How To Cut An Onion

Say goodbye to onion tears! We’ll teach you to slice and dice like a chef!

2 min read

L'OCA

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Introduction

Whether it’s as founding member of the classic Mirepoix, a foundational flavour in the Cajun Holy Trinity, sautéed in a Latin-inspired Sofrito, married with mushrooms to form a Duxelles, or a building block for Indian curries, onions are the base of countless dishes!

So, let’s peel back the layers and get to the root of three common ways to cut your alliums.

“Banish the onion from the kitchen and the pleasure flies with it.
Its presence lends colour and enchantment to the most modest dish; its absence reduces the rarest delicacy to hopeless insipidity, and dinner to despair.”

– Elizabeth Robins Pennell

Preparation

Before we dive into the art of onion slicing, it’s important to use the proper tools: a sharp paring knife, a sharp chef’s knife, and a cutting board.

To trim off the root, as well as to remove the onion’s skin and any dried layers, we recommend using a short-bladed paring knife.

This type of knife allows for more precision and control while preparing an onion.

Once the onion has been peeled, we recommend a chef’s knife to cut the onion in half down the middle.

Lay the halved onion flat on a cutting board, and with your non-dominant hand, hold the onion securely.

Use a claw-like grip to protect your fingers before slicing or dicing.

Different Onion Cuts
Sliced, Fine Diced, and Small Diced Onions

Basic Cuts

SLICE

To create thin slivers, hold the onion securely with your non-dominant hand, and make lengthwise thin slices that run parallel to lines of the onion, and follow the curve of the onion.

Continue slicing until you get to the point of the onion where it is not stable, flip the onion so that the flat side is down, and continue to slice across the remaining onion.

SMALL DICE

For a small dice, place a trimmed, peeled, and halved onion onto a cutting board with the flat, cut end facing down.

Hold the onion securely with your non-dominant hand, and make horizontal cuts parallel to the cutting board into the onion, but do not cut all the way through to the root.

Turn the onion 90 degrees and make vertical slices that run perpendicular to the previous set of cuts. Again, do not cut all the way through to the root.

Using the claw grip, hold the onion together and make downward cuts that are small and uniform.

FINE DICE

For a fine dice or a Burnoise cut, place a trimmed, peeled, and halved onion onto a cutting board with the flat, cut end facing down.

Hold the onion securely with your non-dominant hand, and make lengthwise thin slices against the grain of the onion, pulling the knife towards your body.

Once you’ve created julienned strips, turn the slices 90 degrees and gently fan them out so that they lay flat.

Again, using the claw grip, chop the thin julienned strips finely to create an even dice.