How to skin an onion? (3 helpful tricks)

In this brief guide, we answer the question ‘ How to skin an onion?’

The three tricks that we will shed light on are:

  1. How to loosen onion skin?
  2. How to prevent onions from stinging your eyes?
  3. How to chop an onion for dicing versus slicing?

How to Skin an onion?

You can skin an onion easily by cutting off the top of the onion. Then slice it in half and peel off the outermost layer of the onion up to the root. Now you have a skinned onion.

Onion is crucial to almost every recipe; soup, pasta, stir-fried veggies. 

We cannot always buy every chopped vegetable straight from the store. Onion is one of the vegetables that we prefer to use directly from its shell. However, peeling an onion can be a troublesome task for some. It requires technique and practice. The papery onion skin tends to slip through our fingers, and the multilayered skin takes a while to peel it off. If the onion is unripe, you may need to heat it in hot water. The water helps to loosen the peels. 

 There are good reasons to peel your onions before they are cooked.  If you leave them on instead, they would alter the taste of the onion flesh. Also, peeling removes grime and undesirable microorganism that are hard to get rid of otherwise.

Onion is a tricky vegetable to handle; to deal with this, let’s discuss some ways on ‘How to peel an onion?’ 

Method 1

The things you need at hand are just your whole onions, a knife, and a cutting board.

Use a non-serrated knife instead of a non-serrated one. A serrated one would distort the shape of the onion bulb and cause the slices to be uneven. Using a serrated knife; on an onion could also hurt you.

The cutting board should be used exclusively for fruits and vegetables only. If you use the same cutting board used for raw meat, it can contaminate your vegetable. The reason is that raw meat and poultry are home to harmful bacteria and microorganisms.

If you must use it, then disinfect it thoroughly using dish-washing soap or bleach.

A point to note here; soak the onion in cold water for a few minutes; it will prevent your eyes from tearing up.

1.Place your onion on the cutting board with the stem part on the side.

2.Hold the onion firmly with one hand and the knife in the other.

3.Slice off 1/2 inch of the stem end of the onion and discard. Now rest the onion on the new flat part and slice the onion in half vertically. 

Note: You can leave the top of the part if you like because it comes off easily when you peel the skin off.

Cutting one of the ends part is helpful to prevent the onion from falling apart.

If you intend to slice your onion, we recommend chopping off both ends. To slice the other end, turn your onion around and make a slight cut off about 1/8 of the root. You need to get rid of the stringy roots but leave the hard root intact.

However, if you need to dice your onions, you should leave one end of the onion intact.

4.Use a sharp knife to slice the onion in half. If you intend to use only half of the onion, leave the peel onto that part and wrap it in plastic.

5. Place the large cut side on the board, where the shallow roots would be at the top. The onion and your knife should be steady to let it cut down the center and split it into two halves. Put the cut side flat on the board to prevent the fumes from burning your eyes.

6.Start with one of the cut-up onion pieces and cut it vertically. First, put on your chopping board, flat side down. Slice it up vertically but do not cut through the root. If you leave the onion root intact, it will make the chopping process easier.

7. You can now peel the onion. Grab hold of the outermost layer and peel it towards the root. If it is difficult to peel it with fingers then, use a knife. If the outer layer resists getting removed, then grab on the inner layer and peel it off. All of the skins can be removed and discarded.

You can cut off the flavorless green part as well from the onion.

Rinse the onion halves under cold water to remove peel residue. Rinsing the onion also helps to get rid of the sulfuric acid causing compounds that cause teary eyes.

Halving the onions makes it easier to cut them.

Method 2

This method is beneficial, especially if your onions are unripe.

Start by first cutting into half. Then get rid of the stem and the apex and discard.

Insert a fork into the flat side of the onion. Hold it closely over the hot pan. 

Heat it until the flimsy part of the onion becomes loose and can be peeled off easily.

Other FAQs about Onions which you may be interested in.

How much dried minced onion equals one medium onion?

How many cups is one large onion?

How to tell if an onion is bad?


In this brief guide, we answered the question ‘ How to skin an onion?’. We also explored some ways that can help us loosen the onion peels.