How To Cut Onions Without Crying?

Have you ever experienced the stinging sensation, watery eyes, and runny nose that come with chopping onions? It’s a common problem that many home cooks face. So how to cut onions without crying? Keep reading to gain some helpful tips and tricks.

How To Cut Onions Without Crying?

  • Wear goggles: Wearing goggles or other eye protection can create a barrier between the onion oil and your eyes, reducing irritation and tearing.
  • Chill the onion before cutting: Place the onion for just a few minutes in the refrigerator before cutting. Chilling the onion can reduce the amount of sulfur compounds released, which can help you cut onions without crying. 
  • Cut under running water: The water can help to dilute and carry away the irritants, preventing them from reaching your eyes. It also lessens the amount of gas that accumulates in the air around the onion.

Don’t get water on the cutting board because the board will become slippery, increasing the risk of injury. The water on the cutting board can also wash the pieces of onions you just cut down the drain.

  • Chew gum while cutting: Chewing mint gum can create a cooling sensation in your mouth and throat due to the presence of menthol (a compound found in mint). It can reduce the burning sensation of oil released when cutting the onion.
  • Chew a slide of bread while cutting: The olfactory nerves of the nose are close to the tear ducts in our eyes. Chewing bread will encourage you to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. Thus, the onion gas is less likely to reach your eyes, preventing tearing.
  • Use a sharp knife: A dull blade can damage many onion cells and release more irritant chemicals. A sharp knife, on the other hand, slices through the onion more cleanly and releases fewer irritants. 
  • Use a kitchen fan or ventilation system: A kitchen fan or ventilation system can disperse the onion oil while cutting. Thus, they can reduce the concentration of irritants in the air around you.

Cutting onions near an open window or door is also a good idea to increase ventilation and disperse the fumes.

  • Don’t cut the onion root: Onion root has the highest concentration of syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the main enzyme that makes you cry.

Thus, cut the onion in half, but leave the root end attached to each half. This technique allows you to use the root as a handle to hold and keeps the tear-inducing substance away from your eyes.

Why Do Onions Make You Cry?

When you cut an onion, the lachrymator (an irritant) is released. Lachrymator vaporizes in the air and comes into contact with the eyes, causing them to tear up as a natural response to protect the eye from potential harm.

The specific lachrymator in onions is syn-propanethial-S-oxide, which stimulates the eyes’ tear glands. Thus, you will feel burning and tearing up when cutting onions.

FAQ related to topic of Cutting Onions

Do Onion Glasses Work?

Yes. Onion glasses are specially designed glasses that are meant to protect the eyes while cutting onions. They are typically made with foam seals around the edges to prevent onion vapors from reaching the eyes.

Onion glasses are especially useful for dry eyes or eye-related issues.

How Do You Cut Onions For Beginners?

  • Step 1: Cut off the stem and root ends of the onion. Cut the onion vertically from the stem to the root end, then peel off the outer skin.
  • Step 2: Place one of the onion halves flat-side down on the cutting board. Cut off the top end of the onion.
  • Step 3: Make a series of vertical cuts from the onion top towards the cutting board, but don’t cut all the way through. Leave about a quarter of an inch intact at the bottom.
  • Step 4: Make horizontal cuts across the onion without cutting all the way through.
  • Step 5: Make downward cuts perpendicular to the previous cuts to get evenly diced onion pieces.

Why Do Chefs Break An Onion After Cooking?

Breaking an onion after cooking can release the flavors and aromas trapped inside the onion layers during cooking. 

When the onion is cooked, its layers become soft, and the flavors and aromas concentrate inside. Breaking the onion helps to release these flavors and distribute them evenly throughout the dish. 

Should You Wash Onions After Pulling Them?

If you have just pulled onions from your garden, you don’t need to wash them immediately.

It’s best to let the onions cure for a few days in a dry, airy place with good ventilation. Let your onions dry out, forming a protective layer over the outer skin.

Why Should Onions Not Be Eaten At Night?

Eating onions at night may cause indigestion or heartburn, interfering with sleep. Also, when you lie down, reflux can keep you up all night.

What Should You Not Store Onions In?

  • Don’t store onions in plastic bags or airtight containers, as they require proper air circulation to stay fresh. Storing onions in such conditions may cause them to become moldy or rot. 
  • It will be best to store onions in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area, such as a pantry or cellar. You can also keep them in mesh bags, paper bags,  bushel baskets, or a wire rack to allow air to circulate them.


How to cut onions without crying? You can wear goggles, chill the onions, or cut them under water. Chewing gum or a slide of bread also helps. Remember to use a sharp knife and avoid cutting the onion root to avoid stinging your eyes.