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Which end of onion not to cut?

Onion is an essential ingredient in many dishes, providing flavor and aroma. However, cutting an onion can be a tricky task, especially if you want to avoid weeping eyes. Additionally, knowing which end of an onion to cut may be confusing for many, leading to unfortunate kitchen accidents. In this article, we will explore which end of the onion you should avoid cutting and provide a step-by-step guide on how to cut onions properly.

Why You Shouldn’t Cut the Root End

While it may be tempting to cut both ends of an onion so that it stands upright and is easy to slice, only one of them should be cut. When you slice the root end, you allow the onion’s juices to leak out and expose its pungent sulfur compounds to air, making your eyes tear up. The root end of the onion has a hard center, which holds the layers of the onion together. Hence, if you cut this hard center, it will be difficult to keep the onion’s shape together, and the sliced onion may fall apart, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.

Which End of the Onion to Cut

The end of the onion that should be cut is known as the stem end. The stem end is where the onion’s green leaves once sprouted. The stem end is flat and has a slightly indented center. Slicing the onion from this end will keep the onion intact and maintain its shape while slicing. Additionally, it will minimize the stinging sensation that comes when an onion is cut.

How to Cut an Onion Properly

Knowing which end of an onion to cut is only the first step towards properly cutting an onion. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cut an onion correctly:

Step 1: Peel the onion’s papery outer layers. Remove any excess dirt or debris that may be stuck to the onion’s skin.

Step 2: Cut the stem end of the onion with a sharp knife and discard the end.

Step 3: Place the onion on the cut side to create a flat surface.

Step 4: Cut the onion in half lengthwise.

Step 5: Peel off the thin membrane layers from the inside of each onion half.

Step 6: Slice the onion halves using a sharp knife. Make sure to cut the onion into even pieces, so they cook uniformly.

If you are looking to chop the onion for a recipe, make lengthwise and crosswise cuts, then chop it finely to the desired size. If you want to obtain rings, slice the onion crosswise.


In summary, the stem end of the onion should be cut, while the root end should be avoided when slicing an onion. Cutting the root end exposes the onion’s juices, causing the onion’s sulfur compounds to mix with the air and irritate your eyes. Cutting the stem end, on the other hand, maintains the onion’s shape and minimizes stinging sensation. Cutting an onion correctly is a vital skill that can make your cooking experience more effective and enjoyable. Hopefully, with this article’s step-by-step guide, you now know how to cut an onion properly.


What end do you leave on an onion?

When cutting an onion, it is important to leave the root end intact. This means cutting off the stem end of the onion, but keeping the root end in place. Why? Well, for one, it makes it easier to cut and peel the onion. The root end also helps keep the layers of the onion together as you cut, making your job a little easier.

But there’s another reason to leave the root end on: it’s where the highest concentration of sulfur compounds reside. These sulfur compounds are responsible for making you cry when you cut onions. By leaving the root end intact, you are minimizing the amount of these compounds that are released into the air and into your eyes. This means less tears and less discomfort while chopping your onions.

When cutting an onion, it’s best to cut off the stem end but leave the root end intact. This will make your job easier and help minimize the amount of sulfur compounds released while cutting, which means less tears for you!

Is it okay to cut off bad part of onion?

Onions are an essential ingredient in many dishes. Cutting up onions can be a bit of a hassle, but it is a necessary step in most recipes as it is a flavor base in many cuisines. However, have you ever encountered a bad onion? It can be frustrating, especially if you’ve already started cooking. But, is it okay to cut off the bad part of the onion?

It is not uncommon to find a bad onion in a bunch or in your pantry. Onions can go bad due to several factors, such as excessive moisture or improper storage. A bad onion will have a foul odor and a soft, mushy texture. If it smells like it’s been rotting away for days, it’s best to throw it away. However, if it has only a slightly mushy spot, with no intense odor, you can still salvage the rest of it.

To determine if it safe to cut off the bad part of the onion, check to see if there is softness and mold. If the bad area is minimal, it may be safe to trim the affected part and use the rest of the onion. To do this, you need to cut off the soft, discolored, or moldy area until you reach a healthy layer. Use a sharp knife for this process, so you can avoid cutting away too much of the onion.

Now, if the onion is covered with mold or has a bad smell, it’s best not to take any risks. The fungi can spread, even to the healthy parts of the onion, and could cause food poisoning. If you aren’t sure whether the onion is still safe to eat, it is best to discard it to avoid any potential health risks.

If the onion is only slightly mushy with no intense smell, you can cut off the bad part and use the rest of it. However, if the onion has mold or has a foul smell, it’s better to toss it in the trash. Remember to always use your judgment when it comes to bad produce, and to prioritize your health and safety.

Does it matter how you cut an onion?

Yes, it does matter how you cut an onion. The way an onion is sliced can greatly affect its appearance and texture when cooked. The layers of plant cells in an onion run vertically from the root to the stem end of the bulb. Therefore, slicing an onion either horizontally or vertically can drastically change the outcome of the dish.

Slicing an onion horizontally across the bulb will cause the onions to release water and break down more easily during cooking, resulting in softer and less discernible onion pieces in the dish. This is ideal for using in soups, stews, or sauces where you want the onions to disintegrate and blend in with other ingredients.

On the other hand, cutting an onion vertically from root to stem preserves more of the onion’s texture and gives the pieces more of a bite when cooked. This is great for using in dishes such as stir-fries or fajitas where you want the onions to stand out a bit more and provide some texture.

Another factor to consider when cutting onions is the size and shape of the pieces. Slicing onions thinly and evenly will help them cook more evenly and prevent some pieces from being undercooked and others from being overcooked. Similarly, if you want to achieve a caramelized effect on the onions, slicing them thin and cooking them low and slow will do the trick.

How you cut an onion can have a significant impact on the flavor and texture of the dish you use it in. Horizontal slicing will result in softer, more integrated onions, while vertical slicing will provide more texture and bite. The size and shape of the cuts are also important factors to consider when preparing onions for cooking.

Can you eat all parts of an onion?

Yes, you can eat all parts of an onion. While the onion bulb is the most commonly consumed part of the onion, other parts of the plant are also edible and add a unique flavor to dishes.

The green tops of onions, also known as scallions or green onions, can be used in a variety of dishes. They have a mild onion flavor and are commonly used in salads, stir-fries, and soups. They can also be used as a garnish or topping for tacos, nachos, and baked potatoes.

In addition to the green tops, the flowers of onion plants are also edible. They have a slightly stronger onion flavor than the green tops and can be used in salads, soups, and stews. The flowers can also be lightly battered and fried for a delicious snack or appetizer.

Another part of the onion plant that can be consumed is the bulbils, which are the small, bulb-like structures that grow on the stem of the onion plant. They have a milder onion flavor than the bulb and can be used in salads or pickled for a tasty side dish.

While all parts of the onion plant are edible, it is important to note that some parts, such as the roots, are not typically consumed due to their tough texture and lack of flavor.

There are many parts of the onion plant that are edible and can be used to add flavor and nutrition to dishes. So, next time you have onions in your kitchen, consider using the whole plant in your cooking!