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Best Advice on How to Cut an Onion Without Tears

Updated on March 27, 2015

Cutting an Onion Without Crying? It Is Possible!

Ever since I can remember I was dreading the moment my mom would start cooking something that required onions in it. As soon as she started cutting the onions and then put them in the pan I fled the kitchen. The reason of course being - onions really hurt my eyes. I don't mean that my eyes get teary, I mean it really hurts!

When I started to cook, which by the way is one of my favorite things to do, the problem with the onions got even worse. Now I was the one leaning over the onions and over the pan with onions steaming away in it. So this problem caused me to start searching for the best way to avoid tears and the pain that came with it. I read every article I could find giving advice, read the forums and ended up trying out the most crazy things. But with no success.

And then a month or so ago I finall found the perfect cure from the most unusual source. And it worked! So here I will take you through my journey of finding the simple but very effective way to stop tears when cutting onions.

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Why Exactly Do Onions Make You Cry? - A Little Bit of Science

crying onion
crying onion

This sciene stuff is too complicated for me, so here is a short explanation from Wikipedia: "As onions are sliced or eaten, cells are broken, allowing enzymes called alliinases to break down amino acid sulphoxides and generate sulphenic acids. A specific sulfenic acid, 1-propenesulfenic acid, formed when onions are cut, is rapidly rearranged by a second enzyme, called the lachrymatory factor synthase or LFS, giving syn-propanethial-S-oxide, a volatile gas known as the onion lachrymatory factor or LF. The LF gas diffuses through the air and eventually reaches the eye, where it activates sensory neurons, creating a stinging sensation. Tear glands produce tears to dilute and flush out the irritant. Chemicals that exhibit such an effect on the eyes are known as lachrymatory agents."

So basically it is the chemicals in the onion that turn into gas and lift up and reach your eyes and causes irritation.


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Searching for The Best Solution

They Rarely Look Good. Or Succed.

First of course I stumbled upon advice to wear goggles when cutting onions. Luckily I do not own any goggles, so I did not make a total fool of myself, but I did try glases. Sunglasses that is. It helped a bit, but after a while the onion gas got to me and soon after starting to chop away, I couldn't see anything. It was the tears in my eyes and dark glasses :-) No luck there, so I started to search again.

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Other Solutions That Didn't Work

For Me...

Following the goggles, were the advice on chilling the onions before cutting them. The next one was to cut the onions in the water. After that it was using a very sharp knife ...

Nothing worked!

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And Finally

The Ultimate Solution

About a month ago, I was working on my computer and with an corner of my eye watching what my kids were watching on tv. It was a cartoon called "Cooking? Childs Play!" (original: "La cuisine est un jeu d'enfants") where the characters - the cook and two kids, cook and explain the recipe to the children watching. My kids can not cook yet, because they are too little, but they love helping me cook. Therefore they love this cartoon too.

And suddenly the cook says to the children: If you rinse the inner side of your wrist with cold water befere cutting an onion, your eyes won't get irritated. I stared into the scren with my mouth open. There was an advice that I have never heard of. But it came from a cartoon.

Next time I cut the onion I remembered this advice and rinsed the inner side of my wrist with cold water. IT WORKED! I was so surprised. Such a simple advice and I have never heard or red about it anywhere. And it really worked. Really. Worked :-)

A few days ago I was chopping the oinions again and forgot to rinse my wrists. My eyes started hurting as I remembered what I have forgot to do. And with hurting eyes that had just started to tear up, I ran to the sink and rinsed my wrists (again with cool water). And it worked again! My eyes started to feel better and the tears stopped almost in an instant. Seemed like a miracle :-)

So remember:



Cooking? Childs Play! - La Cuisine est un Jeu d'enfants

Do You Tear Up When Cutting Onions? - Have You Already Heard of This Solution?

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    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      @Khali64: You aren't the only ones - it's very painful for me too!

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      I had never heard of this solution, but will definitely try it next time I cut onions!

    • Mami Design profile image

      Mami Design 5 years ago

      Or simply looking at the pouring water least for me :).

    • profile image

      antoniow 5 years ago

      Great lens, nice info! Squidlike

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I'll try this tip next time. Thanks!

    • Khali64 profile image

      Khali64 5 years ago

      @John Dyhouse: Thank you for your kind visit to my lens and for taking the time to leave me a comment. I am not really sure why this water thing is supposed to work, but it does work for me. I am really curious if this works for someone else too, so please let me know when you try.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      I love onions and one of my tasks is to make jars of pickled onions for the family ( was given the job after MIL became too old). I usually peel the onions under water which works fine but doing loads of peeling maks it a definite backaching task.

      I really can't understand why wetting the inside of the wrists works (as a scientist) but am tempted to try it just for fun.

      I will feature this aadvice on my lens on making pickled onions.

    • Khali64 profile image

      Khali64 5 years ago

      @artbyrodriguez: You are the first person to tell me that they feel real pain from cutting onion. I was beginning to think, that I was the only one! Thank you very much for visiting my lens and for sharing your advice.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      I never heard of it, but I will try it. I'm like you, and have real pain, not just tears from onions. By the way, I have found that if I'm wearing my contact pain.

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      Mine tear up sometimes, but not always. I have never heard of this, nor tried it, but I definitely will try it the next time I cut onions.

    • virtualboy profile image

      virtualboy 5 years ago

      No I really hadn't until now

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Even though this sounds silly it works, put a slice of bread in your mouth when you cut an onion. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thanks for this :)

    • Khali64 profile image

      Khali64 5 years ago

      @pufek77 lm: This is another one that I have never heard of. I will sure try this next time. Thanks!

    • pufek77 lm profile image

      pufek77 lm 5 years ago

      I keep water in my mouth, and if you believe or not it helps to not cry!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Spartak LM: You cry because the onion contain a hydroxide sulfit.In combination with water(tears) result sulfuric acid.

      Great info!

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 5 years ago

      Strange, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I laugh every time I do lol Nice lens! =)

    • ronaldpakasi profile image

      ronaldpakasi 5 years ago

      Nice lens! :)

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • Khali64 profile image

      Khali64 5 years ago

      @Spartak LM: No, you are not the only one :-) I am still wondering about this, but can not find any explanation. It sounds so weird, but as you said - as long as it works :-)

    • Spartak LM profile image

      Spartak LM 5 years ago

      Hm... Am I the only one who can't find any logical explanation for this? I mean, what does rinsing your wrists has to do with crying?

      Ok, nevertheless - as long as it works :)

    • Ribolov LM profile image

      Ribolov LM 5 years ago

      Nice lens, great instuctions. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image

      SuperPunca 5 years ago

      Zelo uporabno :)