How to Chop an Onion Without Crying Like a 4-Year-Old
No more tears
So you found this recipe for slow-cooker carnitas tacos. Umm, yeah, that’ll do. You get all of your ingredients together and start by chopping the onion it calls for. At least you think it’s an onion--you can’t really see it through your waterfall of tears. Never again. Here are five ways to prevent onions from making it look like you just watched the end of Marley & Me.
Chill before you chop
Stick onions in the freezer for 15 minutes before doing anything. When an onion is cold, it releases less syn-Propanethial-S-oxide (the irritant that causes your eyes to water). Just be sure not to freeze too long lest you have a rock-solid veggie.
Right before you start slicing, put a piece of bread in your mouth and keep it there. Your eyes might still feel the burn, but they won’t water. Bread supposedly absorbs the onion’s sulfuric compounds before they can reach your eyes.
Season the blade
Rub fresh lemon juice on the blade of the knife before cutting into the onion. The citric acid from the lemon neutralizes the onion's enzymes. Heads up that you will have to keep reapplying the lemon every few chops.
Another reason onions irritate your eyes is because cutting into them damages their cells and causes the release of the aforementioned compounds. If you cut with a sharper knife, fewer cells are damaged and less irritating compounds are released.
If all else fails, really go for it and buy yourself a pair of professional-grade onion goggles. They cost less than $10 and work wonders as long as you aren’t worried about looking like a crazy person for a few minutes. (We swear by our pair.)