How to Chop an Onion Without Crying – Kitchen Trick

So this has happened to every last one of us.  At least once I imagine!

After just one slice into one of “those” onions, and we beeline it out of the kitchen hoping to keep the tears at bay. But alas, it’s too late! That pesky onion juice has done it again and the waterworks are a-flowin’. With just one slice.

How in THE world am I supposed to finish chopping that onion if I can’t even slice through it?!

So this doesn’t happen with every single onion out there, but it can. And it will.

And when it does…

1. Rinse the pesky onion juice from your hands and step away from the onion.

2. Find a cutting board that fits into the bottom of your sink.

3. Quickly clean the sink (if you can see through the tears).

4. Move the pesky onion to the cutting board in the sink.

5. Turn on the cool water in as slow of a stream as you can.

6. Reach down into your sink and slice away.  It may seem awkward, but at least you can see what you are cutting. And you’ve stopped crying. (And your spouse can be rest assured that you are not in fact having a nervous breakdown. It was just the onion.)

7. Once all chopped, move the cutting board onto the counter and pat the chopped onion dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.

(Why this works…the stream of water keeps the onion juices and particles from flying into the air and your nose and eyes.)

Declare victory over the pesky onion, and be on your way to preparing the rest of your meal.


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  1. says

    And here’s a good tip to get the nasty onion smell off your hands: rub them on stainless steel. After I’m done handling an onion, I’ll wash my hands with soap & water and then rub my hands all over the kitchen faucet. Something about the stainless steel totally counteracts the onion smell. Try it! You might be amazed! :)

    • Robert says

      I gotta say the stainless is just a myth. It just doesn’t work people.

      Pour some lemon juice on your hands and rub them a bit and rinse. Onion smell gone.

      That’s all it takes. Seriously

  2. krupa says

    I love this tip and Sarah’s tip. I have also noticed that the waterworks don’t happen when I have my contacts on. So I have resorted to no meals containing onion unless I have contacts on.

  3. Karen Hiebert says

    I make my husband do it. 😛 I hate doing onions. but thanks for the tips. I will have to try that. he also “sweats” the onion for the flavor, so maybe that helps. :0

  4. treegoddess says

    I’ll put on sunglasses or safety glasses to avoid the streaming, stinging eyes. They really affect me quite a bit! lol

  5. Jan says

    i use all of the cold water tricks and using cold onion. Leaving the root end seems to help and having a votive candle burning next to me helps hugely.
    This draws the fumes away.

  6. Deborah says

    Tammy is right – they refrigerate the onions. One of the chef’s on the Food network – I think the lady from Simply Delicioso – gave that as a tip one day. The cold makes the active compounds dormant.

  7. says

    I will give this a try! I usually make my husband cut them but often he isn’t home when I need onion cut. I have resorted to buying a bunch of onions (usually about 10-12) and then using my food processor to cut them up. I then freeze all the onions so whenever I need them I just pull them from the freezer instead of cutting one each time I need an onion!

  8. Kristin says

    I cut the ends off, cut it in half, and stick it in the freezer for 5-10 mins… works every single time! Oh, and I also do a bunch at a time, so I can have them on hand from the freezer. {I am also one of those crazies that keeps a bag each of diced, sliced, and halved. 😉 if they freeze together, I just hit the bag on the counter or with a mallet.}

  9. Jan says

    The chemical compound in the onion that makes your eyes water is hydro-philic meaning it is drawn to water- like in your eyes! Wearing my glasses helps, refrigerating or freezing the onion helps, and just running the water in the sink next to where you are chopping the onion helps (not necessarily over the onion). Be careful the knife doesn’t slip in your wet hand.

  10. Sandy N. says

    My son did a science project on ways to cut an onion without tearing up. If I can remember, I think goggles worked.

  11. Sidney says

    If you don’t open your mouth at all when cutting your eyes won’t water. My eyes would tear up every time until my sister gave me this tip. It has worked so far.

    • says

      I think this must be the premise behind the tip I read recently – to hold a mouth full of water in your mouth while chopping. I tried it and it totally worked. I don’t know if I can keep my mouth shut for that long without the water in there to remind me. 😛

  12. says

    Hi Erin!

    Great tip! I could’ve used this last weekend when I was chopping an onion with a pair of sunglasses on (in a very dimly lit kitchen, I’ll have you know). Another tear-fighting trick I’ve heard is to put a piece of bread in your mouth: Haven’t tried this one yet though.

    Next time, I’ll be sure to try your trick!

    -Food on the Table

  13. T. Meeks says

    This can also be avoided by putting the onion in the freezer for a short time before cutting into it. It doesn’t have to be frozen. Try it.

  14. Alicia says

    The one thing that has worked for me lately is to breath through my mouth ONLY. It kinda burns my throat with the onion fumes, but I dont cry at all I just look kinda funny, haha. I had never heard of some of these other ideas, so Im glad to know I can just look cool with sunglasses instead of having a gaping mouth! 😀


  15. says

    I love all the tips that everyone is giving. I also refrigerate my onions. And when I peel off the skin, I give it a good rinse right before I chop it. It works great. Also, there is this really old trick, that works great. You’ll think it’s nuts but it totally works! My grandma does this and I thought she was crazy till I tried it. It really works! Stick the end of a match in your mouth and suck on it, not the part that you actually light, just the wood end. You smell the sulfur part of it, and for some reason it counteracts the smell of the onion and your eyes never water. Weird, but totally works. You have to try it just to see! good luck.

  16. Mary E.S. says

    I agree with those who say put it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes,then cut it up. If I forget to do that,I put my cutting board on the stove and turn the vent fan on high then cut it up. The fan pulls the fumes away so I don’t cry.

  17. Gail Becker says

    When I cut onions,I cut in half & put in strainer run under cold water then cut on plate. When I notice my eyes bothering me & put onion back in strainer & run more water on. I don’t have a cutting board that would fit in my sink. I like your tips!

  18. says

    Hehe… I wear my swim goggles when I have to chop more than one onion:) But I discovered once, while chopping a 5lb bag of onions, that if you somehow shield your eyes long enough the fumes will eventually start to irritate the other sensitive areas… like your nose and lungs.

  19. jan says

    if I chop onions to freeze, I always triple bag. That way, the ‘onion fumes’ don’t get stuck in the freezer (or the ice cream). (I rinse and re-use freezer ‘ziplocs’. If they’re on their 3rd or 4th ‘go-round,’ they’ve done their share)

  20. Cristina says

    I got a trick off of a TV show one day I think it was on The Chew, and it has always worked for me you just hold a piece of bread in your mouth while cutting the onion and the bread absorbs what normally makes your eyes water. If you taste the bread after it tastes just like onion, lol. This is great to keep from wasting bread ends.


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