You’ve no doubt seen plenty of tutorials before on how to cut an onion the “right way.” It’s the way the professional chefs do it, it’s the way they teach in culinary school. Well, as someone who went to culinary school and who worked in an Italian restaurant where there were some days when I literally did nothing but chop onions for an entire 8-hour shift, let me tell you, that is NOT the best way to cut an onion.

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Even better than the expert technique

On the first day of culinary school, we had an onion chopping competition, and I won using this method. My instructors couldn’t believe how perfectly my onion was diced without following the instructions.

Prepping the onion

First, cut your onion in half, cut the ends off, and peel it. The “right way” is to leave the root end on to hold it together while you chop it up, but I’ve always found that makes it harder, not easier.

If you have a good sharp knife, you won’t need to worry about the layers slipping out of place, and with my method you don’t make as many cuts so everything stays together more easily.

Using nature for a perfect slice

The classic technique is to make some horizontal cuts first, then slice it vertically, then dice it up.

Well, I don’t know who invented this method way back when in France, but apparently they didn’t notice this neat thing about onions — that they have layers! They are already essentially cut for you in one direction, so you can use that to your advantage.

So, in my method, the first step is to slice your onion along the curve. Rather than straight up and down, you want to make each cut perpendicular to the layers at that part of the onion.

I also slice my onion this way when making fajitas or stir-fries because it gets you much more evenly sized and shaped pieces than cutting the other direction.

A perfect finish!

Next you cut the other direction to get your perfect dice. With practice, you can even use this same method to mince your onion as small as you need it.

Now if only I could find a tip that actually works to keep my eyes from burning!