Two onions on a cutting board ready to be cut without crying

How to Cut an Onion Without Crying: 15 Proven Methods Ranked for Tear-Free Chopping

Chopping onions is a fundamental kitchen task, but the tears it often brings can be a real downer. The culprit behind this phenomenon is the release of irritating sulfuric compounds, which irritate our eyes and make us cry. Fortunately, there are numerous strategies and hacks to help you cut onions without shedding a tear. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore 15 proven methods, ranking them from the most effective to the least. Let's dive in and reclaim tear-free onion chopping!

1. The Laughing Onion (Most Effective)

The Laughing Onion is our top recommendation, and for a good reason. This innovative product, designed to stop onions from making us cry, is a game-changer for tear-free chopping. Its bonus feature is to preserve your produce when it's not in use. It prevents those pesky sulfuric compounds from reaching your eyes and making you cry whether you are cutting, slicing or chopping onions. It is still in development as of this writing but people are signing up on the website to be notified of the launch. The first loyal customers will be rewarded.

2. Chill the Onion

One of the simplest and most effective methods to reduce tearing is to chill the onion. Place the onion in the fridge for about 30 minutes before chopping. The cold temperature slows down the release of irritating compounds, keeping your eyes dryer than if you didn't do so. The problem we found with this method to prevent crying when you cut onions is that it makes the onion harder and more difficult to cut. It also changes the way the onion is cooked since it is chilled vs room temperature. We did a deep dive into the specifics about this method in a recent post here:

3. Sharp Knife

A sharp knife is your best ally when it comes to chopping onions. A dull knife crushes onion cell walls, releasing more tear inducing irritants. A sharp knife, on the other hand, minimizes onion cell damage and reduces tear-inducing compounds. Keep your knife well-honed for tear-free chopping. Even with the sharpest of knives, any cut is still trauma to the onion cell walls. This will still induce the chemical cascade that ultimately ends in you crying onion tears.

4. Cut Under Running Water

This unconventional yet highly effective method involves chopping,cuttin or slicing the onion under a gentle stream of running water. The water helps wash away the sulfuric compounds as they're released, keeping your eyes tear-free. Make sure to exercise caution while working with a knife near water. This onion tear avoiding method is not very practical as a wet onion on a wet chopping board is a slippery disaster. You may not cry from the onion gasses but rather from a cut finger!

5. Ventilation

Another straightforward approach is to ensure proper ventilation in your kitchen. Turn on a range hood or a nearby fan to help dissipate onion fumes away from your face. Good airflow can significantly reduce the irritation caused by chopping onions. This onion cutting hack is difficult to implement in the kitchen setting because while you are cutting onions you often have your pan ready on the stove and you dont want to be chopping, cutting or slicing onions too close to an open flame or hot surface. 

6. Light a Candle (Myth Debunked)

One commonly suggested no-cry remedy is to light a candle nearby when chopping onions. The idea is that the flame burns off the sulfuric compounds before they reach your eyes. However, it's important to note that research has debunked this method, and it may not be as effective as others. This hack does not work to stop onions from making us cry because the surface of the flame is so small compared to the surface of the cut onions emmiting the gas and it is impossible to have the flame directly above the cutting board. 

7. Onion Goggles (Last Resort)

Consider wearing onion goggles or even swimming goggles. These eye protectors can shield your eyes from irritants, but they're often considered a last resort due to their inconvenience and the fact that they do not work 100%. Some find them more comfortable than others, so give them a try if you're desperate to avoid onion tears. Onion goggles will not work to prevent crying in the following people: People who already wear eye glasses; people with long eye lashes; people wearing heavy make-up. Another reason why onion goggles do not work in preventing onions from making us cry is due to simple human anatomy. The nasolacrimal duct connects your tear ducts in the eyes to your nose so those onion fumes make their way up to your eyes essentailly through this "back door". This leads to an even more annoying situation - crying while your onion goggles fill up. 

8. Cut with a Wet Knife

Dipping your knife in water before slicing onions can limit the release of irritants. The water helps to trap the sulfuric compounds, preventing them from reaching your eyes. While this method can be effective for the first onion slice, it's essential to exercise caution when working with a wet knife. Your onion cutting becomes a tedius exercise as you need to constantly dip your knife into water after each cut of the onion.

9. Use a Bread Slice

An age-old trick to prevent onion tears is to place a piece of bread in your mouth while chopping your onions. The theory is that the bread absorbs the irritants, sparing your eyes. This method is unconventional, leads to wasted soggy bread in your mouth and a whole lot of onion tears.

10. Freeze the Onion

Some cooks suggest briefly freezing the onion before chopping. The idea is that the cold temperature slows down the release of irritants. However, this method can alter the onion's texture and is not suitable for all recipes. Consider the pros and cons before using it. Just like chilling the onion in the fridge, but with more tear inducing setbacks. 

11. Microwave the Onion

Another unorthodox approach is to microwave the onion for a short time before chopping. The microwave can break down some of the irritants, making them less potent. This experiment did not work in preventing onion tears and altered the texture by almost precooking the onions. It also made the cuts through the onion less prescise and clean which just crushed the onion cells more. This led to us standing there crying in front of the cutting board with a poorly cut onion.

12. Lemon Juice Rinse

Rinsing the onion with lemon juice before chopping is a technique some find effective. Lemon juice contains acid, which can help neutralize sulfuric compounds. Give it a try and see if it works for you, it didnt work for us. It just meant another essential ingredient wasted, slippery cutting board and ultimately tears. 

13. Salt Soak(Onion Tear Myth)

Soaking the onion in a saltwater solution might reduce irritants. Create a mixture of water and salt and soak the onion before chopping. Some claim this method helps reduce tears, so it's worth testing.

14. Use a Mechanical Slicer

If you have a food processor or a mandoline slicer, consider using them for chopping onions. These mechanical slicers can significantly reduce your exposure to onion fumes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe and efficient use. Using a food processor made the onion release so much onion juice that the texture of the diced onion was irregular and unappealing and once we opened the lid a we were greeted with a plume of onion gas. 

15. Mask Up - not again!

Wearing a mask or a bandana while chopping onions can help prevent irritants from reaching your nose but not your eyes. This method has gained popularity recently, especially when masks became more common during the pandemic. It just doesn't work and nobody wants to wear a mask in their own home!


With these 15 onion-cutting methods at your disposal, you have a diverse array of options to choose from. From The Laughing Onion, which tops our list as the most effective solution, to various unconventional approaches like wearing onion goggles or placing a slice of bread in your mouth, you can now experiment and find the method that works best for you. Say goodbye to onion tears and chop onions like a pro, no matter how unconventional your chosen method may be. Happy, tear-free chopping!

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