Onion Tears Gotcha Down? Tempted to Buy Expensive Pre-Chopped Onions? READ THIS.

Hip2Save may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you via trusted partners and affiliate links in this post. Prices and availability are accurate as of time posted. Read our full disclosure policy here.

More Tips

Collin crying over a pile of onions

These are certainly not tears of joy.

So I have a predicament that many people find themselves in. I love adding onions to my cooking (it’s one of my tried and true tips for flavoring keto meals), but I can’t stand chopping them. 😭 I mean, how do you even cut onions without crying? I tear up every single time I slice into one!

Did you know: The reason for onion tears is the chemical irritant syn-propanethial-S-oxide which stimulates eye glands to release tears.

price of whole onion compared to chopped onions

To be honest, I’m so often tempted to just cut my losses and pick up the pack of pre-chopped onions in the produce department. It’s just so not frugal, though! The precut packages can be up to five times the cost of just buying a whole onion and dicing it myself.

But it brings me back to the hassle of having to deal with the stinging tears each and every time I want to add a bit of oniony-flavor to my favorite dishes.

Luckily, when I took to Instagram to express my frustration, our awesome Hip2Save Community heard my cries and offered some advice to battle against my onion woes. Check out these tried and true tips, tricks, and favorite products so you’ll know how to cut onions without crying and without spending a bunch of money on pre-chopped onions! 🙌

1. Wear goggles while cutting.

collin wearing onion goggles while chopping onions

If you’ve got a shield for your eyes, the natural irritant won’t have much effect. Amazon, of course, sells pairs of goggles for this specific application. Not only are they a hilarious accessory, they actually do work as long as they are really tight around your eyes!

Hip2Save readers have mentioned that ski goggles, safety goggles, swim goggles, and sunglasses can work just as well. Even popping your contact lenses in can help shield your eyes from the onion gases.

2. Open up your mouth.

collin's daughter cutting white onion with mouth open to prevent tears

This unique idea stems from the theory that opening your mouth while chopping will cause you to stop breathing through your nose (you inhale from your mouth instead), thus preventing the tears from forming. Simple, yet effective!

3. Chew on something.

chewing gum while cutting onions to prevent tears

Another interesting suggestion is to chew on a toothpick or gum, which I’m also guessing is to force you to breathe in and out through your mouth. One reader mentioned that chewing on bread may also help, as (supposedly) the bread can aid in absorbing the chemical released. However, that may not be the best option for me with keto. 😆

4. Invest in an onion chopper or food processor.

using prepworks onion chopper to dice red onion

Not only does this cut my chopping time in half, but having the sliced pieces contained in plastic prevents the onion gases from making their way toward my face. No tears here, and it’s a time saver! Prepworks has a handy appliance that does the trick (though any small food processor would do).

5. Switch to a sweeter onion.

selection of yellow and vidalia onions at publix

It seems that the most potent fumes come from white onions, though there are more varieties of the vegetable available. Vidalia, Spanish, or yellow onions tend to produce less of the gas that causes tears and are milder in flavor.

6. Buy frozen packages of chopped onion.

package of frozen chopped onions at publix

I love this idea! It’s frugal and saves me the hassle of cutting the onion myself. You can often find bags of frozen chopped onion for only a little more than buying the onion whole, and they’re MUCH less than the pre-cut packages in the produce section.

To be even more frugal, you can chop multiple onions at once and freeze them in individual baggies for easy access in your next recipe. Check out some tips from HGTV for how to freeze chopped onions.

7. Combat the scent with essential oils.

bottle of young living thieves essential oil

I’m really not sure how this works, but I couldn’t believe the number of comments suggesting essential oils, specifically the Young Living Thieves bottle! Just by opening it up and placing it near the cutting board, the scent is said to take away the burn caused by the irritating gases.

8. Light a candle nearby.


lit candleSimilarly, lighting a candle and placing it nearby can help burn off the chemical in the air so it never gets the chance to stimulate the tear duct. All the more reason to stock up on candles!

9. Blow away the fumes.

small kitchen fan

Instead of burning up the gas, simply blow it away by placing a small fan next to the cutting board (which whisks it out of the air and away from your eyes). This method can also help when you’re sautéing the onions on the stovetop, too.

10. Chill the onion before cutting.

putting onion in freezer before cutting

Stick the onion in the freezer for 30 minutes before cutting, since the cooled vegetable will emit less of the chemical compound. You can also peel and soak the onion in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes before cutting. Some have even mentioned that chilling the knife can help, too.

collin wearing onion goggles and smiling

What’s your favorite tip?

