How to Cut the Root Out of an Onion to Prevent Tears

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  • 1). Place the whole onion in the refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to peeling and cutting. Chilling delays the release of enzymes, which produce the noxious chemicals that cause tears to flow.

  • 2). Use a sharp chef's knife to cut the onion. A sharp knife will enable you to create smooth cuts while slicing the onion. This will release less of the tear-producing substance.

  • 3). Wear a pair of safety goggles such as swim goggles or woodworking goggles when you are ready to cut onions. Goggles will protect your eyes from the tear-producing vapors released by the onions.

  • 4). Place the onion horizontally on a chopping board. Hold it firmly with one hand and position the knife in your other hand. Cut a 1/2-inch portion from the top end of the onion, leaving the root portion intact. The root contains the highest content of the sulfuric compound that causes tears when the onion is peeled or cut.

  • 5). Peel off the outer skin layer of the onion. Chop or slice the onion as desired. Give the root a firm final cut at the end of your cutting process and discard.

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