Onions are a staple ingredient in countless recipes, but they come with a pungent price: tears. The culprit behind this involuntary reaction is a volatile compound called syn-propanethial-S-oxide, which is released when you cut into an onion.
However, fear not, for there are proven strategies and scientific insights to help you prevent those pesky tears when chopping onions.

Keep It Cool

One of the most effective ways to prevent tears when chopping onions is to chill them beforehand.
When you store onions in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before use, the cold temperature slows down the release of the irritating gas, reducing your risk of tearing up while chopping.

Tears-Free Onion Chopping: Science and Strategies
Tired of onion tears?

Sharp Knives Are Key

A sharp knife is your best friend when it comes to chopping onions without crying. A dull knife crushes the onion's cells, releasing more irritants into the air.
A sharp knife, on the other hand, cleanly slices through the onion, minimizing the release of tear-inducing compounds.

Goggles or Glasses

Investing in a pair of onion goggles or wearing regular glasses can create a barrier between your eyes and the onion's irritants.
This simple but effective solution can significantly reduce the chances of tears.

Tears-Free Onion Chopping: Science and Strategies
Tired of onion tears? Enjoy a more pleasant kitchen experience!

Chew Gum or Breathe Through Your Mouth

Odd as it may sound, chewing gum while chopping onions can help. The theory is that the act of chewing stimulates your salivary glands, which produce extra moisture to keep your eyes from drying out.
Additionally, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose can reduce the amount of irritants that reach your eyes.

Cut the Onion in Half

Cutting an onion in half and then peeling and chopping each half separately can reduce the surface area from which irritants are released.
This can be particularly helpful when dealing with large onions.

Tears-Free Onion Chopping: Science and Strategies
Discover tear-free onion chopping techniques

Freeze the Onion

If you're looking to preserve onions for a long time, consider freezing them before chopping.
Freezing the onion first can make it easier to chop while also reducing the release of irritants.

Chopping onions without shedding tears is an achievable feat with the right techniques. Whether you choose to chill the onions, use a sharp knife, wear goggles or employ any combination of these strategies, you can minimize the discomfort and irritation associated with chopping onions.
Experiment with these methods to find the one that works best for you, and say goodbye to teary eyes in the kitchen.