How to Dice an Onion

You might think that telling someone how to dice an onion is a ridiculous article to have, since you can simply take a knife and hack an onion to pieces and viola! You have diced onion.

However, as many of you noob onion dicers probably know, if you cut it the wrong way, you end up doing a heck of a lot more chopping than you would like to be doing. I have always had a hard time remembering which way I’m supposed to cut the dang thing to avoid ending up with tons of C-shaped onion.

Do it that way and you end up lining up a lot of onion pieces to chop.

After watching the movie Julie & Julia about that awful woman Julie Powell, I bought myself a copy of Julia Child’s famous book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I never did cook anything from it because most of what I read at first involved onions, which my husband detests. However, before I lost interest (as I do so often with cookbooks), I did read her little tutorial for dicing onions. It seemed easy enough to understand, but I never tried it myself until I had some real practice… with Cooking Mama.

Mama dices her onions just like Julia Child and after she’d rained down praise about how I’m “Even bedder than Mama!”, I felt like I could now do it on my own.

Cut the Butt

The first thing you need to do is cut the onion in half. I now remind myself how to do this by telling myself to “cut the butt”. Onions have tops and bottoms and the phrase helps me to remember not to cut it the other way.

After you’ve cut your onion’s butt in half, cut the butt and the head off and peel off the outer layers. You should have a nice, clean onion half that looks like this.

Trim Edges

Now that you’ve got that, simply make cuts in the onion by following the lines. Make cuts almost through to the edge of one side, leaving just a little bit to hold all the slices together.

Trace the Lines

Right around this photo, I realized that I was actually making something that required sliced onions, not diced onions. Oops. This ended up going into the fridge for morning omelets.

When you’re done, it should look something like this when fanned out:

All Cut Up

Now you can turn it and chop it the other way.

Dice the Onion

If all has gone well, you should have lots of itty bitty pieces of onion. Usually when I get to the end that’s still connected, I have a brain fart, but you can just flap it down flat and dice it up the line-tracing way. If not, revert back to your old chop randomly style. That’s usually what I do.

Diced Onion


6 thoughts on “How to Dice an Onion”

  1. I just chop randomly, but that’s a much more organised method than my usual. Do you get problems with your eyes watering? I find freezing the onion for a while seems to help~

  2. I secretly learned how to dice onions from Cooking Mama! There also a bunch of other little things that I secretly take away from that game… haha!

  3. I react very badly to the gas onions let off while cutting them. My eyes used to swell shut and stayed puffy for more than a day. I found the way to avoid that is not to cut straight through the middle. I like to cut it into four sections and I have a plastic shopping bag nearby to dump the center part into and I throw it out straight away. I’m not sure why it works, or where I read about it but it does work my eyes don’t even water anymore!

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