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How to cut an onion for tacos

Ready to cut that onion but don’t want to cry? Here’s the easiest way to cut an onion for tacos to maximize the usable amount and not make you cry!

This week for Taco Thursday, we’d like to share a special skill we use a lot in our cooking- onion cutting.

Onion is a crucial ingredient in almost all of our Taco Thursday dishes and pretty much anything we make. But, I never really knew how to chop onions for tacos.

Since we’ve implemented this technique, our prep has gotten considerably easier.

Turkey Peach Tacos - Charleston Crafted
Turkey and peach tacos

We once took a Knife Skills cooking class at Charleston Cooks in downtown Charleston. We learned tons of cuts that we use every week in our own kitchen.

I LOVE onion. Everything we cook I always say – needs onion! So, I always do the onion chopping.

Previously, I’ve always just haphazardly cut the onion into pieces. This leaves me crying (from the stink) and with a lot of different sized onion pieces.

This new cutting technique is easy and fast and minimizes crying.

What part of cutting an onion make you cry?

The part of the onion that makes you cry is the root. By minimizing your cuts thru the root, you can minimize the crying effect.

Which side is the root of an onion?

The root is the end of the onion with little brown hairs sticking out of a brown spot. These are dried up roots.

Another suggested tip was freezing onions. By freezing them, the juices are solidified and you cry much less. This requires a certain level of pre-planning that I just do not normally have.

how to cut an onion for tacos

How to cut an onion for tacos

Here’s the best way to cut an onion to put in tacos!

how to cut an onion for tacos


Cut the stem off of the onion. This is the end with white bits sticking out.

how to cut an onion for tacos


Now cut the onion in half. Note- this is the only time that you will cut thru the root. The root is where the “cry juice” is in the onion and by minimizing cuts thru the root, you minimize crying!  

how to cut an onion for tacos


Peel the skin off of the onion. I usually pull of the dry, papery pieces, and then also remove the first normal layer. This part is often dry or chewy and I prefer to just remove it.

how to cut an onion for tacos


Set the onion half flat on your cutting surface.

Stick your knife in, tip first, near the root about a quarter of an inch up the side of the onion.

Roll the blade into the bulb, making sure you feel the cutting board underneath your blade.

Move the knife up about a quarter of an inch and repeat. Repeat this all across the onion.

how to cut an onion for tacos


Now you will dice the onion. Turn the bulb 90 degrees and begin to make straight cuts perpendicular to your previous cuts.

how to cut an onion for tacos

Ta-da! A perfectly diced onion! This is the perfect way to cut onion fast and evenly, with great results!

diced onion for tacos

Do you have any cool cutting techniques that speed up your prep work? We’d love to hear!

Veggie Tacos - Charleston Crafted
How to Cut an Onion - Tear Free!
Yield: 1 onion

How to cut an onion

Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $0-10

Cutting an onion can be confusing. Here is the easiest way to get the perfect dice - without crying!


  • Onion


  • Knife
  • Cutting board


  1. Cut the stem off the onion
  2. Peel the skin off the onion
  3. Cut the onion in half - this is the only time you cut thru the root, which is the part that releases the smell that makes your eyes water
  4. Set the onion flat cut half side down on your cutting board.
  5. Stick your knife in, tip first, into the top of the onion right next to the root. Push until you feel the cutting board with the tip of the knife. Press the rest of the knife in to cut a slice all of the way (except leaving the root intact at the top)
  6. Move the knife 1/4" to the side and create parallel cuts along the whole onion.
  7. Rotate the onion and make perpendicular cuts to create your dice. You can make these as big or small as you want your pieces to be.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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