Cooking tips: how to cut an onion without crying

You need to make an onion tart, and then the world is falling apart. After two minutes chopping the bulbs, your nose itches. One more minute and your eyes starts watering. And then, the end: your eyes refuse to open, you’re crying, it hurts, and there is nothing you can do except rinsing your eyes in the sink and wait for ten minutes… before asking somebody else to chop those damn vegetables. They’re stupid anyway.

I’m usually the manager in chief of the onions/leeks chopping at home. Why? Well here are the secret…

1) I wear contact lenses

Yep, it’s unfair, not everybody wears contact lenses. But those things are damn expensive, they’re a pain when they decide “ohyoureyesaretoodrytoobadI’mjustgonnaslipandeverythingwillbefoggy” and they tear without any reason leaving you with those ugly glasses instead. So if they can help me cut onions, well at least there is that.

Note: It works. Trust me. After about 5 onions, it doesn’t anymore. Trust me. If you can still read this go take them off because the “tear gas” of the onion is all over your lenses and it’s gonna hurt like hell.


2) I use a super sharp knife…

(…and I stop cutting if my eye start watering because I don’t wanna loose a finger due to the fact that I can’t see a thing). Using a sharp knife makes you cut faster and it won’t “squeeze” the cells that contain the tear gas. Well, less, at least. Yes, not crying while chopping onions is more of a race with this tear gas than real solutions, I’m sorry.

3) I keep the onions 5 minutes in the freezer before cutting them

The freezing will make the “tear gas” in the onion less volatile (as you can see from this rather easy explanation, I’m not much of the chemist type of person, sorry. But if you are, learn why onions make you cry here).

Other solutions I tried but that didn’t work for me

  • Holding a burnt match between my lips
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Cutting  onions under water or soaking them in it for 5 minutes: this one actually works, but the onions loose some of their taste. But be careful: if the onions stay wet, throwing them in hot oil is really dangerous. Water and hot oil create violent splashes that can burn you.

Other solutions I never tried but please give me feedback

  • Holding water in your mouth while cutting
  • Using goggles
  • Keeping the root of the onion on
  • Chewing gum or bread
  • Using a fan



3 thoughts on “Cooking tips: how to cut an onion without crying

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