How to “Chop” an Onion

Appears in

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

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Use this method for chopping and dicing an onion; once you’ve mastered the technique, you should be able to fly through the task before the tears begin to fall. First cut the onion in half through the root end and remove the papery skin. Place an onion half flat side down on the cutting board. Steady the onion with the curled-under fingertips of one hand. Hold the knife blade (an 8- to 10-inch chef’s knife with a sharp blade is good for this) horizontal to the board. Beginning at the stem end, cut three or four parallel horizontal slices, the number depending on whether you want to dice or chop it and how large or small the pieces are to be. Cut up to the root end but not through it—the root end will hold the pieces of onion together. Now, cut parallel vertical slices across the onion at right angles to the horizontal cuts, beginning at the stem end and going up to the root end. Then cut parallel vertical slices across the onion at right angles to the first vertical cuts. Repeat with the other half of the onion. Now you can cut off the root end. For smaller pieces, continue chopping. This method of dicing will also work with other vegetables.