One of the most common and versatile ingredients in the kitchen are onions. Diced onions on a burger, pickled onions on tacos, caramelized onions for French onion soup. You get the idea. However, all good onions start with the right preparation and knife work. To flex your cooking skills, grab a sharp chef’s knife or a beautiful nakiri knife, a wooden cutting board, and some tissues just in case tears escape from your eyes (although a sharp Made In knife will prevent tears!). In this blog post, we’ll go through step-by-step guidelines on how to:
- Peel an Onion
- Dice Onions
- Slice an Onion
- Chop an Onion
- Mince an Onion
How to Peel an Onion
Peeling an onion is the first step to perfectly prepared cuts. First, cut the top of the onion off (the part opposite from the root) and then slice the onion in half, cutting through the root. Leaving the root intact is very important, as it will keep the layers of the onions from peeling away. From there, you can peel the outer layer of the onion off. It is also a great idea to save all of your scraps, as these are perfect for adding to any stock.
How to Dice an Onion
Learning how to dice an onion will be immensely valuable, as the technique can be used for other vegetables, such as garlic, shallots, potatoes, and more.
After taking your onion, which has been cut in half through the root, place it cut side down on your cutting board, with the rood end parallel to your body. With your none-slicing hand, place either your knuckles, fingertips, or palm of your hand on top of the onion, whichever is more comfortable for you. Use your knife to cut into the onion horizontally, making 3-4 cuts down the onion depending on the size. Turn the onion, so the root end is facing away from you, and make cuts vertically from one end to the other. You are now ready for the final knife cut.
Turn the onion so that it is parallel to you and cut from the non-root end to the root end, leaving perfectly diced pieces of onion.
Slicing an Onion
Slicing onions don’t require as many steps as dicing. Simply take your halved onion with the root end intact and place the root end away from you. Slice the root off. Make vertical cuts from right to left (or left to right, I won’t judge). Make them as thin or thick as you’d like!
How to Chop an Onion
The technique of chopping onions is very similar to dicing onions. Follow the same method outlined above, but since chopped onions are a larger cut, you do not need to have as many cuts into the onions. Two horizontal cuts and three vertical cuts would work perfectly.
Mincing an Onion
Minced onions are smaller than diced onions and are great for risotto, salad dressings, and toppings on burgers or hot dogs. To mince an onion, simply add more horizontal and vertical cuts to your diced onions technique. This will produce small bits of onions. You can also just run your knife through your diced onions until they are uniform in size.
Since onions are the foundation of so many great dishes and one of the significant components of mirepoix, it is essential to know how to prepare them. Once you master the technique of dicing onions, you will be able to chop and mince onions along with the best of them. Some of my favorite ways to prepare onions? Pickle sliced red onions to top on fish tacos, add minced onions on top of chili, and caramelize onions for the best burger topping. You now have the technique to prepare onions in 4 different ways. Happy cooking!