Which onion makes me cry the most

Which Onion Makes You Cry the Most?

Have you ever wondered which onion makes you cry the most? Why do these seemingly innocent vegetables have the power to reduce even the toughest of us to tears?

We rank the most common onion varieties into which onion makes you cry the most and delve into the fascinating world of onions, their tear-inducing secrets, and why some types are more potent than others.

The Culprit: Sulphur Compounds

To understand why onions make us cry, we need to uncover their tear-jerking science. Onions contain a unique group of compounds called sulphur compounds, which play a vital role in their pungent aroma and flavor. The most famous of these compounds is the amino acid alliin. When an onion is cut, crushed, or sliced, it releases an enzyme called alliinase, which acts on alliin to form allicin. Allicin is responsible for the characteristic smell of onions and is known for its powerful antimicrobial properties.

The Teary-Eyed Reaction

Here's where the magic – or rather, the misery – begins. When allicin is formed, it doesn't stay put. It reacts with the air to create a volatile gas called propanethial S-oxide. This gas is the real culprit behind our tearful episodes. When it comes in contact with the moisture in our eyes, it forms a mild sulfuric acid, which irritates the sensitive nerves on the surface of our eyes. As a result, our eyes produce tears as a defense mechanism to wash away the irritant and protect the delicate tissues.

The Showdown: Different Onion Varieties

Now, let's move on to the exciting part – which onion makes us cry the most? There are several popular onion varieties, each with its distinct characteristics and tear-inducing potential. Let's pit them against each other in an epic tear-jerking showdown ranked from most likely to make you cry to least likely:

1. The Common Yellow Onion (Allium cepa)

The everyday yellow onion is a staple in kitchens worldwide. It has a strong flavor and a generous amount of sulphur compounds, making it a formidable top contender in the crying game. When you slice open a yellow onion, brace yourself for the tears because the yellow onion makes you cry the most!

Yellow onion makes you cry the most

2. The Red Onion (Allium cepa)

The vibrant and visually appealing red onion is a favorite in salads and raw dishes. Despite its milder taste compared to the yellow onion, it still packs a tearful punch. Some people find red onions to be slightly less potent, but don't underestimate their ability to make you cry!

red onion which onion makes you cry the most

3. The White Onion (Allium cepa)

The white onion is often considered to be the least pungent among the common onion varieties. While it may not have the same tear-jerking power as its yellow and red counterparts, it can still trigger a few sniffles if you're sensitive to sulphur compounds.

white onion which onion makes you cry the most

4. The Sweet Onion (Allium cepa)

The sweet onion, such as the Vidalia from Georgia or the Walla Walla from Washington, boasts a higher sugar content and lower sulphur content compared to other onions. As a result, it tends to be gentler on the tear ducts, making it a preferred choice for those who want to minimize their crying during meal prep.

Sweet onion which onion make you cry the most

Personal Tolerance: Why Some Cry More Than Others

Now, the onion showdown isn't solely determined by the variety; personal tolerance also plays a significant role. Each one of us has a different level of sensitivity to the sulphur compounds in onions. Some individuals have more reactive eyes, while others have built up a tolerance over time through repeated exposure to onions in their cooking.

Interestingly, scientific research suggests that cutting onions under running water or chilling them in the refrigerator before slicing may reduce the volatility of the sulphur compounds. This could potentially lessen the tears induced during food preparation.

The Scientific Cure: Is there a Remedy?

While the tear-inducing process seems inevitable when dealing with onions, there are a few tricks or hacks you can try to minimize the waterworks:

1. Sharpen Your Knife: A sharp knife causes less damage to the onion cells, reducing the amount of sulphur compounds released.

2. Chill and Rinse: As mentioned earlier, chilling the onion in the fridge or cutting it under running water might help reduce the release of volatile compounds.

3. Use Ventilation: Turn on the range hood or use a fan to help disperse the gas away from your eyes.

4. Goggles to the Rescue: Some chefs wear swimming goggles while chopping onions – it might look funny and it does not save you from tears. Do onion goggles really work? - No, they don't!

5. The Laughing Onion - The only completely effective way to prevent the gasses from reaching your eyes. Go to https://www.thelaughingonion.com/ and see how it works.

In Conclusion

In the battle of the onions, the winner of "which onion makes you cry the most" is undoubtedly the common yellow onion. Its strong flavor and high sulphur content make it a force to be reckoned with, leaving many a cook wiping tears from their eyes.

Next time you step into the kitchen to chop onions for your favorite dish, remember the fascinating science behind the tears. And don't be ashamed to shed a few tears – after all, it's all part of the culinary adventure!

Now that you know which onion makes you cry the most, check out our blog post on what to do if your eyes are burning for hours after cutting onions

We also bought and tested the most common styles of onion goggles in this blog post here.

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