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How to Chop an Onion

August 6, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Chicago 0 Comments

How to Chop an Onion

Does the thought of chopping an onion bring tears to your ears? Bad pun aside; chopping an onion is a necessary kitchen skill to learn. Most recipes that call for onions want them to be chopped. So what are you going to do if you don’t have good chops with your chopping tools? Don’t worry. We’ve put together this guide to help you.

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the equipment you’ll need.

Required Tools
You don’t need to outfit your kitchen like a Chicago culinary school, but you will need these helpful tools:

  • Large (at least 12”) wood or plastic cutting board
    Glass, countertops, or other smooth surfaces are to slick for safe cutting. The onion could easily slip and create the potential for injury
  • 8” or larger chef’s knife
    One of the biggest mistakes made in cutting is using a knife that is too small. Put away paring and filet knives and go with a bigger blade. Another mistake is using a dull blade. Most cutting accidents because of dull blades. Do yourself a favor and sharpen, both for safety and ease of use

How to Chop an Onion in Seven Easy Steps

  • Place your onion on the cutting surface and cut off the top, leaving the root end intact
  • Lay the onion down where you just removed the top and cut it in half down through the root end
  • Peel the outer skin from the two halves
  • Working with one half at a time, lay the onion flat on the freshly cut side with the root pointed away from you
  • Point the knife tip toward the root and make slices down through the onion to within a ½ inch or so from the root. The slices should be about ¼ inch apart
  • Turn the onion 90 degrees. Left or right depends on whether you are left- or right-handed
  • Cut perpendicular ¼ inch slices through the slices you already made

That’s it. You have now chopped an onion just like a prep cook in a professional kitchen, without the Le Cordon Bleu training.

But what if the recipe calls for diced onions? Easy. After Step 5 simply make a cut parallel to the cutting board through the middle of the onion. When you make the next cut in Step 7, the onions will be diced. And what about minced? Not a problem. Just replace your ¼ inch cuts in Steps 5 and 7 with 1/8 inch cuts. Now you’ve minced an onion.

The same techniques can be used to make easy, uniform cuts in every other fruit or vegetable. Uniform cuts are necessary for both appearance and flavor. Uniformly cut food cooks evenly and produces a more cohesive texture and flavor to your dishes.

So the next time you get nervous about chopping vegetables, just consult this guide and we’ll help take the sting out it.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Chicago, Illinois. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Chicago for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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