Which side of the onion makes you cry the most

Which Side of the Onion Makes You Cry the Most: An Analytical Exploration

If you've ever wielded a knife in the kitchen, chances are you've shed a tear or two while cutting onions. It's a common culinary woe that has puzzled home cooks and chefs alike for generations. But have you ever wondered which side of the onion is the culprit behind those watery eyes? In this article, we'll dive into the science behind onion-induced tears and explore why one side of the onion makes you cry the most. So, grab your tissues and let's unravel the onion mystery together!

The Anatomy of an Onion

Before we venture into the teary territory, let's understand the anatomy of an onion. An onion is composed of several layers, with the outermost layer known as the "skin" or "epidermis." Beneath the skin lies the "flesh" or "meat" of the onion, which is the part we typically consume in our culinary creations. Deep within the onion, close to its root, lies the "root plate," where the onion's roots were once attached.

The Root of the Problem

Now, here's the onion's dirty little secret - the root plate is the primary culprit behind your tears. The root plate contains a higher concentration of enzymes and sulfur compounds compared to other parts of the onion. When you cut into an onion, these compounds are released, leading to the formation of volatile gases.

Volatile Gases and Your Tear Ducts

As you chop into the onion, the volatile gases released from the root plate float upwards into the air. When these gases come into contact with your eyes, they react with the moisture on the surface of your eyeballs, producing a weak sulfuric acid. The acid irritates your eyes and triggers your tear glands to produce tears as a defense mechanism. These tears are your body's way of diluting and washing away the irritating gases.

Which Side Makes You Cry the Most?

Now that we understand the science behind onion tears, let's address the burning question - which side of the onion makes you cry the most? The answer lies in the onion's anatomy. As we mentioned earlier, the root plate is the primary source of those tear-inducing sulfur compounds. Since the root plate is usually located at the bottom of the onion, it means that the bottom half of the onion is the real tear-jerker.

A Word of Caution

While the bottom half of the onion is the major contributor to onion-induced tears, it's essential to remember that the entire onion contains these irritating compounds. So, even if you avoid cutting the root plate directly, the act of cutting the onion will still release volatile gases, leading to tears. However, understanding the root plate's role can help you take precautionary measures while cutting onions.

Minimizing Tears: Tips and Tricks

While you can't entirely avoid the tears when cutting onions, you can employ some tricks to minimize their impact. Here are a few tips to help you keep the waterworks at bay:

  1. Chill the Onion: Pop the onion in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before cutting. The cold temperature can slow down the release of irritating gases.

  2. Cut Underwater: Try chopping the onion under running water or immerse it in a bowl of water. The water can trap the volatile gases, preventing them from reaching your eyes.

  3. Sharp Knife, Swift Cuts: Use a sharp knife to make clean, quick cuts. A sharp blade will cause less damage to the onion cells, releasing fewer irritants.

  4. Ventilation: Work near a well-ventilated area or under a kitchen hood. This can help disperse the onion fumes and reduce their concentration in the air.

  5. The Laughing Onion: The only effective way to prevent onion gas from reaching your face and causing you to cry buring onion tears. Learn more about how we work together to improve your onion cutting experience. Visit https://www.thelaughingonion.com/ now before you shed another unnecessary onion tear.


While the debate about which side of the onion makes you cry the most has been settled - it's the bottom half with the root plate - cutting onions will inevitably bring tears to your eyes. The volatile gases released during the cutting process are the real culprits behind onion-induced tears. Understanding the onion's anatomy and employing tricks to minimize tears can make the chopping experience a little more bearable. So, the next time you embark on an onion-cutting adventure, remember to arm yourself with the knowledge of the root plate and embrace the inevitable tears with grace.

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