I Don’t Want To Cry


Because I do not like raw onions, I avoided cooking with them for years. I have since learned to love cooked onions when I realized what a difference they make in so many dishes.

But I still do not like to cut onions. I can’t stand the pain and tears. So many times I’ve tried to chop through an onion as quickly as humanly possible to avoid the stinging eyes and almost cut off a finger in the process.

I know there are lots of tricks out there for avoiding this. Honestly, I have never tried any of them. I guess I like to think I’m tough like that and will learn to just get over it someday.

Now I am throwing in the towel though. I’ve had enough. If you have any tips that have worked for you to keep the tears away while chopping onions, please let me know. I’d love to try them out.

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32 thoughts on “I Don’t Want To Cry

  1. I have tried lots of things…including one x-mas eve putting on swim goggles as I pealed the pearl onions for christmas dinner (didn’t work, and my mom still makes fun of me for it)

    I used to believe in holding a wooden match between my teeth.

    Now I have a stainless steal ‘soap’ bar that I rub between my hands under water when my eyes start to burn…I think it works.

    But the real trick is a REALLY sharp knife. Biologically/chemically, the sharper your knife the less smooshing of onion cells you do and the less potent onion vapors.

    I also thin kyou just build a tolerance to it, I chop onions every day and it’s only when I have to do the x-mas pearl onions that I really have a problem.

    Good luck.

  2. Putting them in the fridge to chill before slicing helps slow the process, but I’ve yet to find a way that completely rids me of burning, watery eyes. The only onions I can cut that don’t bother me at all are Vidalias! So when those come out at the grocery I load up and take my time and enjoy slicing onions for a change. Usually I’m running to the other room with tears running down my face and a pain that feels like acid in my eyes. Ridiculous!

  3. Rinsing them in cold water after they are peeled and putting the cut side down on the chopping board as much as possible, keep the tears under control for me. I find red onions make me less tearful πŸ˜‰

  4. I can’t stand it either! I have tried everything too. But good luck- I hope you can find something!!

    (I tried the Cuisinart- but that was a bit much.)

    Also- I LOVE cooking with onions. I cut them all up at the same time and freeze them to use later.

  5. I use my Pampered Chef food chopper. I don’t think it cuts down on the vapors, necessarily, but it certainly makes the process go more quickly, so I can usually make it out unscathed.

  6. When I was a young girl, I remember helping my aunt in the kitchen and she asked me to chop up an onion that was about the size of a softball! LOL! In two seconds, I could hardly see through my stinging tears. She had me stand near the sink with my onion and knife while she turned on the cold tap water. She said, “Now just be careful…but while you’re working on the onion, just glance over at that stream of cold water and it’ll stop you from tearing.” I could not believe “my eyes” (no pun intended) but it really did work! I have my daughters do the same thing now. πŸ™‚
    I also think it helps if you’re working with an onion that’s been refrigerated.

  7. agreeing with others…chilling the onions and then running them under cold water keeps the teary eyes at bay.

    At this season of my life though, I am using already dried minced onions or onion powder because they are easier to sneak into food! πŸ™‚

  8. The only thing that works for me is swim goggles. I always feel stupid doing that though, so I generally just use my little Cuisinart chopper.

  9. I worked in a restaurant for years and sometimes had to slice dozens of onions at once, trust me… there is a way.

    I would set up my cutting board next to a box fan (on of those big square ones). I suppose to could use a regular fan too. So put the fan right next to the cutting board and blow the air away from you, not over the onions. I don’t know how, maybe the onion infested air is being sucked away and threw the fan but it really does work!

  10. I light a candle nearby and let the cold water run while chopping.

    When all else fails, I run and stick my head in the freezer, it clears it up right away!

  11. A really sharp knife helps A LOT! It helps by not squeezing out the chemicals that make us tear up.

    Also I’ve heard putting it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes helps too.

    Ironically though, I just read over the weekend about the natural cleansing that the tears from onions to for our eyes… in a magazine they actually recommended not trying to stop that process.

  12. I don’t know that I can help with the crying when you chop, but I can help you chop less.

    I hardly ever use a whole onion and it ended up going to waste almost every time. Until I discovered the frozen, pre-chopped onions. I decided that if some conglomerate could freeze their onions, I could too. So when I chop an onion for a dish, I chop the whole thing whether I need it or not. The rest goes into the freezer. Then the next time I need onions for a dish (soup, cassarole, etc – not a fresh onion), I already have onion that’s chopped and waiting.

