How to chop onions

How to chop onions

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that onions are the hardest working vegetable out there. Whether they’re in the base of a soup, pickled, battered and fried, there’s really very little that the onion can’t do. Here, we’re breaking down the various ways to work with them.

How to prep onions

Before you do anything, you need to know how to prep onions, and most importantly how to chop, slice and dice them, depending on what you’re using them for.

To chop an onion:

  • Slice the onion lengthwise, from root to tip, ensuring you keep the root intact. Peel off the brown papery skin, trim away any of the dried stem and place the onion halves on the chopping board, cut side down.
  • You’re going to start by making horizontal slices, about two to three depending on how big the onion is, up along the onion. Place your free hand on top of the onion, pressing down somewhat firmly, keeping your fingers up and away from your blade. Hold your blade parallel to the board, then slice towards the root, making sure you don’t cut all the way through to the root.
  • Next, you’re going to make vertical slices along the onion from root to stem. Do this by carefully holding the sides together, and cutting straight lines down to the board. Again, ensuring you don’t slice through the root, or pieces of onion off the sides.
  • The last thing to do is finely slice crosswise, from the stem end to the root. Hold the root and cut towards it, which will result in fine dices of onion.

To slice an onion

  • Start the same way you did with chopping, with two peeled halves, cut side down on the board. Holding the root firmly, finely slice crosswise towards the root so that you end up half circles. This is the best cut for something like pickled onions for burgers and garnishes, but if you’re looking to make onion rings then it’s best to keep the onion whole and follow the same process.  Carefully hold onto the root and slice rounds.

How to prevent tears when chopping onions

If you’re au fait with the prep involved in onions, but hate the tears associated with them, you’re not alone. There are many tricks (mostly old wives’ tales) that claim to prevent tears, but ultimately they’re caused by the fumes released when the onion is cut. You could block your nose, or wear goggles, but the best advice is to work quickly, yet carefully, with a sharp knife.

What do with onions

Now that you’re comfortable prepping them, you can move onto the fun part – eating them. One thing to know about onions is that they have a strong flavour when eaten raw that can linger on your breath all day. To reduce this, you can do what is called ‘treating’ them, whereby you pour boiling over them to blanch them and remove that raw bite. Another tip is to give them a quick pickle by rubbing slices with a generous pinch of salt and lemon or lime juice and leaving to sit for a few minutes.

Ready to cook? Here are our favourite onion recipes.

Home-Made Pickled Onion Jaffles
Home-made pickled onion jaffles recipe
Get the recipe for homemade pickled onion jaffles here.

Balsamic onions

Get the recipe for balsamic onions here.

Onion rings
chilli Romesco rump with onion rings
Get the recipe for onion rings here.



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