How To: Dice an Onion Faster by Using Its Root as a Handle

Dice an Onion Faster by Using Its Root as a Handle

There are myriad wrong ways to cut an onion, a few right ways to cut an onion (including this one)... but only one ultimate way to dice onions, and that's what I'll be sharing with you today.

Dicing onions is a necessary evil when it comes to cooking. And I'm not even talking about how annoying it is to cry while cutting them... although we have a few solutions for that if you're tired of becoming a sobbing mess at the cutting board.

Regardless, onions are a staple aromatic upon which most cuisines are based upon, and just the smell of sautéing onions makes my mouth water. After what feels like a lifetime of dicing and slicing onions, however... you start to wonder if there's some better, smarter way you should be doing it. There is.

Step 1: Cut the Onion from Root to Tip

Don't cut off either of the ends! Just cut from root to tip first, as shown below.

Step 2: Cut the Onion Tip Off

The tip is the pointed end of the onion; go ahead and cut that part off. Do not cut off the root, or the rounded bottom of the onion.

Step 3: Peel Back the First Few Layers of the Skin

The first layer of skin is usually papery and comes off quickly, but the two or so layers below it peel back with a little bit of maneuvering.

Once you've peeled them back completely, their connection to the root will keep them from detaching from the onion. This is the reason why this is the "ultimate" way to cut an onion: because the root keeps the onion attached at one end, it's easier to slice and dice the onion without the layers sliding around... or worrying about how close your cuts are getting to your fingers when holding the onion in place. The root does all of the work for you!

Step 4: Cut the Onion Horizontally

Make cuts that are parallel to the cutting board depending on the size of the dice you require; I chose to do a medium-sized dice, but you can go as large or as small as you need. Your knife will automatically stop at the root (which is holding the onion pieces together).

Step 5: Cut the Onion Vertically

Now, cut the onion in slices that are parallel to the skin that has been pulled back—perpendicular to the first slices that you made.

Step 6: Dice the Onion!

Hold your knife so that the knife is parallel to the chopped-off tip, then slice all the way to the root. Each slice should release a row of perfectly-diced onions!

There may be a few longer pieces or unevenly-diced pieces toward the root, but these are few and far in between (and easily remedied).

Keep the Root, Keep Your Sanity

This trick makes my life so much easier in the kitchen; thanks to the root holding my slices in place, I can dice onions much faster and with much more precision. And once you start cutting onions this way on a daily basis, you'll be amazed at how much easier it will make your prep work prior to preparing a meal.

Let us know if you have any other tips for speeding up prep work in the comments below.

More Knife Skill Hacks:

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Photos by Kris Wu/Food Hacks

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