How to Correctly Dice an Onion and Not Cry

A tip I learned from a Food Network Prep Chef

A few years ago my husband and I took a date night cooking class called Knife Skills 101. We learned how to de-bone a chicken, julienne, chop, how to hold a knife correctly and tons of other skills. The one thing that has stuck the most with me is a tip the chef shared during the class that was by chance, how to not cry when chopping onions. Our Chef used to work in the prep kitchen on the Food Network for Emeril and she swears by it.
 How to Dice an Onion Correctly and a tip from a Food Network Prep Chef on how not to cry
I have tried all the wives tales about holding a match in your mouth, chewing gum, and getting them cold first, none of that ever worked for me!The trick at the end of this post has never failed me.
First let’s look at how to correctly chop an onion:
Look at our onion, it has 2 sides. This is the root side. This is the side you want to leave on till while you are dicing the Onion.
The Root Side of an Onion - How to Correctly Dice an Onion and not cry
This is  the end you cut off.
The correct side of an onion to cut - The Correct way to Dice an Onion and How not to cry
Then you need to peel your onion and cut it in 1/2 through the root so that both halves will have part of the root attached.
The Correct way to Dice an Onion cut the ROOT in half , also a tip I've never heard before on How not to cry while doing it!
Then peel the skin off and lay flat. I usually lay a hand on top of the onion and then hold your knife parallel to the cutting board and cut layers. Do not cut all the way through the onion leave the root on, this is what holds your onion together while you dice it.
 The Correct way to Dice an Onion , also a tip I've never heard before on How not to cry while doing it!
  Next you cut your onion horizontal to the cutting board again only cutting so that you don’t cut to the back of the onion.
The Correct way to Dice an Onion , also a tip I've never heard before on How not to cry while doing it!

Then cut horizontal across the face of the onion and you will have a perfect dice without your onion falling all over the place and getting odd sizes.

The Correct way to Dice an Onion , also a tip I've never heard before on How not to cry while doing it!
I just cut up 10 onions and 3 bell peppers and didn’t shed a tear!  I measure them out in 1 cup freezer bags. I use these in soups, stews, and other recipes.
The Correct way to Dice an Onion cut the ROOT in half , also a tip I've never heard before on How not to cry while doing it!
Now I am sure you are wondering how I cut 10 onions without shedding one tear or complaining about my eyes burning???
The Correct way to Dice an Onion , also a tip I've never heard before on How not to cry while doing it!
A simple candle!  I know it sounds too good to be true but try it the next time you cut an onion, I promise you will never forget it! The flame takes care of the gas in the onion so it never reaches your eyes. You just have to remember to light it before you start cutting and keep it close to the cutting board.


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I'm a mom of 3 boys, 2 by birth one by marriage. I love to cook, watch chick flicks, read and drink wine. I hate cleaning up my craft messes, doing laundry and the dishes! I love watching my boys grow and change and see how differently they view the world. Join me on the blog where I try to provide you with recipes and tips to make your life easier!


  1. Leslie says:

    Thanks for the tips! Will have to try it soon. When I tried this trick once a long time ago, it didn’t work. But perhaps I didn’t let the candle burn enough ahead of time or perhaps it was too far away from where I was cutting…will try again! I recently chopped up onions and froze them. Such a great way to save time and tears! But when I cook them up in a skillet, they smell really strange. Does that happen to you, too?

    • Kelley Wilson says:

      No I’ve never had them smell funny but I usually only use them in things like tacos or soups. It may be the water that is on them steaming up from the pan. I set the candle right next to the cutting board or on the corner of it.

  2. Ida Dohoney says:

    Thankyou for the tip. My counter is “too”tall so I am fairly close to the onion when I am cutting. I will try both the candle and the stove burner or just give up and buy the goggles.LOL

  3. Rosa says:

    I work part-time at Subway, and I don’t think my boss would like me burning candles there, but a great tip for at-home cooking!
    For other near-sighted folks like myself, I find that simply wearing contacts helps so much! I guess the gas from the onion just doesn’t get past contacts and prevents the crying.

    • msinfoblog says:

      LOL I am sure you are right but that does not work for me, I wear contacts and my eye\’s still burn!

  4. Jessi @ Practically says:

    Just wanted to let you know I featured this on my blog today! You can check it and grab a Featured button here:

  5. Dawn says:

    If this works for me you will be my hero! I cry like a little baby almost everytime I cut an onion, sometimes even green onions make me cry. I'm a big old wuss, I know.

  6. Jessi @ Practically says:

    Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing at The Fun In Functional, I'm really happy I know this now!

  7. Julie says:

    Great tips! I'm sure I will be cutting an onion tonight so I will try your tips. Thanks for sharing on Marvelous Mondays! I will be featuring this on my blog this weekend so be sure to stop by and check out the featured post. :)Julie

  8. nicolette {momnivore says:

    Yup. Pinning this.I'm Italian. I cut A LOT of onions…:)Visiting from Lucy's party…n

  9. Craftberry Bush says:

    THANK YOU for this…I cry EVERY single time…I'm def. going to try this . thank you for sharing at our first HAPPY HOUR FRIDAY linky party…I'm going to pin this to my great ideas board…xo

  10. Heather M says:

    Thanks for the tips! I have heard that it is the root area of the onion that releases most of the gas, so perhaps not cutting it off till the end helps too? I'm a contact lens wearer, so the onions don't really bother me unless I'm wearing my glasses when I chop. Then the tears are a flowing! I will have to remember this.

  11. Nicole {WonkyWonderf says:

    I'll have to try this – I cry my eyes out every time I cut into an onion!

  12. Printabelle says:

    That is simple enough! Good to know!

  13. Bama Girl says:

    Hi Kelley! Wow! Who knew? That's a great tip! Thanks for sharing with us how to cut the onion properly, as well! No more tears! Blessings from Bama!

  14. Sarah @ Confessions says:

    I learned from Alton Brown that the gas onions release are burned by a flame, so he suggested chopping your onions right next to the stove. Well I have no counter next to my stove, so I set the cutting board on the burner, next to the one that was turned on. I melted the cutting board! lol. Your tip is WAY more manageable in my tiny kitchen. Thanks!

  15. SayNotSweetAnne says:

    This is so smart! I'd read that the reason onions burn is because they release a gas, that when mixed with the moisture in our eyes creates an acid. To this effect, cutting them near any open flame works, as it draws the gas toward the flame. I'd only ever thought of doing it near my gas stove, though. This trick will be perfect when I've already got stuff on the stove top!

  16. Kelley Wilson says:

    Let me know how it works for you!

  17. Kelley Wilson says:

    LOL, yes you will come to Love onion chopping ha ha ha

  18. FrugalFoodieMama says:

    Good morning dear! I loved this post (clever, clever tips!) and included it my A Little Sunday Potluck series this morning. :) Stop on over & check it out and grab my feature button if you would like…

  19. sugarplums andlollip says:

    Hi there! I'm a new follower from MBC and would love a follow back at and also don't forget to follow my Pinterest (located in my sidebar, I follow back all my pinterest followers) :)

  20. Kathleen says:

    I think I love you now lol. I can't tell you how much I hate chopping onions. Maybe now it won't be so bad.

  21. Shannon Slemmons says:

    Very cool, Kelley. You are truly "Miss Information."

  22. Shannon Slemmons says:

    Very cool, Kelley. You are truly "Miss Information."

  23. Amy CookingAdventure says:

    Genius! Thank you so much for the tips! I can't wait to put them in to practice!

  24. Roanna says:

    i've heard of putting them in the refridgerator before cutting them, but the candle is new to me! cool tip! perfect for a romantic dinner too!

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