How to Cut Onions Without Tears: A Tear-Free Guide

how to cut onions without tears

Onions are a fundamental ingredient in many savory dishes, adding depth and flavor to our favorite recipes. However, they can be a real tear-jerker for some, causing watery eyes and discomfort during preparation. But fear not! In this guide, we will explore various techniques and methods to cut onions without shedding a single tear. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, these tips will help you master the art of tear-free onion cutting.

How to Cut Onions Without Tears

Cutting onions without tears requires a combination of proper technique and understanding the science behind the tear-inducing process. By following these steps, you can enjoy chopping onions without any discomfort:

1. Use a Sharp Knife

A sharp knife ensures clean cuts through the onion, causing less damage to its cells. When cells are damaged, they release more enzymes, leading to increased tearing. Invest in a high-quality chef’s knife to make the process smoother.

2. Cut Underwater

Submerging the onion in water or cutting it under running water can help trap the irritant chemicals before they reach your eyes. Be cautious not to soak the onion, as it might compromise the taste.

3. Slice Off the Ends

Cut off the top and bottom ends of the onion and peel off the outer skin. These parts contain a higher concentration of irritants, and removing them will minimize tears.

4. Cut with Proper Ventilation

Ensure the kitchen area is well-ventilated while cutting onions. Good air circulation helps disperse the irritant compounds away from your eyes.

5. Wear Onion Goggles

Invest in a pair of onion goggles, specifically designed to protect your eyes from the tear-causing agents. They may look quirky, but they work wonders!

6. Embrace the Proper Cutting Technique

Mastering the right cutting technique can make a world of difference. Slice the onion vertically and then make horizontal cuts without reaching the root. Finally, chop perpendicularly to get evenly diced onions.

7. Use a Food Processor

If you’re particularly sensitive to onions, consider using a food processor to chop them. The enclosed environment of the processor helps contain the irritants.

8. Freeze the Onion

Another way to reduce tear-inducing enzymes is by freezing the onion for a few minutes before chopping. However, this method might slightly alter the texture.

9. Avoid Chewing Gum

Chewing gum while cutting onions might cause you to inhale more of the irritants, leading to increased tearing. So, keep the gum aside for later.

10. Light a Candle

Some believe that lighting a candle near the cutting board can help burn off the irritant chemicals, reducing their impact.


Mastering the art of cutting onions without tears is a valuable skill for any cook. By following the techniques and tips outlined in this guide, you can say goodbye to watery eyes and embrace tear-free onion cutting. Remember to chill, use a sharp knife, and cut under water to minimize tears. Embrace the process and enjoy cooking without any discomfort. So, go ahead, chop those onions, and savor the delicious dishes they add flavor to!


Q: Can I refrigerate cut onions to reduce tears later?

Refrigerating cut onions might slow down the release of irritant compounds, but it’s best to use them within a day or two for optimal flavor.

Q: Are red onions more likely to cause tears than white onions?

Yes, red onions tend to have higher sulfur content, making them more likely to induce tears than white onions.

Q: Why do onions make us cry?

Onions release a volatile gas when cut, which reacts with the moisture in our eyes, producing sulfuric acid. This acid causes the familiar burning sensation and tears.

Q: Can wearing contact lenses prevent onion tears?

Yes, wearing contact lenses can act as a barrier between your eyes and the onion vapors, reducing tears. However, this method might not work for everyone.

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