10 simple ways to cut onions without crying

10 simple ways to cut onions without crying

It’s a bit of a shame that such a popular vegetable in the kitchen is difficult to cut without shedding a tear, don’t you agree? Unfortunately, the onion has developed this defense mechanism and we now have to adapt. We decided to collect all the information on what to do to prevent onions from stinging your eyes. Try it!

Why do onions make my eyes water?

Let’s start with a little theory. As onions grow, they absorb sulfur from the soil, which helps form amino acids called sulfoxides. When you cut an onion, you damage the skin and the sulfoxides turn into a highly irritating chemical called volatile sulfur gas. Onions release it into the air, and then it gets into the eyes and reacts with the natural moisture in the eyes – this is how sulfuric acid is formed. That’s why onions sting your eyes, it’s all about the chemistry.

10 simple ways to cut onions without crying

Refrigerate or freeze

Although it is best to store onions in a dry place and not in the refrigerator. Just before slicing, you can chill it for half an hour in the refrigerator or 15 minutes in the freezer. The thing is that chemical reactions slow down at lower temperatures. This is why a quick cut of cold onions can go without tears at all.


This is an alternative to freezing. Cold water will slow down the production of chemicals. However, be sure to dry the onions thoroughly to ensure safe cutting. And you need to work very quickly.

Note: yellow onions make your eyes water the most, white and red onions a little less.

Use technology

To protect your eyes from the gases that onions produce, you can entrust the process to a food processor or small choppers, like a chopper.

Sharpen a knife

It is very important to chop the onion not only quickly, but also with the sharpest possible knife. Imagine that you are slicing soft fruit. The sharper the knife, the less juice will end up on the cutting board. The story is the same with onions – cutting with a dull knife will cause more damage and release more gas.

Slice lengthwise

If you cut an onion in half and then start slicing from the root to the top, the process will release slightly fewer chemicals. Alternatively, you can leave the top intact, which not only makes dicing easier, but also reduces the chance of tears.

Work near open fire

This method is used by Martha Stewart. Chopping onions close to the fire helps burn off the chemicals before they reach your eyes. However, remember about safety precautions!

Wet the towel

This method has become a hit on the Internet in 2021. Before you start chopping the onions, wet a paper towel with cold water and place it nearby on the cutting board. In theory, a damp towel can help absorb chemicals.

Use glasses

If tears cause eye irritation, it is logical to protect them while working. And, despite the fact that there are already special goggles for cutting onions on sale, you can use any others that fit tightly to your face, for example, swimming goggles. The downside is that gases can still pass through the nasal mucosa. But you can definitely try.

Add air

The gas released by onions can not only be burned, but also blown away. Work near a hood or place a small fan on your desk. This will help reduce the concentration of gases near you.

Note: try to buy onions as fresh as possible. As it ages, its enzymes begin to break down, which speeds up the release of moisture as soon as you cut it.

Breathe through your mouth

This method not only reduces the amount of substances that enter the nose, but also works as a distraction maneuver. You can simply practice breathing or chew gum (by the way, mint can theoretically neutralize the burning sensation). Alternatively, hold a small slice of bread or a match between your teeth.

Try each of these methods and find the one that works perfectly for you. Well, ideal recipes are always waiting for you on our website. Check it out!

Releated receipts: