    November 26, 2014

    If you cut the onion in half and soak it in cold water for about 10 minutes before chopping, it reduces or even prevents tearing. Reply

  • Babbu
    June 1, 2014

    You can avoid tears if you put the onion in to water after cutting it half. Keep it there for 5 minutes and you will see the water color changing into milky white. Take out the onion now and chop it now, you wont feel tears anymore. The substance that brings tears in your eyes is washed out in water. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 1, 2014

      Does it change the flavor much when you do that? It sounds like a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 Reply

  • Elena
    April 19, 2014

    Putting a piece of bread in your mouth when chopping helps… Reply

  • Veronica
    April 14, 2014

    Hi, I know that biting on a piece of bread like put it halfway into your mouth and let the other half dangle from your mouth it doesn’t have to be a big piece but it prevents you from crying when chopping onions. 🙂 Hope this helps! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 14, 2014

      I could see myself trying that. Funny picture! Thanks Veronica! lol Reply

  • Julia
    November 28, 2013

    Chewing bubblegum is extremely helpful 🙂 never cried when I chew bubblegum Reply

  • Lesya
    October 23, 2013

    I’m not sure if someone mentioned this, but I have learned that running the peeled onion, the knife and you can wet the cutting board if you want under cold water, helps from tearing up. Always works for me. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 23, 2013

      Thank you for the tip Lesya :). Reply

  • rudy javier
    October 5, 2013

    i heard that having a burning candle net to you while choppping the onion prevents the tears Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 5, 2013

      It looks like there will be less tears in winter, since that is when I get my candles burning. Thanks for the tip! Reply

  • Wash
    September 21, 2013

    Hi Natasha,

    Great recipes and videos!
    Just leave a bowl of water next to the onions you’re chopping. The onion will react with the water and less than with the moisture from your eyes.

    I’m making your Plov recipe with lamb today. It’s going to be tasty.
    Thanks,
    Wash Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 21, 2013

      Thank you for the tip, Plov sounds sooo good right now :). Reply

  • Nadia
    August 22, 2013

    I always had a hard time cutting onions..but once i started doing it your way its so much easier cause the onion doesnt fall apart.Thanks for sharing! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 22, 2013

      🙂 I agree. Since I figured out this method, cutting onions is now a strange kind of fun 😉 Reply

  • Oksana
    July 29, 2013

    I took some culinary courses many years back and the one method that never failed me is freezing the onion for 10 min, and dipping the edge of your knive’s blade in olive oil! I’m sure any oil would work tho. This technique has never proved me wrong 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 29, 2013

      Thank you for sharing Oksana :), great tip. Reply

  • Anna
    July 10, 2013

    HI Natasha,
    I cut the end of the onion off and wash the onion under cold water. I never get teary eyes. Try it and see if it works. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 10, 2013

      Thank you for the suggestion Anna :). Reply

  • I used to work at Subway and since I wear contacts I was deemed the role of the onion slicer.

    Great tutorial! I learned something new about the onion sizing.

    I read about the cutting method in ‘Cooking for Dummies’ a while back and have been using it ever since. <3 Reply

  • Veronika
    June 11, 2013

    I wash the onion in cold water and the knife too and go outside and cut it, and I never cry, hope that helps Reply

  • diana
    June 5, 2013

    cutting onions make me so emotional, i just let it out lol jk have you ever considered getting cutco knifes… u can only buy them through a sales person or a local seller. they are seriously the best thing ever invented. i have had mine for about 6years and they are always sharp. i have never had to sharpen my knifes and they just glide through everything i cut. they are pretty expensive but they have a forever warranty meaning u dont need proof purchase u just send them in if they need to be sharpened or else… i havent needed to yet but i would totally reccomend them it has changed my life lol no kidding Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 5, 2013

      I’ll look into it. Do you know someone who sells them? Reply

  • svetlana
    June 3, 2013

    I dont know if anyone mentioned this but everytime I cut onions I pour lemon juice over the onion and it helps me get through the slicing without crying. I thought that the lemon juice will alter some of my recipes but i havent noticed a difference. That was my technique so far.. Reply

  • Irina
    May 30, 2013

    Very good idea – not to cut the root end. I usually cut both ends and cut the same way as you do. But it will be much easier if I leave one end intact. Thank you for the great advice. As for the tears, I cut my onions standing next to the stove, with the vent hood turned on. Helps big time. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 30, 2013

      Oh now that is a good idea!! Thank you Irina! Reply

  • Oksana
    May 24, 2013
  • Oksana V.
    May 24, 2013

    Nice video! I’ve learned not a long time ago, when you put the peeled onion into the cold water for some time (I’m not sure for how long), it will reduce crying.
    I guess, this good to do especially if you are cooking for a big party where a lot of onions have to be chopped. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 24, 2013

