Kitchen Tip of the Week: Chopping Onions Without Tears

20 07 2009


Onions are notorious for causing eye irritation when we peel and cut them.  Some people are quite sensitive to this and some onion varieties are more pungent than others.  To avoid tears when chopping onions, try some of the following tricks:

  • Light a candle close to your cutting board just before you begin to peel and chop your onions.  The flame will burn off irritating fumes before they get to your eyes.
  • If you’re very sensitive to onions, try wearing goggles when you chop.  Yes, it looks a bit silly but it will keep your eyes from getting red and watery.
  • Peel onions under cold water.
  • Cut onions under a strong stove vent.  Just move your cutting board to the stovetop and turn the fan on full power et voila!  The onion fumes will be whisked away.
  • Use a small fan to blow fumes away.  Place a small portable fan near your cutting board and it will keep the onion’s compounds from reaching your eyes. 

Source: How to Break and Egg: 1,453 Kitchen Tips, Food Fixes, Emergency Substitutions, and Handy Techniques, by the Editors, Contributors, and Readers of Fine Cooking Magazine.

There is a new Kitchen Tip of the Week posted each week.  You can also check out the archives for more helpful tips and tricks.