How to Cut, Slice, and Chop an Onion

These are essential knife skills you'll use every day.

slices of onion on wooden countertop
Photo: Emily Roemer

So many recipes begin with the simple task of cutting an onion, from soups to sautés or sauces to your favorite pasta dishes, casseroles, stir fries, and stews. Whether you want wedges, slices, or small pieces for your recipe, do it right and you'll cut back on prep time—and feel like a pro. Here's how to be a cut above.

What You Need

In order to properly cut an onion, you need a few essentials. First and foremost, you'll need your onions. Our basic cutting techniques work for all types of onion, whether you need white, red, or sweet. Next, you'll need a stable cutting board that's large enough for your specific onion. Then you'll need your knife—or knives, that is. We suggest a chef's knife—make sure your knife is sharp as this makes this task and every other cutting technique easier and safer—for the bulk of the cutting, slicing, and chopping, but advise using a paring knife first to peel your onion.

Get Started

First, cut the stem end off the onion and remove the peel by grasping it between your thumb and the blade of a paring knife.

How to Slice

Cut the onion in half through the root. With knife tip, cut a wedge around root and remove. Then, slice straight down to cutting board. When onion is too narrow to sit upright, turn it on its side and finish slicing.

How to Chop and Dice an Onion

Begin by cutting onion in half through the root. Then, place one half flat side down. Slice lengthwise at even intervals, carefully so as not to cut through root end. Next, slice horizontally toward root end at even intervals. Lastly, make perpendicular cuts, slicing crosswise straight down to cutting board to create even-sized pieces. To dice an onion, simply cut at wider intervals.

How to Cut Onion Wedges

Keeping root end intact, angle knife toward center of onion and make cuts. The small piece of root in each wedge helps it hold together when cooked.

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