      Oh cold water is a great idea! Lots of people said the fridge or freezer but cold water would cool it down the fastest. Thank you! Reply

  • Lena
    May 24, 2013

    You know it’s kinda funny I’v always read all your blogs, posts, and recipes etc. and am totally obsessed with your site but I’ve never left a message… Well this onion thing got me because one thing that works really great for me is having a lit candle right next to where I am chopping my onion 🙂 and it works wonders for me!!! 🙂
    *Thanks for the awsome recipes!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 24, 2013

      Oh I’ve never considered a candle! Thanks for that great tip! I’m so glad you enjoy the site and it’s awesome to hear from you. Very nice to meet you! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 24, 2013

      Wait, your email sounds very familiar. Have we connected on instagram? Reply

      • Lena
        June 1, 2013

        Yep I’ve got you on my instagram… Love the awsome piks:) Reply

    • Marina @ Let the Baking Begin Blog
      May 24, 2013

      My mom used to work at a diner when she was young, so they had to chop and she said that having a lit candle or a gas burner on, as well as rinsing the onion with cold water works and I have been doing this for as long as I can remember. It’s not 100% effective bug it helps. Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        May 24, 2013

        I have an electric stove 🙁 But I think a candle would suffice 🙂 Thanks for the tips! Reply

      • anna
        June 12, 2013

        I second the gas burners. I put the board on the front burner, light all 3 around me and I never shed a tear anymore. I am extremely sensitive, i used to leave the kitchen multiple times in the middle of chopping. Reply

  • Natalie
    May 23, 2013

    you know I have worn goggles once or twice when chopping those onions 🙂 not convenient when you’re wearing eye makeup though 🙂 didn’t realize they actually made onion eyewear! some of the tricks I do is to breathe with your mouth not your nose and that helps a lot because as soon as you get that onion whif (this might not be an actual word) up your nose, that is the end of our perfect composure! and leaving the onion cutting area for a few seconds helps too as your trying not to cry by making weird faces 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 24, 2013

      No worries, I make up words all the time! lol. yeah I’ve heard that about breathing through your mouth, but I always forget and end up crying despite my best intentions to mouth breath. ha ha. I totally make weird faces as I walk away too! Reply

  • Angelina
    May 23, 2013

    Natasha,
    Putting the onion into the freezer for a few hours works for me.. Hope it works for you 🙂
    Angelina Reply

  • Irene
    May 23, 2013

    A much needed tutorial. Thanks so much, I make my grandma do it all the time hehe 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      That’s sweet that you chop onions with your grandma 🙂 Reply

  • yana m
    May 23, 2013

    hi Natasha . my mom thought me to wash my knife with cold water wgen u feel lije ur about to start crying and I alwas do that and it works 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      You aren’t the first to mention it. I’ll definitely use your technique! Reply

  • Agnessa N.
    May 23, 2013

    My mom swears by turning the faucet on cold and letting the water run while you chop and i also heard that putting cold water in your mouth and holding it there helps too. I’ve tried both methods and they kinda work but not 100% effective as i still tear up a little. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      It’s still better than sobbing over an onion 😉 Reply

  • Irina
    May 23, 2013

    I also rinse my onion and knife in cold water after cutting the onion in half. This usually works for me. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      Thanks for sharing Irina! 🙂 Reply

  • yuliya
    May 23, 2013

    This trick helps a little bit. Run very cold water over your onion and over your chopping knife before you begin to cut. Or you can put the onion in the freezer for five minutes. This helps the onion not to release its “crying enzymes” as much. (The onion will not be soft and smushy if you leave the outer skin on.) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      The freezer option sounds nice if you’re in a hurry versus trying to cool the onion in the fridge. Thanks! Reply

  • Mariya F.
    May 23, 2013

    I was told to rinse BOTH the onion AND the knife in COLD water before chopping, and also in between chopping the onions, wich does help but not completely, or at least for me, I still cry sometimes 🙁 Reply

    • Veta
      May 23, 2013

      That’s what I do all the time. Especially with yellow onions. It really helps. Sometimes, I rinse a knife in cold water couple of time during the chopping proccess. Depends how big and strong is the onion 😉 Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        May 23, 2013

        The knife under cold water is definitely a common theme 🙂 Reply

  • Olya Shem
    May 23, 2013

    Hi Natasha! I read somewhere that if you put an UNLIT match in your mouth so that the match head is sticking out a little past your lips, it will absorb the onion gasses (yes, its a gas) before they get to your eyes and you won’t cry. I actually do this all the time, but with at least 3 matches (I don’t like taking chances) and it works! I don’t know if its just in my head or if it actually does the trick, but it works for me. You should try it. And put a pic on here with matches in your mouth 🙂

