While we’ve just explored slicing, dicing, and more in the 11 Knife Cuts Everyone Should Know, we wanted to get even more specific when it comes to How to Slice and Dice an Onion. There are lots of approaches to cutting an onion. The internet probably has about a billion options for you, but (of course) we recommend you go with ours.
One of the most common online tutorials for cutting an onion recommends first cutting horizontally and then vertically. Let’s just say we’ve got our qualms. Turning the knife horizontally (i.e. making it parallel to your cutting surface) is pretty dicey business to begin with, especially if you’re not working with a super sharp knife. The whole deal requires a little more pressure than a regular cut, leaving a lot of room for error. When error = knife injury, we’re just not about the risk.
Instead of risking your fingers, check out our method on How to Slice and Dice an Onion. It’s safer, eliminates waste, and is just easier all around. And once you’re up to speed on How to Slice and Dice an Onion, apply your new skill by learning How to Quickly Caramelize Onions.
Whether slicing or dicing, you’re gonna start by cutting off the ends. Take off both ends to get rid of the little inedible parts of the onion, then cut the onion in half and peel off the skin. Now you’re ready for the rest.
slicing an onion
Once you’ve cut the ends, cut your onion in half, and peeled off its skin, go ahead and cut out the little root or core of the onion using a small V shape.
Now slice your onion into your preferred thickness of slices (see the difference between sliced and thinly sliced in the 11 Knife Cuts Everyone Should Know) until you reach mid-way through. Once you get halfway, you’ll notice continuing to slice gets a little precarious—the onion gets unsteady and starts to wobble. That means it’s time to flip it! Flip the onion onto its broader, flatter end for more stability and continue slicing just the way you were.
Repeat this process with the second half and you’ve got a sliced onion!
dicing an onion
Dicing an onion is slightly more complicated than slicing one, but we’ll make it easy on you.
Once again, cut off your ends, cut the onion in half, and peel off the skin. This time, you’ll slice whatever thickness of dice you’re going for (check out some options in the 11 Knife Cuts Everyone Should Know ), but keep your blade from going all the way through the onion. Essentially, you’re making slices without completing them by leaving the heel of your knife up off the cutting surface about 1/4 inch. What this accomplishes is that your onion will be held together at the end so its super easy to keep it together and in one place when the time comes to slice in the other direction.
After completing that process, rotate your onion so you can make perpendicular cuts to your initial slices. As you begin to slice again, keep your knife following the rainbow arc of the onion itself (rather than slicing straight down from top to bottom). If you follow the natural arc of the onion shape with your knife, adapting the angle with each cut as you go, you’ll get diced pieces that are nice and even instead of a variety of not-so-square shapes that vary. Once you’ve made these slices through to mid-way, flip your onion onto the broader flat edge just like you did when slicing and complete the rest of the cuts.
Now you’ll be left with just the small portion of onion that you left together for stability—flip that piece down onto its side and cut along in the same way to finish out the dice. You’re good to go!
We hope this helps you stay safe and strategic with all your onion cutting endeavors! Use your new skills when learning How to Quickly Caramelize Onions and acquire even more by checking out the 11 Knife Cuts Everyone Should Know.