Onions are a classic ingredient in the culinary arena. They have eternally been used as a base with other staples such as ginger and garlic to help create flavourful foundations in countless delicacies. Many recipes call for their sliced versions, while others demand chopped, diced, and even minced forms depending on the dish requirements.
However, onions are a hassle to cut for many. Since the ingredient is pretty much unavoidable, it is best to master the art of cutting it. Let us teach you how to mince onion, dice, chop and even slice the layered bulbs easily, carefully, and most of all, tear-free.
How to mince onion:
- Peel the onion and slice off the ends.
- Cut the onion in half through the root with the flat side onto the cutting board.
- Begin to cut the onion in planks, keeping the root end intact.
- Cut the onions crosswise.
- Rotate onion at 90 degrees and cut across the crosswise cuts.
Voila. Your minced onion is ready for use. Read on to learn these steps in greater detail as we cover other methods of cutting an onion including slicing, dicing, and even chopping.
First, how to pick a good onion?
It can be hard to choose a good onion due to the varying colors and varieties they come in, making it hard to decide whether they will be good for sautéing, cooking, or garnishing. Red onions are good for eating raw, sweet onions are best used fried, white onions add crunchiness in dishes while yellow ones are all-rounders.
As much as picking the right onion variety is important, it is just as important to choose an onion that is fresh:
- A fresh onion must feel heavy in your hands, as well as firm to the touch.
- Fresh onions must have dry, flaky, tissue-like skins.
- They must be unbruised and unblemished.
- Avoid discolored, soft spotted, or moisturized onions.
Now that you have fresh onions at your disposal, let’s get on with preparation.
For preparing to mince, chop, dice and slice onions, you must get your tools ready. Once your tools are ready, the next step requires cleaning and peeling the onion.
- A sharp knife: A sharp knife doesn’t only help cut an onion properly, but also prevents releasing irritants that tear you up each time you cut it. Learn how to sharpen your knife here.
- A cutting board: A solid, sturdy, and clean cutting board is like a faithful steed in any cutting procedure in the kitchen.
- A paper towel
Clean and peel the onion
For peeling and cleaning the onion, follow the steps below:
- Slice both stem and root ends of the onion, about ½ inch from the stem and 1/8th of an inch from the root.
- Make sure the root of the onion stays intact.
- Remove all paper, tissue like skin.
- Remove the next outer layer of onion by piercing the onion with a knife and shedding it off.
- Run the onion under tap water and scrub away any dirt.
- Pat dry with a paper towel.
Best way to mince an onion
Step 1. Cut onion in half
The first step in mincing an onion requires cutting the onion in half through the root. Next, place the flat end face down on the cutting board. Not only will it allow making easier cuts, but also minimize your exposure to the cut parts so your eyes don’t tear up.
Step 2. Make lengthwise cuts
The next step requires using your sharp knife to make lengthwise cuts in the onion, keeping the root intact. Keeping the root intact will allow you to make smaller cuts before it falls apart. The lengthwise cuts will be similar to creating planks in the onions.
Continue making the evenly spaced cuts, about ¼ of an inch each, throughout the entire onion.
Step 3. Make crosswise cuts
After making the cuts in onion lengthwise with the root intact, use your knife to make cuts crosswise. Start at the top of the onion while making your way to the bottom. The cuts must be made as near to each other as possible.
Step 4. Cut in rock motion
This is the last step you need to learn in how to mince onions. Chop the onions in a rocking motion until you get even, small pieces.
Step 5. Repeat
Repeat the process on the other half of the veggie that has been cut.
Making these cuts will render you with very fine pieces of onion, about 2mm each side. This is known as the minced onion. What are you waiting for? Chop chop.
Other onion cutting methods
Onions are used in a variety of other ways as well. These include sliced versions, chopped versions, and even diced onion depending on the dish requirements.
How to chop an onion
Chopping an onion requires cutting an onion roughly, or finely, according to what the recipe demands. It is less precise than minced onions. Here is what you need to do:
- Cut the onion in two halves and place the flat sides down on the cutting boards.
