13 Tricks to Cut Onions without Tearing Up

· September 26, 2015

Many people know how uncomfortable that feeling of burning is that happens to your eyes when you are cutting an onion in the kitchen. Most people end up tearing up more while peeling and cutting onions, so that when someone comes in and sees them like this they may think that the person is going through a bad emotional time. This is a truly bothersome experience, and even though it is not an emotional issue, it does make you tear up a lot and can cause you to feel somewhat exasperated.

Why Does Cutting Onions Make Us Cry?

When you cut onions, they releases a substance called alliinase, which is what causes the emission of an irritating molecule called syn-propanethial-s-oxide or propanethial, which is a cause of eye irritation and tears. This molecule is a sulphurated essential oil, which is caught easily in the nose and irritates the nasal mucus. When you breath in propanethial, its irritating action causes that annoying tearing and burning in the eyes, that is often so bothersome, sometimes to the point that it makes you leave the kitchen to recover.

Since most people tend to cry when they have to deal with onions, today we want to share with you the best tricks so that you can learn how to cut onions without tearing upThese tricks are based on avoiding or reducing the emission of the volatile substance, as well as minimizing its effects.

The Best Tricks to Cut Onions without Crying


  • The first trick we recommend is to rub the cutting board with a piece of lemon before dicing the onion. Then you can cut it easily and will prevent discomfort in your eyes. This trick can also help you prevent the strong smells of onion from penetrating into the board.
  • If you are thinking about cutting an onion while you are cooking, try to put the knife in the freezer for 15 minutes before you cut. You should use it when it is pretty cold.
  • Make sure you have a good knife to cut your onions. It should have a smooth and sharp blade.
  • An excellent trick that has results is to cut the onion with your smoke extractor hood turned on.
  • Another good option is to dice an onion with good air flow because you will be able to disperse the acids that are released when you cut the onion. These are what cause you to cry.
  • A good option is to put the onion in the freezer for at least an hour before you cut it. The onion being cold will be very useful for preventing the annoying tears and burning.
  • While you cut the onion, put the knife in cold water or vinegar for a few times. It is a very simple trick but it will only reduce tears by a little.
  • Be sure to use a good knife to cut the onions. A serrated knife will make more enzymes that cause burning and crying to be released and will make you take longer to do this.
  • Water can help get rid of the gas that the onion releases when you cut it, which is what causes burning and crying. It’s best to fill a container with water and put it close to where you are cutting the onions.
  • Put boiling water where you are going to cut the onions so that the steam disperses the gases from the onion as you cut it.
  • Although it may seem funny, you can use sunglasses or goggles while you cut onions. This trick will prevent the bothersome feeling of burning and crying and you can cut your onions without any problem. In fact, there are glasses designed for cutting onions in stores for around 20 euros.
  • Another trick that can work is to first cut the onion into big pieces and then let it soak in boiling water for a few minutes before cutting it into thin pieces.
  • If none of these tricks work, you can consider substituting normal onions with green onionsalthough they won’t give your meals the same flavor.