Share in the comments below!

Try this onion bomb recipe over on Hip2Keto! It’s summertime hit!

Join The Discussion

Comments 65

  1. KJ

    I wear swim goggles when I chop onions. It is the most effective way I have tried so far.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Ooh! Great tip! I may need to try that! Thanks, KJ!

    • Kathryn

      Me too!

    • annie

      Swim goggles are definitely the only solution that worked for me. Tried many of the onion goggles and those never worked.

  2. mary b

    I think the chilled onion works best. However I have one of those choppers it’s called the alligator and you just slice and onion in half and place it on the alligator and it makes the finest chopped onion or other vegetable like bell pepper jalapeños etc. I love it

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How cool! I need to get one of those! They sure look convenient!

  3. Daniela

    I love cooking with veggies but I don’t eat them so I throw in peppers or onions whole for the pop of flavor and remove before serving.

  4. Sue

    I wear contact lenses and it acts like a barrier. No more tears for me. 😇

    • Polly

      Yes same here, I never tear up when chopping onions because of my contacts.

    • momof5

      Me too! I love when i wear my contacts when chopping onions and instantly remember when i am wearing my glasses. It frustrates my family members that have good vision

    • Pianoforte11

      Yup, contacts work great!

    • Priya


    • Jess

      I only wear a contact in my left eye, I had no idea that’s why I only cry out of my right eye when chopping onions! Mystery solved!

      • Sarah C

        Same! I thought I was immune to the tears but I have since chopped onions without contacts (glasses instead) and my eyes burned like hell. Contacts are the best barrier!!

  5. llc

    I do a combo method, chill it and use the candle. It is very effective.

  6. Melissa

    I have read that running the onion under cold water does the trick.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Great tip, Melissa! We’ll have to try that too!

  7. KGD

    Similar to the fan idea, I put a cutting board on my cooktop and crank up the vent hood so the fumes go up & out!

  8. Jane

    It’s the root of the onion that actually makes you cry. All you have to do is cut the root out before you start cutting. It’s the hairy bottom and it has a small core so make sure to cut that out as well.

    • Stacey

      Yes this is what they do in restaurants.

  9. Leah

    I cut them in a blender. Just peel and quarter and put in blender. Cover onions with water. Blend until they look chopped up, then strain. I usually do a large batch and freeze in individual use sizes in ziplock bags which I lie flat to freeze so they thaw quickly (or sometimes I just throw them in frozen and they thaw while cooking).

  10. Cami

    Everyone is so creative! I’ve just been sobbing like a baby and trying to avoid getting the tears all over my onions all these years LOL

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are not alone Cami! 😉

    • LynnNV

      LOL! Me too. 😂

  11. Angelica

    When I chop onions and my eyes burn, I put my face In the freezer to relieve my eyes within seconds

    • Amy Taylor

      Me too! Don’t know how I discovered this trick, but it’s my tried and true!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Oh I am SOOOO doing that next time! 🙌 Thanks for the tip!

  12. Jasmin

    I put a match in my mouth. (Do not light) Very effective

    • Christine Ridout

      Me too! My friend told me this tip after visiting family in Denmark. I was very skeptical but it works every single time. I just grab a wooden match from my matchbox and clench it between my upper and lower front teeth.

  13. JD

    A Star Hip2Saver is a recognized member of our Hip2Save community hand selected by our team for demonstrating a long history of engagement with helpful & friendly comments across Hip2Save.com and our social channels. Our Star Hip2Saver badge acts as a verification for readers who know the ins and outs of all Hip2Save sets out to accomplish — assisting our community to live extraordinary lives on ordinary budgets. Readers cannot pay or provide any sort of exchange in order to earn this badge. Rather, they are invited to participate by a member of the Hip2Save team and opt to have the Star Hip2Saver badge added to their profile & comments.

    I read this hint years ago. Chop the onions under water. Place onion in old bowl you don’t care about, cover onion with water and chop. When done place a plate or paper plate across the top of the bowl and drain off the water. Totally works.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Thanks, JD! Good to know that has worked so well!

  14. Meerasmom

    I swear onions are the base of everything we eat and I cook a lot. I have cut off the onion base, rinsed in cold water, and tried the candle and nothing has worked until I bought those amazing onion goggles Collin is wearing. I’ve had them for five years now and they are life changing, totally recommend! And the bonus is that the kids think my neon pink pair is totally over-the-top hideous. 😉

    • Erin

      Same here—I use onions and garlic in everything. I just decided life was too short to mess around with anything but sweet onions and peeled garlic. I don’t like putting onions in a food processor because it bruises them too much—I like a firmer texture. Sharp cutting implements help—I sliced a red onion (a rarity in my house) on my mandoline without tears last week.