    Thanks for all your recipes! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      Haha. That would be a funny picture. Very interesting strategy! Lol Reply

  • Natasha
    May 23, 2013

    I too wear contacts and I don’t cry from onions, but there is also another trick that works for me, I wash my knife in cold water and start chopping onions. This don’t make me cry I I wear glasses:) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      Hmmm the knife in water trick; I’ll have to try that! Reply

      • Natasha
        May 23, 2013

        I forgot to mention that the knife is suppose to be wet, just hold it for a fev seconds under cold running water. Reply

  • lena
    May 23, 2013

    Are u from Kelso by any chance? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      Nope 🙂 Reply

  • Irina
    May 23, 2013

    Wear goggles like Chef Fabio shows 🙂
     Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      Chef Fabio huh? What a cool name! Goggles are an option, but I’m pretty sure if get made fun of. Lol Reply

      • Irina
        May 30, 2013

        ooops! Sorry, I thought I added the link to his video with my comment. wonder where it went… anyway, here is what I meantReply

  • Oksana
    May 23, 2013
  • ana
    May 23, 2013

    Nice video 🙂 Iwill try chopping like that. One way to help with having less tears is to rinse the knife in water, it stops crying automaticlly. After you’ve cut to the point where you can no longer see cause of tears,rinse off in water then contuinue with choping, its kinda annoying to stop and start but at least there are no tears in your eyes to slow you down. It really does work. Reply

  • Oksana
    May 23, 2013

    Natasha! What an awesome video!! My amazing husband bought me the onion goggles from Bed Bath and Beyond for $20. They work a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Worth every dime – I don’t cry anymore 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      I seen those before but never heard any feedback if they are really effective, not I know :). Reply

  • May 23, 2013

    Oh, boy! Chopping onions! I used to hate it. Then I learned Alton Brown’s onion chopping technique, and I actually enjoy it now. I know, I’m a little weird:).
    Sometimes, when I’m chopping A LOT of onions, I turn on the fan and it really helps. I’ve tried freezing it for a little while too, but I don’t usually think ahead like that and I’m not patient enough to wait for it to chill.
    My best tactic is to practice up those chopping skills and get through the chopping as fast as possible. The quicker you chop, the less likely to cry.
    Isn’t it annoying when your mascara starts to run? Or is that just me? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      It’s funny that you mention using a fan. As soon as my son sees one of us about to start dicing an onion, he turns on the fan in the kitchen, it actually helps a lot. I totally agree with you regarding practicing onion dicing skills to get through it faster :). Reply

      • May 24, 2013

        Hi Natasha,
        I think it’s the gas the onions give off that makes us cry. By turning on the kitchen fan some of them can be sucked up and help prevent tears. But the eye contact trick works for me:) Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          May 24, 2013

          Whenever we cut onions, my son quickly runs to turn the fan on without us even asking him to do it. He knows!! 🙂 Reply

  • Inna
    May 23, 2013

    I were contact lenses so I never cry while chopping an onion. But I heard if you were googles it will prevent you from crying. 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 23, 2013

      Seems like contact lenses do much more than just improve your vision :D. Reply

  • Oksana
    May 22, 2013

    Hey Natasha! I almost never get teary when chopping onions….you might ask – why not? Well I wear contact lenses, so they shield my eyes and I don’t get teary. But every time when I have my glasses on I cry like a baby!!! At least one good thing from wearing contacts, oh and the part that they help me see clearly 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 22, 2013

      Oh yes, seeing clearly is important too. Lol. You’re the second person to say that contacts prevent tears! Reply

  • Vika
    May 22, 2013

    Hi darling 🙂 this works for me – hopefully it’ll work for u too. I freeze my onion for about 25-30 min prior to cutting it, that doesn’t make me
    Cry hehe an also chewing gum, I haven’t tried this one, but alot of people say it helps them lol. Thanks for all ur recipes and awesome videos 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 22, 2013

      I’ll try your freezing method since I’m not much if a gum chewer 😉 does it make the onion squishy or does it stay crisp? Reply

  • Tania
    May 22, 2013

    I wear eye contacts and can chop onions all day and never shed a tear! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 22, 2013

      Thats a nice perk! I’m dreaming of getting those onion goggles one day 😉 Reply

    • Richard Lain
      May 24, 2013

      Natasha and all –

      Some time ago, while teaching cullinary classes, we taught our students to breath through the mouth rather than the nose while chopping onions. In most cases it stopped/prevented tearing up – trick is to breath through your mouth BEFORE starting to chop. Give it a shot – it sure is a lot less expensive than some of the cures….. Reply

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