- Begin making lengthwise cuts into the onion, preferable ¾ of an inch apart for recipes that don’t specify.
- In the other direction, make similar cuts once more. Once again, these can be ¾ of an inch apart.
- Repeat with the other half.
Your chopped onions are ready for use.
How to dice an onion
- Cut the onion in half.
- Position the flat sides down on the cutting board.
- With your sharp knife, cut the onion across, about ½ an inch apart.
- Rotate the onion at 90 degrees to make cross wise cuts in the onion, again ½ inch apart.
- Repeat with the other half.
Your diced onions are ready for use.
How to slice an onion
There are two ways that you can slice an onion: lengthwise and crosswise.
If you want your onions to hold onto their shape when cooked, you will cut them lengthwise from the root to the stem. These onions are best when caramelized. On the other hand, you must slice your onions crosswise if you want them to lose their shape when cooked.
Slicing onions crosswise is better when using them raw in salads. Onion rings demand crosswise slices as well.
How to slice an onion lengthwise
- Cut the onion in two halves.
- Next, position the flat sides of the two halves down on the cutting board.
- Notice the natural lines on the onion from the stem to the root. Cut along these lines with your sharp knife, making angled cuts directed at the center of the onion. Make sure that the root stays intact. The cuts should be made depending on how thick or thin you want your slices to be.
- In order to get a hold of the slices that you’ve cut, simply cut a V around the root end of the onion. This will break the onion apart and allow you to get a hold of the onion slices.
How to slice an onion crosswise
- Cut the onion in half and place it flat side down onto the cutting board.
- Using a sharp knife, make slices through the onion crosswise from the ends.
How to slice an onion for onion rings
- Cut off the onion ends.
- Next, use a sharp knife to cut a thin sliver out of the onion. The sliver will keep the onion from rotating as you work on it.
- Curl up your fingers inwards as you hold the onion and begin slicing the whole onion in your desired thickness. Discard the root.
- Separate the onion disks with your fingers into rings.
Difference between diced, minced, and chopped onions
Now that you have mastered the art of different onion cuts, you might be wondering what difference all these varying cuts make in the recipes that demand them. The answer is, a lot:
Smallest of cuts
Bit bigger than minced cut
Less than ½ inches
¼ - ½ inches
¼ inches +
Shape and size
Equal shape and size
Regular size and shape
Random shape and size
Burgers, meatloaf, sauces, stuffing, salad dressings and dips
All kinds of cooking: pasta sauces, salsas, fries and soups
Roasted dishes, sauces that require to be pureed
Simple onion recipes
Different recipes call for different onion cuts. Here are a few recipes we’ve gathered for you to practice your cuts on:
This simple yet delicious onion sauce recipe calls for chopped onions cooked in butter, sugar and broth for enhancing the flavour of pork and beef mains.
Blooming onion recipe
This fried onion recipe is not for the weak-hearted. Blossomed, floured and fried to perfection, it is a delicious new way of savouring onions with a dip of your liking. Learn how to cut and make a blooming onion with us!
Who doesn’t love a handful of smoky, grilled onions? We know we do. Tendered and charred to perfection, these grilled goodies make the perfect companions of burgers, shrimps, BBQs and even steaks.
FAQs on how to mince an onion
How to avoid tearing up when mincing, chopping and slicing onions?
Onions release irritants that tear us up. To avoid this, freeze onions for about 20 minutes before you cut them. Also, use a sharp knife to cut precisely and to release less irritants. Moreover, keep the cut ends away from you.
How to store minced onions and other cut onions?
Diced and minced onions need to be placed in air-tight containers before they are put in the refrigerator. On the other hand, you can store chopped onions in resealable bags.
Which recipes require minced onions?
Minced onions are best used in recipes where you don’t want or like large onion chunks coming in between. Dishes such as soups, salads, marinades, sauces and stuffing’s usually call for minced onions.
We hope you will now be able to easily make your way around different onion cuts such as mince, dice, chopped and even sliced. Always remember to use a sharp knife for best results.
What are you waiting for? Cut your onions away!