  15. Malinda

    The frozen chopped onions are a staple in my freezer, as well as the chopped bell peppers. They’re great for throwing in to cooked recipes. I’ve even used them, in a pinch, for potato salad. (Just run them under cold water, in a strainer, to thaw and drain first.)

  16. Dawn1029

    I will try some of these 🙂 I usually use my food processor but I don’t like having to drag it out if I only need a small amount of onion. If you’re looking to use the EO trick give Plant Therapy Germ Fighter a try…cheaper than Thieves and it’s the same thing.

  17. melissa

    How are they a predatory MLM?

  18. KT

    Open your mouth when you cut them. You look ridiculous but it works.

  19. Lara

    Make sure you are using a SHARP knife. The knife cuts more cleanly through the onion and breaks less cells therefore releasing less sulfur gas to burn your eyes. And it’s easier to cut the onion too!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Oh interesting! Thanks, Lara!

  20. ellen

    A good, sharp knife goes a long way. Instead of mashing and tearing the onions cells, you will actually cut. The mashing and tearing causes all the watery eyes.

  21. Lase

    Sweet onions definitely make me shed sweet tears of joy

  22. Jen

    I buy the frozen, chopped onions – no waste since I pull out only what I need.

  23. Kristen

    I had friend tell me to turn on the stove top while cutting onions and it totally worked ! Just chop right next to it then turn it off ! Problem solved

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      That does sound like an easy solution! Thanks, Kristen!

  24. KimB

    I wet my knife before cutting and it stops the tears

  25. snpy496

    I’ve always stored my onions in the fridge and don’t have a problem with tears. I’ve actually forgotten that onions can make you cry.

  26. Rima

    I peel the skin of the onions and soak it in cold water for sometime. Then I slit/cut it in such a way that I dont cut its root ( I try to separate the remaining onion skin and throw away the root)

  27. Regina

    I tried the match stick between the teeth trick while you chop and it works! No tears.

  28. Jennifer

    I have heard you can light a candle and cut next to it. Not sure if it works.

  29. OregonLexy

    I work in the kitchen and as a server I’m in charge of making salad and what not that include onions I ALWAYS Have it under running water for at least 5 minutes and can chop it without crying 😊

  30. Tammy S Soik

    Do Not cut the root end until the end. It will keep the tears away. 40 plus years of prepping, very few tears.

  31. Steph

    I store my onions in fridge veggie bin. Never had an issue with tears & they last longer.

  32. kayti

    Run your wrists under cold water and make sure they stay wet

  33. Linda

    I saw this hack on “The Help”. I put a matchstick between my teeth. It really does work

  34. Kathy

    Always cut the end off last. That is where all of the fumes are.

  35. Rushi

    Put the onion in a refrigerator for few minutes before cutting. That way you won’t get runny eyes

  36. Nicole S.

    I am one of those people that onions rarely bother my eyes but if it does it has got to be a really strong onion. I feel so blessed not to suffer when cutting onions.

  37. *Angela-Miles*

    This probably makes me weird, but I hate onions 🤔…so whenever they are needed in a recipe I use onion powder. It flavors the food pretty well in my opinion. Unless I can just use a half of an onion while cooking and then remove it, the powder is my go to. Don’t like the taste or texture of onions, lol one of the few foods that I don’t really like.

  38. Martha

    Put a slice of bread in your mouth. Don’t chew it or eat it, just bite down on it while you’re cutting the onion.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Thanks, Martha! I’ll have to try that too!

  39. Chrisse

    I chop my onions while running warm water. It works. You need to be close to the water for it to work but it does work!!

  40. Janine

    Collin!!! I haven’t read all the tips in thr comment thread but… my mom told me that one trick is let a tinnie-tiny bit running water be nearby you as you chop! It is not very earth-friendly but I find that it works! I don’t know why? You might as well want to try… so I just have a basin or mixing bowl to catch the water or plug the drain so as I’m able to use that water and not waste it!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Thanks SO much Janine! I sure appreciate the tip!

  41. Kay B

    Have also tried rubbing with softened butter after one slice. It helps.

  42. Lisa

    I always slice off both ends, peel the skin then slice the onion in half. And then I walk away and let the onion “rest” for a few minutes. I usually see onion juice on the cutting board after this, so I think it may reduce the amount that gets “sprayed” when cutting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?