How to Dice an Onion – Dicing an onion is one of the best ways for brainstorming and starting an exciting dinner. Chopped onions are among the most beautiful and essential ingredients of various meals, including soups, stews, broths, salads, stir-fries, and sauces. With professionally and accurately diced onions, you are well on your way to a spectacular and delicious test.
It’s a common presumption that onions can be a hassle when it comes to cutting and preparing, and they often make you cry. But with the proper techniques and methods, cutting onions can be safe, easy, and tear-free.
Dicing onions accurately and in the best way does not require a lot of preparation. You should ensure that you have the sharpest knife in the kitchen and a reliable cutting board. The most significant factor to keep in mind while cutting onions is stabilizing the vegetable through the cutting process and holding the onion with adequate protection for your fingers.
Check out the steps on How to dice an onion.
How to Dice an Onion?
Step 1- Finding the right knife
A sharp knife is a key to dicing onions flawlessly and without any trouble. Dull and blunt knives crush the cell walls of the onion and release vapor, whereas a sharp knife slices through the onion cells smoothly. It would help if you chose the sharpest knife in your kitchen to dice your onions for the best results.
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Step 2- Trimming the ends of the onion
The root is an essential part of the onion. If you cut a more significant part of the root, the slices will fall apart as you go through the dicing process. It would help if you aimed to barely trim the vegetable’s root end so that the opaque circle is visible. The best way would be to firmly hold the onion and make a shallow cut of about 1/8-inch off the root end, cutting the stringy roots and leaving the core in place.
To cut the onion’s stem end, you should cut 1/2– inch from the vegetable’s top. While trimming the ends, you should ensure that you stabilize the onion with one hand while cutting the lots of with the other.
Step 3-Slicing the onion in half
Next, you should place the onion with the shallow root cut side on the top, ensuring its stabilization. With the onion secured on the chopping board, you should position your knife right above the vegetable and cut straight down to slice the onion in a clean half, using the non-knife hand to hold the onion.
After that, place the onions halves cut side down on the board to minimalize exposure and avoid tear-causing and eye-hurting fumes from affecting you.
Step 4- Peeling off the outer layer and preparing the onion
After obtaining two clean halves of the onion, the next step is to peel off the layers enclosing the vegetable. The first layer underneath the skin is pale and can often be challenging and dry. Hence you should start with the outermost layer as well to reveal the tender flesh underneath.
When you peel off the skin, you should ensure that the papery layer is completely removed. You do not need to pull it all the way if it is still attached to the onion’s root end.
Step 5- Cutting the onion along the Z-axis
After the onion’s skin is neatly peeled off, you should lay the onion flat on the chopping board. It would be best if you started by making horizontal slices while securing the onion with the tips of your fingers and keeping it steady.
It would be best if you sliced nearly all the way while keeping the root end to keep the layers intact. A helpful tip while cutting through the onions is to keep the vegetable close to the cutting board’s edge, allowing our knife clearance to aid in smooth and flawless cutting.
Step 6- Cutting the onion along the Y-Axis
After slicing the onion smoothly through the Z-axis, it would be best if you started to dice the onion through the Y-axis. While making series of vertical cuts with the same spacing matching the horizontal cuts, you should ensure that the root end is intact and secure.
While dicing the onion, it would help if you curled back the fingertips of your non-knife hand, keeping the thumb behind to protect your fingers and to ensure stability for the vegetable. You can choose to hold the knife blade against your knuckles for smooth results and efficient strokes.
You can interchange the order of steps 5 and 6 to suit your style and convenience and for the best results.
Step 7- Cutting the onion along the X-axis
After cutting the onion’s vertical slices, this is the final step towards obtaining even smooth dice of onion. Finally, it would help if you made vertical cuts perpendicular to the previous step’s cuts. With this step, you will get finely chopped diced onions which make the perfect addition to any meal.
In the final step, you should guide your strokes by keeping the knife blade directly against your knuckles for obtaining smooth strokes and minimizing any damage to your hands. As you cut through towards the onion’s root end, it would be best to rotate the onion ninety degrees forward to maximize stability.
Step 8- Transferring the diced onions
This step is an essential step after obtaining the perfect diced onions for your meal. It would be best to avoid using the knife blade to pick up the onions, as it could dull the blade’s edge. Instead, you can use a beneficial bench scraper custom-designed for the task at hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1 How to avoid tears while chopping or dicing onions?
One of the most annoying perks of dicing onions is the tears it brings to our eyes. The best way to deal with tears while chopping onions is to keep exposure of the vegetable’s cut sides to a minimum. When you dice an onion, it releases fumes that often irritate the eyes, stimulating tears.
Hence, when you slice the onion into halves, you should be sure of keeping the vegetable cut side down on the chopping board. When you begin to dice an onion, you should keep it together to avoid exposing the cuts. Finally, it would be best if you worked fast for the last steps to dice an onion and transfer the chopped onions to a bowl immediately.
Q2 How to peel a small onion easily?
Peeling a small onion can be thought of as a hassle, but it is relatively easy to work with when you follow these simple steps-
- First, you can bring a pot full of water to a boil. You can continue to trim the ends of the onion as the water boils.
- Next, you can insert the onions into the pot of boiling water for about a minute. This procedure helps in loosening the skin of the onion. Next, you should drain the onions in a colander.
- It would be best to transfer the drained onions and submerge them in an ice-water bath to cool them. This step aids in cooling the onions to make them easy to handle.
- After the onions have cooled down to a convenient temperature, you can pinch the sides of the vegetable to find that the center has popped out, leaving the skin in your hands.
Q3 Should I cut the onions all the way while slicing them in halves?
It would be best if you made lengthwise cuts to the onion, from the root to the stem end, with the knife almost cutting to the root end but not through the root.
Q4 How to slice onion thinly?
If you want to slice your onions thinly, it would be best if you cut along longitudinal lines, from top to bottom. To prepare the onions for slicing, you should trim off the stem and root ends first. After that, you should cut the onion through both the poles and further slice each half radially, with the knife angled towards the middle.
Q5 What determines the size of the dice of an onion?
When you cut the onion along the x, y, and z-axis, the space between the horizontal and vertical cuts influences your diced onions’ final size. You should ensure that your cuts are approximately three-quarters of an inch to one inch apart for large dice. Whereas for fine dice, the cuts are usually an inch apart.
For obtaining a brunoise, you should cut your onion very finely, aided by a sharp knife and steady hands. The cuts should be eighth-inch or even sixteenth-inch apart for the best brunoise.
Q6 How can I make the most of my onions?
When you are working and cutting a large number of onions, you should prioritize efficiency. For obtaining the best results, you should work through each step with all the onions before proceeding to the next one. This procedure saves time and allows for an even and accurate dice of your onion.
If you plan on serving raw onions, a helpful tip would be to extract their spice as much as possible and rinse them under hot water. Hot water aids in washing away the chemicals that stimulate tears in our eyes while being uncompromising on the vegetable’s texture.
The best way to make the most of the onions’ delicious qualities is to be well versed with dicing and chopping techniques. This vital ingredient might leave you with finger cuts, watery eyes, and a lousy dinner if you are not familiar with the proper methods to dice an onion.
The steps mentioned above will help users to get a brief idea on how to dice an onion.
Onions make the perfect delicious addition to any meal (soups, stews, and weekend dinners). With an intense flavor and a delightful smell, onions are among the most commonly used vegetables in various dishes. For a step-by-step tutorial, you can also watch this video to learn how to dice an onion.