How To: The Trick to Cutting Onions Without Making You Cry

The Trick to Cutting Onions Without Making You Cry

Even though you may love onions, cutting them is probably a completely different story. You've really got to be a pro at slicing and dicing them without getting frustrated, and even then they can still make your cry—literally. But if you don't want to wear a pair of goggles to keep those tears from falling, you have to cut your onions in a very special way.

Before we get to the actual no-cry method for cutting onions, let's dive into what part of the onion actually gives you watery eyes, so you can better understand why this trick works.

The Real Enemy Is Gas, Not Onions

Onions grow and get their delicious flavor from sulfur, and hidden in each onion's core is a bulb containing that sulfur-based gas. When released into the air, the gas makes contact with the water in our eyes, creating sulfuric acid—right in our faces.

When you slice an onion into perfectly thin rounds, you're cutting through the core of the onion, which eventually gets tossed aside. According to LiveScience, when you slice into an onion that way, you're sending a flood of awful gas directly into your eyes.

To Prevent Watery Eyes, Remove the Root Before Slicing

So, now that you know that the inner gas-filled bulb is the cause of all your tears, the trick is getting it out without puncturing it. Before peeling the onion, take a paring knife and cut a circle around both the onion's root end and its gaseous inner bulb.

When the cut is complete, pull the top of the onion out as one piece, keeping it intact so no gas is released. If the cut worked, you should see the entire length of its inner bulb, or center, attached as you pull the top off. Throw this away—don't put it in the garbage disposal.

Check out the video below from Jack Scalfini, the man behind the Cooking with Jack Show, to see this method in action.

Garden Wife also recommends this method. She admits that it can be tricky to pop the entire bulb out in one piece, but states that you can avoid tears if you pull out as much of the core as you can. If any whorls that are different in color and look different from the layers of the onion itself are left, simply cut those leftover pieces out and toss them in the trash.

There's Also a Special Tool Just for This (Seriously)

If you cut lots and lots of onions at home, you could buy a special tool online for under five bucks that does the same thing. It's a little overkill, if you ask me, but still an option if you don't like using a knife.

Image via DesignStein Studios

Others Ways to Cut Onions Tear-Free

Not a big fan of this method? There are many other ways to keep those tears from falling. Check out Yumi's illustrated guide to see some of them. My favorite? Stick a piece of bread in your mouth.

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