Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

It bugs me that I've just sort of self-taught a method of turning a whole onion into a nicely diced pile. I'm going to assume my method is inefficient and wasteful.

Could someone explain how I should be dicing a whole onion?

Unusual and clever methods also appreciated!

share|improve this question
Good question! The "official" sources always instruct to cut the onion in half then radially and then turn it and cut across the radials. With radial cuts the chunks on the outside edge of the vegetable are much larger than those on the inside. Vertical slices, instead of radial, produce much more consistent results for me. I'm hoping an expert answers this one. – Sobachatina Oct 15 '10 at 13:33
@Sobachatina - the last time I had a chef show me how to do it, he cut vertically rather than radially, as you say. – justkt Oct 15 '10 at 13:40
@justkt - Thanks! I will gladly accept your anecdotal evidence suggesting that I'm not insane. – Sobachatina Oct 15 '10 at 13:52
At some point, I heard that the vertical method was the "classic" way to cut, and radial cuts were the "new" way. Or, maybe I have that backwards... – Bob Oct 19 '10 at 18:57
up vote 14 down vote accepted

First, remove some, but not all, of the end. Make sure to leave a little of the root intact, as this will make the next steps easier. Peel the onion and discard the peel.

Stand your onion on one of the now-flat ends. Chop in half with your chef's knife.

Lay a single half on the flat end. Working from root to cut end, make several cuts at dice width that cut almost to the root end, but leave a little bit still attached.

Working perpendicular to your last set of cuts, make another set of cuts at dice width. This will leave you with cut pieces. When you get to the portion with the root, discard it.

Repeat for your other onion half.

During cooking, the layers should flake apart leaving dice sized pieces.

share|improve this answer
Alternatively, retain the peel for adding colour and flavour to stocks and sauces. The peel freezes perfectly well. – daniel Oct 15 '10 at 14:21
See this demonstrated by Jamie Oliver. It differs only slightly from how Gordon Ramsay recommends. IMO, leaving the root is a hassle, and still burns my eyes. – zanlok Feb 8 '11 at 19:57
Peeling is easier if you chop it in half before the peeling – groovingandi May 24 '11 at 17:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.