Why Do Chefs Smash an Onion?

Onions are a major component in many delightful dishes. You will love their flavor and you will find that most dishes are just not the same without onions included in their ingredients.

The biggest issue with preparing dishes that include onion is that onion is not always an easy item to work with.

Between tears caused by the onion being cut open and having to chop and prepare the onion, you might be wishing that onions came with an easy button for the preparation of your favorite dishes!

If you have ever wondered why chefs smash an onion, you should read on to learn more about this cooking and preparation step for your next dish that includes onion.

If you are ready to learn more about why chefs smash an onion, read on!

Farm fresh onions on a rustic wooden table with spring onions

How Do You Smash an Onion?

The process is simple. Slice the onion in half and then use your fist to crack it open. You can loosen the peel this way and take it right off readily.

This method is used for garlic as well, so you should already know how to use these motions if you have ever smashed garlic.

Make sure that you are removing the heart of the onion if you want to use them intact for your cooking. You will smash this delicate part of the onion’s heart when you prepare it by smashing it.

This smashing step will loosen up the whole onion and make it a lot easier to cut and work with for your cooking needs.

Why do Chefs Smash an Onion?

Anyone who has struggled to prepare an onion for use in cooking will tell you that the process of preparing and peeling up an onion can be arduous. Stripping off the skin and peeling the onion can be time-intensive and frustrating, especially if you are in a hurry.

This is one of the steps of the process that takes the most time and many people who cook consistently want to skip this step.

1. Saves Time and Tears

Smashing an onion saves a lot of time on the peeling process and also helps you to avoid exposure to the onion’s effects that cause tears and discomfort.

This is one of the biggest reasons to use this technique, and experienced cooks will always avoid prolonged exposure to onion to prevent watery eyes and discomfort.

Being able to be away from the onion’s powerful tearing effects can make your entire cooking process much more pleasant.

2. Keeps the Onion From Getting Bitter

This is a little-known fact, but knives are believed by many cooks to cause the onion to taste slightly bitter. This might be due to the knives causing a chemical reaction with the juice of the onion.

This means that a smashed onion will be sweeter and less likely to have that two-day-old onion taste that many people want to avoid.

Many people will only use specific kinds of knives for onions to prevent this issue, but you can avoid it altogether by smashing the onion when you are preparing your recipe. This is much easier than trying to save a specific knife for this task.

Being able to peel your onion without having to use a specific tool to take care of this process can save you space in your knife block and help make it much easier to cook with onions whenever you want.

3. Keeps the Middle Intact

This is a common practice for experienced chefs because the smallest bulb in the center of the onion is the most aromatic. This flavorful part of the onion can be used for many kinds of recipes if it is intact.

In Turkish cooking, this is a common component of many traditional dishes and you cannot access the center of the onion without this method.

If you need the center of the onion for any reason, smashing the onion is the best way to gain access to this part of the onion. When you are cutting the outside with a knife, you will probably damage the heart of the onion and not be able to use it for your recipe.

This method allows you to save the heart of the onion for all kinds of other uses and it will not be damaged by the cutting or peeling process.

4. Tradition

There is a long-standing tradition for handling onions this way in some cultures and many chefs who have been raised in this culture will use this method rather than the slicing and chopping style of cutting that an American chef might use.

This is a powerful driver for many chefs, but this tradition is likely because of how effective this method is.

Traditional cooking methods can make many recipes far more delicious and if a step like this is called for when you are cooking a traditional recipe, you should always do it.

Cooks and chefs know why they have called for a certain step in their recipes and you should follow those steps to the letter to get the best results when you are following a recipe.

Smashing an Onion Can Save Time and Hassle

No matter what kind of recipe you want to make with onion, you should always smash it to remove the peel.

This will make the process of preparing and using the onion much more pleasant and your onion will have better flavor as well as being easier to chop up and cook.

Smashing onions can greatly improve your overall cooking experience with them and you will love how much easier it is to get to the heart of the onion for meal preparations.

This time-saving benefit is used by chefs because it is such a big time-saver and also because it improves the overall flavor of the onion greatly.

Use the tricks of the professionals the next time that you need to cook with onion and smash it before you peel it!

Leave a Comment