Why do some recipes call for studding onions, i.e., cutting little slits in the onion and putting cloves in?

For example, when I cook a big piece of meat like cow's tongue, what difference would it make whether I put cloves and onion separately in the broth or studded?

Is this just a convenience thing to make it easy to fish out the cloves after cooking? Anything else I'm missing?

1 Answer 1


It's convenience, and actually doubly so:

It helps to find the cloves (biting down on a clove is horrible, imho, much more than on a stray peppercorn) and it especially if you are using onions with the skin on helps in keeping the onion together. Not as much as leaving the root plate intact, but at least prevents the papery brown skin from drifting off.

If you know you will be straining your soup or sauce anyway, feel free to just dump everything in separately.

Cutting a slit is optional, btw., if you have "pointy" cloves you can just push them in. I prefer making a hole with a toothpick over stabbing the onion with a knife, the cloves "stick" better.

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