The one tear-free onion cutting trick that actually works!

This. THIS is a good one.

I’ve heard all kinds of old wives tales about how to stop yourself from crying when you’re cutting onions. Haven’t you? Do any of them really work?

Not for me, they don’t.

It’s amazing how dramatic dinner preparation can get sometimes when you take a sweet little onion, that brings so much joy and flavor to your dishes, and try to actually put it into whatever you’re cooking.

It’s worth the tears and all, but why go through that if you don’t have to? Which is why people are always trying to figure out how to do that. And failing.

Well, the one trick that does work is really simple. So, so simple. Like, so simple I feel funny even writing a  whole post about it. Like, caveman simple.

Me. Jane. Fire. Make. Onion. No. Ouchie.

So that’s it.

In case you don’t speak caveman, all you need to do is light a candle next to where you’re working and the flame will burn most of the evil tear-creating onion juices out of the air. It really works! I think it’s kinda like when you have a fireplace on and the air gets really dry because the fire burns all the moisture out of the air.

Anyway. It’s amazing. And it makes me happy. Or at least it makes me look happier when I’m cutting onions!

Try it out!




  1. says

    Its actually oxidizing the irritating chemical created when you break the cell walls of the onion. How do you get it to work for you? I’ve tried and tried it, but I would have to burn down the house to get enough flame to keep my eyes from burning up!

  2. Anonymous says

    If you start slicing the onion from the root end instead of the top there is much less
    “tearing” because the irritation comes out the top.

  3. Anonymous says

    I always chew a piece of spearamint gum while I cut onions. I put a piece in my mouth right as I start and it always works for me. =)

  4. Kaci says

    When I cut onions I cut my onion in half and run each side under really cold water. It gives me a few minutes to cut them tear free. Sometimes if an onion seems to be more pungent than normal I will place both halves in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes before I chop it up. If I’m not going to be throwing them in a pot or pan right away I will keep the chopped pieces in a bowl of cold water so the smell doesn’t linger around the kitchen.

  5. Anonymous says

    The best way is to use lemon juice on the knife before cutting. The candle trick didn’t work for me, my husband saw the lemon juice trick on a science show and it is the only thing that works for me and it didn’t leave a lemon taste to the onion.

  6. Anonymous says

    Take a sip of water and keep it in your mouth while cutting the onion. Thats the best way to keep my eyes dry 😉

  7. says

    It sounds ridiculous but if you bite on a wooden spoon while you’re cutting your onions, you WONT tear up. I promise you it’ll work!

  8. Elle says

    The candle is sound advice. I usually open a window and cover my mouth and nose, so as not to breathe in the fumes. Depending on the strength of the onion, it works. The only other day it resulted in a terrible sore throat (I already had a cold) and the taste of onion for hours, but no tears. Which makes sense: it’s a nervous system reaction, the tears being a side effect. It doesn’t directly affect the eyes. As you said, everyone reacts differently. Ladies, I’m pretty sure she meant it when she said that the list of nonsense y’all enumerated doesn’t work for her. And of all the suggestions, the candle makes the most sense. Thanks for that.

  9. Cara says

    I’ve tried all these tips and they don’t work for me. I wear swim goggles when I cut onions. It works like magic. No watery eyes, no runny nose. I could cut onions all day with my goggles on. Who cares if my husband makes fun of me!

    • Barb says

      I wear swim goggles, too! I have tried every single trick imaginable (including this candle one), to no avail. I am so sensitive, that sometimes just cutting green onions makes me tear up (usually only when I’m pregnant, it’s awful)!
      Totally get made fun of, but it’s worth it!

  10. Alona says

    Nothing ever worked for me. Then the hubby bought me a pair of “onion goggles” and my eyes have never been happier.

  11. Elizabeth says

    Hubby and I both use contact lenses and they have the added benefit of keeping you eyes from tearing up over onions. What gets me is when I start with an onion and I forget I’m not wearing them!

  12. says

    Another solution: I bought a small battery powered fan and set it on the counter so it blows across the cutting board where I usually do my cutting and chopping. It blows the onion gasses away, the batteries (AA) have lasted more than a year and No Tears. I found this out accidentally during one summer when I had an oscillating fan blowing across my kitchen from the dining area. The onions I chopped never bothered me and when I figured out why, I looked for a small fan and found a folding fan that fits in the drawer below the counter. I can operate it one handed, folding down the base and sliding the power switch and it is easy to put away.

  13. Laurinda says

    The freezer trick works. It takes 10-15 minutes of freezer time to start to freeze the juices, without freezing the whole onion. I recommend using a timer, because you can’t cut it up if it’s completely frozen, & it gets limp once it’s thawed.

  14. Rhonda says

    All you have to do is bite a stick match between your teeth while cutting the onion. The sulfur tip somehow dissipates the onion fumes that make you tear up. Make sure the sulfur tip is outside and you do not have to light it.

  15. hiyee says

    I cut in bulk for a restaurant. I slice top and bottom while running under water, then put in a container of ice water and chill in freezer for about 20 minutes. The onions stay fresh but no tears :)

  16. Patty Millikin Furkin says

    When I buy a bag of onions, I put them in individual ziploc bags, for convenience, and put them in the crisper in the refrigerator. There they stay until they get used. Haven’t cried over onions in years!

  17. Robin Mullin says

    It works, i have been doing this for years. i usually have two candles burning . one on each side of me.

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