Kitchen Tip: How to Chop an Onion

I learned how to chop an onion many years ago at the only cooking class I’ve ever taken – a Knife Skills class I attended with my best friend, Marissa, in Chicago when I was right out of college. It was one of the most valuable learning experiences for a new home cook and I highly recommend it if you have a class in your community.

Now to the quick tip. To get started, take a sharp knife (it’s always important to use very sharp knives) and trim off the tip of the onion – the end opposite of the root. Stand the onion on this new flat end you’ve created and cut the onion in half – right down the root. Peel back the outer skins (and save them for stock!).

Lay one of the halves on your cutting board and press down on the top of the onion with the heel of your hand (I sometimes hold the onion down with my fingertips, too). With your other hand, use the knife to slice horizontally into the onion several times in evenly spaced cuts. Next slice down through the onion with evenly spaced slices. Finally, chop the onion right down to the root (and toss that root in your soup stock freezer bag, too.). Here’s a step by step visual of the chopping steps. My hand steadying the onion is missing in step 2 and 3 to hold the camera! But you definitely want a firm grip on the onion while cutting.

How to Chop an Onion

And one final note about onions. If you’re buying organic onions, I’ve read that you should store them in the refrigerator to keep them from sprouting too quickly.

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7 thoughts on “Kitchen Tip: How to Chop an Onion

  1. Do you do the vinegar on the cutting board thing? I never used to cry with onions but since having my second baby it’s like an SPCA commercial everytime. Lol. Rubbing down your board with vinegar keeps the tears at bay and doesn’t change the flavor.

    Do you get your knives professionally sharpened or do you have one of those at home sharpeners?

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    • what type of vinegar do you use? Laura cries all the time, I’m surprised there weren’t tears on the camera lens for effect! that’s a great tip! I sharpen the knives in our house with a wustoff sharpener. the whetstones are fixed at the proper angle so you just pull the knife through straight and it does its thing!

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      • Oooooh. I’m so bad a knife sharpening. My sister does it when she visits or I take it to the guy at our farmers market.
        I just use white or apple cider. Whatever cheap I have on hand. I really splash the board too since I use a plastic board for aromatics and meat. A wooden board absorbs better but I don’t use one for onions. And despite me soaking the board I never have tasted a difference in the food. Also, it was SO bad when I was preg I couldn’t even do that and lazily “chopped” them in my food processor so yeah, clearly professional.
        I love Laura’s blog. Lame fan girl. I show my husband because I’ve been trying to get him to let me take the leap for like a year now…

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      • Great to know about the vinegar. I’ll give it a try (and I also cheat sometimes and use my mini food processor to chop onions, too. Sometimes I just don’t want to wipe mascara from my face).

        So glad you’re enjoying the blog. Maybe your husband will start to come around!

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