How to Cut Onions Without Shedding Tears

Onions are a delicious and delightful addition to many dishes. Many people love to enjoy onions but really don’t like cutting them.

It is well-known that onions make our eyes water when we cut them, and for some people, this is enough to make them quit eating onions altogether.

If you love onions but want to be able to cut them without crying, there are some simple tips and tricks that will make this process much easier for you. You do not have to suffer while you are prepping your favorite dish that contains onions.

If you are ready to learn about the ways that you can cut onions without shedding tears, read on!

Young man crying while cutting onion

Why Do Onions Make Our Eyes Water?

You might be wondering why onions make your eyes tear up in the first place. Onions make our eyes water because they contain sulfoxides that are released when they are cut open.

This makes your eyes water. Older onions will have a higher concentration of sulfoxides and some varieties contain more than others as well.

Not everyone is very sensitive to this component of onions, but for people who are, it can make the process of cutting an onion very unpleasant.

How to Cut Onions Without Shedding Tears

1. Chewing Gum

Some people have really good luck with chewing gum while they cut onions. Many people who use this tip prefer mint gum because the menthol coolness seems to help them counteract the effect of the onion they are cutting.

The idea behind this method of resolving the watery-eye symptoms is that you are breathing through your mouth rather than your nose as you chew.

This can also help with reducing your reaction to the smell of the onion as well.

Between the process of breathing in less of the sulfoxides and the distraction that the gum provides from the smell, you will probably have less trouble with watery eyes using gum to counteract the effects of the onion that you are working on.

2. Chill the Onion First

This is a very solid solution and one that works for almost everyone. You should put your onion into the fridge for at least 24 hours before you cut it up.

This helps keep the oils of the onion inside the flesh of the onion and it reduces the contact that you will have with the sulfoxides as you are cutting the onion up.

Chilling the onion first is a really great way to prevent watery eyes and difficulties with the strong smell of the onion as you cut it up.

Many people who use yellow or red onions in their recipes stand by this method as the best way to keep even these naturally oily onions from affecting their ability to see while they are cutting them up.

3. Cutting Under Cold Water

This is a bit awkward to accomplish, but for people who are very sensitive to onions, it can be the best way to make sure that the onion does not cause their eyes to water and burn while they cut it up.

Cutting under cold water requires that you have a solid plastic cutting board and a sink that will accommodate your cutting board with ease.

Make sure that you are not running the water in a strong setting or making it hard for the cutting process to occur.

You want just enough water to run over your work surface so that the onion’s oils are being washed down the drain. You do not want to be unable to see what you are doing.

If you are going to use this method, be sure to maintain strict cutting safety with your knife as water being in the cutting area can make everything slippery.

This is not the best choice to make for your onion cutting needs if you are not skilled with a kitchen knife. Use an onion holder if you want to make this process safer and easier.

4. Leave the Onion Stem

This method is very old but it can work really well for some people. The highest concentration of oils and sulfoxides is in the onion’s stem.

Leaving the stem alone will spare you from exposure to the worst of the onion offerings that cause watery eyes.

This does mean that you will not be able to use the whole onion when you are cooking, but for most people, it is well worth buying a second onion to make sure that there is enough chopped onion for the dish in question.

Being able to cut your onions without suffering is totally worth spending a little money for an additional onion for each recipe.

5. Running Your Arm Under Cold Water

This can help some people, although it is not overall as successful as other solutions. For some people, taking a break from the onion cutting to run their forearms under cold water seems to help with the cutting process.

This might be because you are stepping away from the onion cutting for a moment and getting away from its oils. It might also be because you are rinsing some of the onion oils off your hands and arms when you take a break and run some water over your arms.

For some people, this is the best method of dealing with onion-related discomfort.

Cutting Onions Does Not Have to be a Misery

Cutting onions has long been regarded as one of the less pleasant things that must be done in the kitchen.

For some people who are very sensitive to onions, it can be torturous to use onions in any dish. Thankfully, these great tips and tricks will help you to be able to cut onions with ease from now on.

Being able to deal with the challenge of cutting onions can make kitchen time much less difficult and you will be glad to be able to add onions to your favorite meals again without suffering while you prepare them.

Using these tips and tricks will make cutting up onions a simple and painless process.

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