How to Chop an Onion – An Idiot’s Guide


I know it sounds a little silly. We all know how to cut an onion right? Peel and chop. Pretty simple. But what if you need to have reasonably consistent pieces? Or you need to work quickly without losing a digit in the process?

I used to watch the old Mexican street vendors preparing salsas. Those women could make short work of an onion and produce perfectly minced pieces without even using a cutting board. I’ve tried to copy their method (which involved cross scoring the onion) in my kitchen, but I was never able to duplicate it with any degree of skill, so I came up with my own way. While it doesn’t have the elegance of those skillful street vendors, it does a passable job in fairly short order.


  • Cut the top and bottom of the onion and peel.


  • Half the onion. If there is a core (sometimes found on larger onions) cut a little V-notch in each half to remove.


  • Turn the onion on the side and make fan shaped cuts to the onion’s centre at the desired width of the finished piece size.


  • Cross cut the half against the grain, again at the desired width for the finished results. Use your fingers to keep the onion together as much as possible (not shown in the photo)


  • Continue the cross cuts until complete.


  • Break the pieces apart with your fingers to produce the finished product.


The example pictured above is chopped coarsely, but much finer pieces are easily achievable using this method. It takes a little practice to perfect, but it’s worth the effort.



2 thoughts on “How to Chop an Onion – An Idiot’s Guide

  1. Hey Aaron. This is exactly how I cut my onions…..with one exception….I leave the root end on. I make the fan cuts up to the root end then cross cut to make the small pieces. The final cut, cuts off the root end eliminating the need to try and keep the onion together while trying to cut it..

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