How do you properly chop an onion?

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Answered by: Serena, An Expert in the Tutorials and How-Tos Category
Learning to properly chop an onion is an easy task once you have mastered the correct technique. Increase your speed and efficiency when dealing with onions to decrease the amount of time your sensitive eyes are exposed to the onion's harsh vapors. Use the following technique to chop, slice and dice an onion quickly, efficiently and with little effort.

To Properly Chop an Onion:

Step 1. Hold an onion firmly against a cutting board with one hand and remove the stem end of the onion by slicing downward with a sharp knife.

Step 2. Peel the onion by cutting through the onion paper with a knife and peeling the skin away with your fingertips.

Step 3. Place the onion cut side down on a cutting board so that the root end is facing up and cut the onion in half.

Step 4. Turn the onion onto the cutting board with the freshly cut side facing down.

Step 5. With the knife tip pointed away from you, and the knife held flat side facing down toward the cutting board, make a series of horizontal slices in the onion toward the root end. Do not cut all the way through the onion root, but make approximately three or four slices depending on the size of the desired chop.

Step 6. Hold the knife firmly and make a series of vertical slices all the way through the onion starting from one side and working toward the opposite side.

Step 7. Start at the cut end of the onion and make a series of crosswise slices. The onion will fall away into a small to medium sized chop depending on the number of slices you made in the onion. Discard the stem piece.

If you need a slightly smaller chop, run your knife through the chopped onion a few times to decrease the chop size. Repeat the above steps with the other onion half if you need the full onion.


* Cutting partially through the stem, but leaving a small part of the skin attached will help facilitate easy peeling.

* Use a sharp knife when performing all chopping, slicing and dicing tasks, but be particularly sure to use a sharp knife when dealing with firm vegetables, fruits and meats. A sharp knife will actually help prevent knife related injuries.

* If your eyes are particularly sensitive to onion vapor wear a pair of swimming goggles or similar air-tight eyewear. You might look goofy, but your eyes will thank you.

* Onion juices can be irritating to both the skin and the eyes. If your eyes come into contact with the juices, rinse them thoroughly with cool water and use a calming eye solution such as Visine or saline contact solution. You can purchase nitrile or non-latex gloves from most drugstores to help prevent skin irritation.

* Onion odors can be removed from your skin by rubbing lemon juice between your palms and by using a gentle hand soap or baking soda solution.

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