Technique of the Week: The Onion Cheat

Classic onion technique
The classic technique of making a series of horizontal slices across an onion intimidates some people. That’s why there is the Onion Cheat. This was referred to as the Quarter Roll Trick in the book because you start with an onion quarter rather than a half. It’s a little slower than the classic technique but for home prep no one will know the difference.

As always, cut the stem end off the onion, leaving the root intact. The root will hold everything together and keep your onion pieces from skittering all over the cutting board. Turn the onion onto its now flat stem end and cut in half through the root, then peel. Cut each half into quarters, again from root to stem.

Vertical slices in a quarter onion
Working your way across the onion, make a series of vertical cuts, pulling the tip of the knife down through the onion from root to stem without cutting through the root.

The Onion Cheat step 2

It only takes four or five cuts.

Now comes the cool part.
Step 3
Roll the onion over onto its other side. The vertical cuts you made before are now horizontal. Make the same series of vertical cuts on this side of the onion.

Cut across for perfect dice
And when you cut across the onion it falls into a perfect dice. Neat, huh?

Join the Conversation


  1. Pretty neat! I’ve been using Weinstein’s 6 steps, but your quartering before dicing is very clever. Thanks!

  2. This is a good idea, horizontal cuts can be dangerous if you’re not using a very sharp knife. Alton Brown recommend another method on Good Eats – a radial cut method – cut the onion in half as usual, then make downward radial cuts towards the center, then turn and cut across for the dice. This way you avoid the horizontal cuts and use the onions layers and shape to expedite the process. I think the traditional horizontal slices or this quartering method will result in a slightly more uniform dice, but the radial method is fast and pretty easy. Sorry, I couldn’t find a video.

  3. Great method, and if I may add cutting the onion into quarters lets you separate the outer skin from the onion easier than if the onion was cut in half.

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