How to Cut an Onion Like a Pro

Plus how to peel, slice, and chop without tears.

Chopped or sliced onions are the first ingredient in endless essential recipes, from soups and sauces to pasta dishes, sautés, stir-fried veggies, and more. Even if you prefer to use a food processor to cut up your onions, it's still important to know how to do it properly by hand. Watch this video or read our instructions below to learn how to peel and cut an onion properly, quickly, and efficiently.

PRO TIP: The best way to reduce tears when you dice an onion is to minimize the amount of time you spend working with it.

2 Ways to Cut an Onion

What You'll Need

  • Onions
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
01 of 02

How to Slice an Onion

  1. Cut the top and bottom. Using a chef's knife, remove the top and bottom section of the onion and discard.
  2. Cut in half. Slice the onion in half vertically then peel off the outer layer.
  3. Cut in half-moons. Lay the onion on its flat side with the bottom section facing you. With your knife at an angle, slice thin half-moon shapes. When you near the end, always place the widest flat surface of the onion down on the cutting board.
02 of 02

How to Chop an Onion

  1. Cut the top, then slice in half. Using a sharp chef's knife, slice about a half an inch off the top of the onion and discard. Turn the onion to rest on this flat end and slice it in half vertically. If you're only using half of the onion, leave the skin on and wrap what you're not using in plastic wrap.
  2. Peel off the papery layers. Remove and discard the skin.
  3. Chop vertically. Take one onion half and lay it flat on your cutting board. Holding the root end, carefully cut vertically, making sure not to slice all the way through. Leave the root side intact to make chopping easier.
  4. Chop horizontally. Rotate the onion and slice vertically down through the onion, still leaving the root end intact. Discard the root end and repeat with the remaining half of the onion. The closer together the initial horizontal and vertical cuts are, the smaller the dice.
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