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How To Reduce Tears While Chopping Onions: Proven Methods

How To Reduce Tears While Chopping Onions: Proven Methods

Chopping onions can be a daunting task, especially for those who are prone to shedding tears. As someone who loves to cook, I have perfected the art of chopping onions without shedding a single tear.

Over the years, I have tried various methods to reduce tears while chopping onions and have found some proven techniques that work like a charm. In this article, I will share with you some of the most effective methods that I swear by when it comes to reducing tears while chopping onions.

Whether you are an experienced chef or just starting out in the kitchen, these tips will help you chop onions like a pro without having to suffer through watery eyes and burning sensations. So let’s dive in and discover how you can make onion-chopping a tear-free experience!

Chill or Freeze the Onion

If you’re tired of eyes watering and nose running every time you chop an onion, try chilling or freezing it beforehand. This technique helps reduce the release of enzymes that make your eyes water.

To be more specific, when onions are cut, they release a gas called propanethial S-oxide, which irritates the eyes and causes tears. By chilling or freezing the onion before chopping it up, this gas production is reduced, making for a much less tearful experience.

Another trick to try is pre-soaking the onion in cold water for 10-15 minutes before cutting into it. This method helps wash away some of the sulfur compounds that cause eye irritation when released from the onion’s cells during chopping.

Alternatively, microwaving an onion for 30 seconds prior to cutting can also help deactivate these irritating compounds. With these methods at hand, you’ll be able to cook up your favorite dishes without shedding any tears!

Cut the Onion under Running Water

Cutting onions is always a hassle, but have you ever tried chopping them under running water to make the process easier and less tearful? This technique involves cutting the onion while it’s submerged in a bowl of water or holding it under running water.

The idea behind this method is that the water will wash away the irritants that cause tears, leaving you with clear eyes and an onion ready for cooking.

To use this method, first cut off both ends of the onion and then peel off the outer layer. Next, rinse the onion well under running tap water to remove any dirt or debris.

Then, fill a large bowl with cold water or hold the onion under running tap water. As you chop the onion into small pieces, keep it submerged in the bowl of water or hold it under running tap water to prevent tearing.

This chopping technique can be quite effective in reducing tears while working with onions.

Use a Sharp Knife

I’ve noticed that when I use a dull knife to chop onions, it causes more gas release which makes my eyes water. Using a sharp knife reduces the amount of cell damage and rupturing, therefore releasing less gas.

Additionally, a sharp knife allows for more precise cuts and reduces the chance of slipping and cutting oneself.

How a Dull Knife Causes More Gas Release

Using a dull knife to chop onions can be a recipe for disaster. Not only will it take longer to cut through the layers, but it can also lead to more gas release, causing more discomfort and tears in the process.

The reason behind this lies in the chemical composition of onions. Onions contain sulfur compounds that are released when they are chopped or sliced. These compounds react with enzymes present in onion cells, creating a volatile gas known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. This gas is what irritates our eyes and causes us to tear up.

When we use a dull knife, we end up crushing more onion cells than cutting them cleanly, leading to greater release of gas and hence more tears. To avoid this, always make sure your kitchen knives are sharp before using them to chop onions or any other vegetables for that matter.

In conclusion, using a dull knife while chopping onions is not only inefficient but can also cause you unnecessary discomfort and tears due to increased gas release from crushed onion cells. By ensuring your kitchen knives are sharpened regularly, you can save yourself from this nuisance while cooking and make meal prep a little less tearful!

Benefits of a Sharp Knife

You’ll notice a world of difference in your cooking experience with a sharp knife, effortlessly gliding through vegetables and meat like butter. Not only does it save time and energy, but it also ensures precision cuts that result in evenly cooked food.

This is why knife maintenance should be an essential part of any home cook’s routine. Sharpening techniques vary depending on the type of knife and the sharpening tool you have at hand.

One common method is using a honing steel to realign the blade’s edge after every use. However, this doesn’t actually sharpen the blade; it simply corrects any minor deformities caused by repeated usage.

For proper sharpening, you’ll need a whetstone or an electric sharpener. It may take some practice to master these techniques, but once you do, your cooking will never be the same again.

Light Candles or Burners

Lighting candles or burners can be like creating a shield against the onion’s tear-inducing fumes. When you light a candle or burner, the heat from the flame helps to draw away some of the volatile compounds released by the onion. This means that there will be fewer fumes in the air for you to inhale and subsequently cry over.

However, it’s important to note that lighting candles or burners alone may not completely eliminate tears while chopping onions. To further reduce tears, you could also try combining this method with other techniques such as using a sharp knife, cutting onions under running water, meditating before chopping onions, or even rubbing lemon juice on your cutting board.

By using these methods together, you can create a more effective defense against onion-induced tears and make your cooking experience much more enjoyable.

Wear Protective Eyewear

Now it’s time to gear up and protect your eyes with some stylish goggles before diving into the onion chopping. There are various types of eyewear available in the market that can shield your eyes from the harmful onion vapors. These include wraparound safety glasses, snorkeling masks, and even swimming goggles.

The benefits of using eyewear while chopping onions cannot be overstated. Not only do they prevent tears, but they also safeguard against potential eye injuries from flying onion debris. The protective layer created by the eyewear acts as a barrier between your eyes and onion fumes, reducing the chances of irritation and tearing.

In addition to this, wearing protective eyewear can give you peace of mind knowing that you’re taking necessary precautions while cooking in the kitchen.


In conclusion, reducing tears while chopping onions isn’t an impossible task. It only requires a little bit of preparation and some simple techniques.

From chilling or freezing the onion to cutting it under running water, there are several proven methods to reduce the eye irritation caused by onions.

One thing I can say for sure is that wearing protective eyewear is a game-changer! It not only protects your eyes from the onion vapors but also gives you a sense of confidence as you chop away with ease.

Overall, trying out these different methods and finding what works best for you will make any future onion chopping experiences much more enjoyable (yes, enjoyable!). So go ahead and give them a try – your eyes will thank you!