How do you dice an onion?

I’ve recently discovered that this is a topic of strong opinions among some people.

If you have to dice an onion for something: How do you go about doing it? Why do other people do it wrong?

I’ll start:

  1. Cut the ends off and peal the skin off.
  2. Cut it in half, longways (end to end).
  3. Put a half, flat side down, on the cutting board and slice at 90 degrees into desired lengths, leaving the pieces all assembled into the half onion shape.
  4. Cut radially in towards the center as required to break it into the small pieces required.
  1. Cut in half, longways.

  1. Cut a slit into the end.

  1. Peel the skin back (the slit helps a little). Though not off—keep it attached so there’s something to hold onto while you make the rest of the cuts.

  1. Cut off the end.

  1. Cut radially (longitudinally) towards the center.

  1. Cut along the “latitude” lines.

  1. Discard the small piece holding the onion together.

  1. Dice a bit more, if required.

I’m also in the “radial first” camp. My partner just dices each half in a grid straight down. :roll_eyes:

@mjs I like the optimization of using leaving the root part attached to keep the radial slices organized!

That’s basically how I was taught by a chef. The advantage of cutting it in half is that now the veg is flat on the cutting board, so you can basically chop with one hand now. But this technique means you can grab by the root and never have to let go, which speeds up the process.

Me, I cut in half, cut top off, then use the exposed edges (left, right, rarely the top) to peel the dry outer skin off. But still basically the same. Do what works best for you.

As a finishing move, when you get down to the root, rotate 90 degrees so your latest vertical cut is now lying down on the board. Recut your radial lines as needed, then resume cutting to finish dicing. When you are left with a strip on either side of the root, you can rotate and dice those bits all the way up to the root.

With a sharp knife, you should be able to make your cuts once, and never have to go back and re-cut anything. I.e. do it right the first time.

I know what the “correct and proper chef method” is…as you have depicted above, at least according to my kids’ homeschooling cooking classes.

However, since I cook for a tribe (upwards of 7 most days) and onions are ubiquitous in our home, I’ve recently shifted from letting the kids dice them by hand to using our handy mandoline, which (when used properly, and safely) allows us to bypass the whole “crying” part of onion prep (said kids usually wear swim goggles to combat the crying).

We find this mandoline method gets the most uniform pieces the quickest way possible (again, when using this device safely - the author of this comment notes that this tool must be handled by an adult who pays attention in order to NOT slice one’s fingers in any way, shape, or form. Thanks for coming to my TedTalk.)

I’m sorry, how many people has that bit of razorblades and hate drawn blood from now?

My fingertips are almost healed up too.


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I’m… gonna go with Syonyk on this one. I do sketchy things with power tools and large sheet-metal machines all day and I’m looking at that like “uh… is there an OSHA inspector around somewhere I can ask for a hug? How’d this get in here anyway?”