Do you dread chopping onions for a recipe? This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to chop an onion in minutes!
One of my plans for the new year involves learning to cook. I mean REALLY learning to cook. It's time to get into the nitty-gritty of kitchen fundamentals - knife skills, sauces, braising, searing...the list is endless. My theory is that the more comfortable I become with basic techniques, the more adept I will become at whipping up basic and gourmet dishes, using flavor combinations that appeal to my family and me. Also, I'm a bit of geek and this kind of thing is right up my alley.
And so, I am introducing a new series on this blog, simply titled "How-To...". Each Saturday afternoon, I will post a new technique or important piece of cooking information so that you and I can become masters of our kitchens together...or something like that. I will start with the fundamentals, such as how to chop an onion, and will gradually progress to more advanced techniques. I figure you will keep me honest, adding your own ideas and tricks in the comment section.
How to chop an onion:
Whether you are dicing an onion to include in a mirepoix (mixture of onions, carrots, and celery) for a sauce or soup, or chopping it for use in a stir-fry, it is important that the onion pieces are a uniform size to ensure even cooking.
What does it mean when a recipe calls for a ½-inch dice and how is this achieved? Half-inch dice means that each piece is square and ½-inch long on each side. To achieve this, each cut, whether horizontal or vertical, must be ½-inch from the previous cut. The same reasoning follow for ¼-inch dice.
For your safety and ease of cutting, use a sharp chef's knife. A dull knife is more likely to slip and cause injury. A small knife will not allow you to make smooth cuts through the onion. Eight- and 10-inch chefs' knives are, by far, the most utilized cooking utensils in my kitchen.
The pictures below do not show me holding the onion because I was pressing the shutter of the camera, steadying a board to bounce light, and holding the knife. I only have so many hands, people! In each of these steps, be sure you are using your non-knife hand to hold the onion steady, curling your fingers under so that your knuckles are closest to the knife.
Using a sharp chef's knife, cut off the tip of the onion. Turn the onion so that the flat, cut section rests steadily on the cutting board and cut the onion in half through the root.
Using your hands, peel the brown skin off of each onion half.
Set the onion cut-side down on the board and cut 3 to 4 horizontal slices through the onion, starting at the bottom. Do not cut through the root.
Face the root of the onion away from you, place the tip of your knife at the root end, and cut vertical slices through the onion.
Turn the root of the onion to face right or left (depending on which hand you use to cut) and make vertical slices across the onion, working towards the root.
You should now have even pieces of onion, ready to use in your recipe.
Be sure to check out my other "how to" tutorials, such as How to Steam Cauliflower and How to Chop Parsley.
well..i'm certainly looking forward to Saturday's class!!!
Food And Scent
my grandma used to tell me - if you don't tear while chopping an onion, it means you are an unfilial child. LOL.
Lovely! I'm looking forward to seeing this new section of Cookin' Canuck! Love it.
Fantastic. I only recently managed to get a handle on how to chop/dice an onion properly. It revolutionized my cooking.
Might I suggest how to degerm garlic?
Lick My Spoon
I love how-to tutorials so I'll be watching this space. Perhaps you could post a video on kneading dough??!!
I'm so glad that everyone is finding this tutorial useful. Keep the suggestions coming. Rosemary, yours is duly noted.
What a great idea. Looking forward to learning more techniques along with you. Something as simple as leaving the root on the onion while cutting. Don't know why I never thought of it. I have always cut it off first. This will make cutting onions so much easier. thanks for the tip.
Even experienced cooks need refreshers like this . . very beneficial to all your readers. How about showing us best ways to sharpen knives?
aga i kaja
Super pomysł!!! z krojeniem cebuli to my mamy problem, tzn kroimy po swojemu, a nie tak jak powinno się robić 🙂
Ojjj lekcje techniki zawsze się przydadzą.
What a great idea that so many people can benefit from.
Great post, Dara. Valuable tips for young cooks! :0)
Quay Po Cooks
This is great! I can learn a lot from your new series. Looking forward to the videos!
I will never have to worry about this one! Allergic to onions but I am sure this is great for people that love them!
Joy - You're absolutely right. I get my knives sharpened professionally every 6 months and then hone them myself in between. It makes such a difference!
Monet - Thank you for your encouragement.
Jessica - I hear you on the "tears" front. I hope you'll comment again in the future.
Velva - Thank you. I'm looking forward to jumping into that arena.
Drick - Great idea! I'll put that one in the lineup.
Jeanine - I hope this tutorial helps the next time you are chopping onions.
I needed this. All that I can do in the kitchen, and I'm a total hack when it comes to chopping onions. Nice to know I'm not alone. 😉
great idea for a series and great instructions for the opener - now, I have mastered many skills over the years but one I am not good at, if you could teach me how to sharpen a knife properly I would greatly appreciate it... I have read about it, watched videos but just can't seem to get the knack of it...
I am looking forward to your posts! Cheers to you for taking on the video idea. I have never had the guts to do it but, many bloggers do, and they are great.
I've never posted here before, but I do love your blog! I especially love this post - chopping onions is the bane of my existence, taking me forever and resulting in many shed tears. I'll definitely use this tutorial the next time I need to chop one up, so thank you!
What a great new series...and one that I will certainly utilize! It is amazing how I can be adept at baking and so clueless about cooking! Your informative post also happened to be visually beautiful. Thank you for sharing your words and pictures with me. I hope you have a lovely weekend!
Joy (The Herbed Kitchen)
This is a great idea. I was shocked one day when I remarked to my SIL and her friend that a sharp knife is essential so you don't hack of your fingers and neither one knew that! I'm looking forward to this series, even the videos. That's one thing I'm a little nervous to try.