Knife Skills - How to Peel an Onion

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How to Peel an Onion Quickly

Two Methods:

Few people enjoy peeling onions, especially not when the tears start to fall. To get around this, try one of the following ways to cut and peel any sized onion in seconds!


Peeling with a Vertical Slice

  1. Cut an in half vertically.
  2. Place the halves "cut side down" on the cutting board.
  3. Cut off the unusable portions at the top and bottom of each half.
  4. Peel back the top layer of each onion half.
  5. Rinse the onion halves under cold water to remove any peel residue.Rinsing also reduces the residue that causes your eyes to water when handling onions.
  6. When an is halved, it is much easier to cut into thin slices.
  7. Turn your cutting board ninety degrees after slicing, and you can easily dice your onion as well.

Peeling by Applying Heat

  1. Preheat a frying pan.
  2. Cut the onion in half.Cut off the unusable parts (top and bottom).
  3. Stab the cut side with a fork.Hold the skin side against the base of the warming frying pan.
  4. Wait until the papery part of the skin loosens.Lift the onion right and and you'll be able easily pull off the skin.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Do you need to remove the first layer of onion after the papery portion?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, it is edible but may be a bit tougher than the rest of the onion.
  • Question
    How does peeling an onion hurt the eyes?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Peeling or cutting an onion produces sulfuric acid, which burns the eyes and stimulates the tear glands.
Unanswered Questions
  • How can you easily remove the membrane between each onion layer? Or is it necessary to do it?
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  • If you leave one of the ends attached from the beginning, it is much easier to dice. For slicing however, it is best to remove both ends. Don't forget to remove the end when you are finished slicing.
  • You can remove the topmost layer of onion along with the peel, as its easier to do.
  • Dip onions in cold water for 10 minutes and then cut... this way, you will not cry.
  • If you don't want to cut onion in halves, make a single shallow cut from top to bottom, just enough to slide the knife tip in and lift off the topmost layer to peel it off.
  • If you wear goggles (used by swimmers) you do not have to cry while cutting onions in pieces... it looks silly, but it helps!
  • You can also chew gum or put a piece of bread in your mouth so it is visible to prevent crying.
  • If you find it more effective to stick pieces of tissue into both nostrils to prevent crying when cutting onions, rather than wearing goggles. Or you can hold your breath.
  • Not feasible for everybody, but wearing contacts can protect your eyes while chopping.


  • Always wash fruits and vegetables before you cut them to prevent dragging whatever is on the skin through the food along the knife blade.
  • If possible, use a separate cutting board for each of the following: raw meats, poultry, cooked foods, seafood, fruit and vegetables, and dairy, to avoid cross-contamination (for example, bacteria found in raw meat juices can contaminate vegetables, if you use the same board). After each use, scrub the cutting board with hot, soapy water.
  • Use a non-serrated knife: a serrated knife will twist in the onion as it cuts, and create uneven slices, and if you're not careful, injure you!
  • Always use care when using kitchen knives to avoid cutting yourself.
  • Washing your hands with the stainless steel knife after slicing an onion (or garlic) will remove the scent from your fingers.

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Apr 21

"Rinsing the cut onion under running water so it doesn't sting your eyes."

Adrien Vocos

Dec 1, 2019

"Helpful, simple written instruction and video.

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