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How to chop an onion

Watching a chef on TV demonstrate how to properly chop an onion sparked a thought,  ‘How many other people, besides myself, don’t know how to properly chop an onion or any other vegetable for that matter?’  I watched my daughter chop vegetables and remembered how awkward her technique was and how dangerous it seemed.  Then I realized, every year hundreds of thousands of teens go off to college or to their first apartment and are potentially putting their digits at risk by not knowing some fundamental cooking skills.  My attempt to teaching my daughter was limited to my skill set as well as her interest, or lack thereof, in the matter of cooking.  Well, as I am learning these techniques, I will share them with you too.  I will post the techniques as well as catalogue them on the Fusion Craftiness Cooking School page where you can reference and hopefully my daughter will read.

For more food prep fundamentals, check out this page for regular updates.


Knowing how to safely chop an onion will save you on bandaids and time. The onion has a root end which we will keep intact during this process. We will not cut entirely through the root end except on the first cut in order to halve the onion. This keeps the onion intact, mostly, while chopping.

Step 1: Cut the onion in half, straight through the root end. This gives us a flat edge of vegetable to work with to help keep it stable while we finish our cuts (pic 2).

Step 2: Place palm securely on top of onion horizontally, keeping fingers clear of cutting area. Using a chefs knife, starting at the bottom, make horizontal cuts approximately 1/4 inch in width, stopping short of root end. Keep repeating these cuts until you reach the top of the onion (pic 3).

Step 3: While stabilizing the onion with your non-cutting hand, change the position of the blade to a vertical position and make vertical cuts approximately 1/4 inch wide, perpendicular to your horizontal cuts (pic4).

How to chop an onion.

Step 4: While stabilizing the onion again with your non-cutting hand, curl your fingers so that your knuckles protrude past your finger tips in order to protect them from the sharp blade. Now make transverse cuts (perpendicular) to your last cuts, small dices should start to appear. Ride the side of the knife against your knuckles, protecting your fingers, this takes some practice. Be careful not to cut yourself (pic 5).

How to chop an onion.