  13. I gave up on chopping onions as well, but I love them!! I have discovered that some grocery stores sell precut onions in the freezer section. For like $1.50 I get a big bag of chopped frozen onions. I think it is great. Occassionally, when using the onions raw, I still have to bite the bullet and chop the onions. The frozen onions work great in cooked dishes, but not as great when they are raw.

  14. The only time I cry when I’m cutting an onion is when I’m wearing my glasses instead of contacts. Apparently the contact lenses prevent the juices from getting to the eyes? That probably doesn’t help if you have good eyesight!

  15. Breathe through your mouth when cutting. Onions irritate your sinuses, so breathe through your mouth and you won’t cry. Promise! Although I’d love to see a picture of you cutting you onion in goggles, so please post that if you try it. πŸ™‚
    Also, I keep frozen diced onions on hand and those don’t make you cry either.

  16. My first job was working at Subway and when we prepped onions, we would soak them in ice water for 15 minutes, at minimum. The longer they soaked, the better. Even without soaking them at home, I never had problems with my eyes burning until my pregnancy. Now, it’s awful! I recently remembered to soak one (I think for about 20-30 minutes), and for the first time in ages: no crying over chopped onions! I hope this helps someone.

  17. I have had success with turning on the flame of the gas stove and putting the cutting board right next to it. The flame will burn off most of the gasses.

  18. Freeze them. Put them in the freezer for 20-30 mins. Its just long enough to freeze the juices that irritate you, but you can still get your knife through it.

  19. One post that consistently STAYS on my Top 10 list in my widget sidebar is entitled “5 minute onions in a flash (freeze)” I have photos of the onion chopping process using my FAVORITE gadget, the Chop Wizard!

    No tears!

  20. I’m from Louisiana and we cook with a LOT of onions so I guess we are just used to it. I just cut them up as fast as I can.

  21. My husband puts on his ski goggles.

    I think it’s hilarious, he says it works.

    If you try this method, be prepared for cameras to come out!

  22. I light a candle and place it on the corner of the cutting board. Something about it using the oxygen and thereby sucking down the toxic onion juice too. Whatever, chemistry isn’t my forte, but it seems to work.

  23. I can walk into my kitchen an hour after I’ve chopped an onion and still tear up.

    They look ridiculous, but these WORK:

    I keep a pair next to my knives and wear them whenever I have to chop… particularly handy when I’m doing a triple batch of my marinara sauce. I suppose swim goggles would work just as well, but these are convenient and make good stocking stuffers at Christmas.

  24. I have recently discovered that my cuisinart mini prep is a magnificent, but underutilized tool. I bought a dozen onions that I wanted to pre-dice and freeze for use when I return home from the hospital with my new baby. I let them sit in the fridge for a whole week before I decided I must stop procrastinating, but ugh–to cut that many. So out came the mini-prep (I did peel and cut into about 6 pieces) and pulse, pulse, pulse, voila perfect diced onions with VERY little contact with my skin and eyes.

  25. I have to honestly say that I’ve probably only had a problem with maybe 3 or 4 onions ever in my entire onion chopping-up career. I go through a few onions each week, but they just don’t bother me at all. I’ve never understood the problem – but I watched my uncle chopping onions for Thanksgiving dinner and he was a wreck. I finally asked if I could take over and didn’t have any trouble at all — all this to say – It might be genetics!

    Don’t stop using onions. πŸ™‚

  26. I’m surprised my foolproof method hasn’t been mentioned yet: put a cracker or a piece of bread in your mouth and chew it while you chop. No tears!

    The other methods sound good and I’d use more than one simultaneously, I think. But bread in the mouth really works!

  27. I wear contacts &, same as was mentioned before, I only tear when I don’t have my contacts in – and then I really notice it.

    Also, if you don’t cut the root end off, that helps too. When I chop, I slice the whole onion in half & then chop each half up to the root. That is where the most “fumes” are.

  28. I too use a food chopper. I think it confines the vapors some, but mostly just makes it go faster.

    When I have needed onion slices though, I cut them on the stove top with the fan on high. Doesnt eliminate but helps.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog – have bookmarked so many posts that I just open your blog when I meal-plan!


  29. My grandmother swore by this and it works for me. Put your onions in a paper bag and in the fridge, this is where she always kept them. Never had tears or stinging.

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