How I Learned to Cut an Onion Just Like a Food Network Chef

Chances are you've seen this method on the Food Network Kitchen app, too.

December 05, 2019

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One of the best things about working at Food Network is the constant stream of inspiration for weeknight dinner, party food and holiday cookies. And while I feel pretty confident in my ability to pick out a winning recipe for any occasion, like many home cooks some of my skills in the kitchen still felt sub-par — specifically my knife skills.

Luckily, that's started to change because I've started regularly tuning into classes on the Food Network Kitchen app. The most useful lesson I've learned to date? How to properly dice an onion. Not only is this common recipe step extremely easy to execute, but nearly every chef from Bobby Flay to Jet Tila does it the same way. Here are the highlights.

Don't Peel the Onion Whole

The first of many mistakes I was making was trying to peel the onion before slicing it in half. As Jet Tila puts it in his General Tso's Chicken class, “Don’t try to peel the onion in a round unless you really are angry at someone and you can make them do it.”

And Leave the Root Intact

Before you do anything else to the onion, Jet suggests you cut off the tip and just a bit of the root to create a flat surface on both the top and bottom of the onion. Don’t cut off all of the root, as the remaining root will help keep the onion intact while dicing. Slice the onion in half from top to bottom (you'll basically slice the root in half). Then peel your onion. Once you have two peeled halves, this is where things start to get interesting.

Then Get Slicing

With the flat side of the onion on the cutting board, press down on the top with the palm of your hand. You’ll want to cut the onion horizontally about three times, depending on how large or small you want your dices, without going all the way through the onion (remember, the root end should remain intact!). Once those cuts are made, rotate the onion 90 degrees, and make a few vertical cuts starting just before the root. Now, you’ve set yourself up for perfectly sized dices when you slice through the onion.

It never occurred to me to create all the cuts with the onion intact, requiring just a quick pass through with a knife — and it truly could not be easier.

While I can attempt to walk you through the skill here, it's really helpful to see it done by a pro. Take it from me — just a few classes in and I feel like I can dice an onion in my sleep. To learn how to cut an onion and other techniques from Food Network chefs, download the new Food Network Kitchen app. If you sign up now you’ll be able to drop in on classes to learn even more tips, tricks and recipes.

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