Get Rid of Onion Odor in an Instant with the Easiest Method Possible

Onions have numerous health benefits; however, not everyone can tolerate their strong odor. So how can we eliminate this pungent smell?


The antibacterial and odor-removing properties of onions are applied to eliminate the unpleasant smell of ingredients and compounds, add a mild spicy taste, and enhance the flavor of dishes. Thanks to its outstanding advantages, onions are familiar and useful seasonings in the kitchen.

When using onions directly without heat treatment such as raw consumption, salads, or cilantro in Bun Bo Hue, the strong flavor of onions can disturb the taste buds of some people. So what are the ways to remove the strong flavor while still maintaining the crispness of onions?

1. Put onions in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before slicing
This method does not reduce the strong flavor or make the onions crispier, but it prevents eye irritation and tears when cutting onions. The National Onion Association advises you to cool the onions for about 30 minutes before cutting off the top and peeling the outer layer (the root part contains the highest amount of sulfuric acid, so it should be kept to avoid eye irritation).

In reality, we can soak onions in 4 familiar solutions to reduce or eliminate sulfur compounds called thiosulfinates that create the strong smell of onions:

2. Soak grated onions in ice water
Cold ice water deactivates the sulfur compounds in onions, causing a pungent taste when eating onions and eye irritation when cutting onions. Soaking grated onions in cold water helps reduce the strong flavor and enhance the sweetness of onions. Raw onions might be difficult to eat, but when cooked, they become extremely delicious.

At the same time, cold water helps onions maintain a stable crispness in salads.

3. Soak onions in milk
Milk is also very effective in removing sulfur compounds but makes onions lose their characteristic flavor.

The fact that onions lose their characteristic flavor can be good news or bad news for some people. So you decide whether to soak onions in milk or not, depending on your taste and the dish you’re making!

4. Soak onions in acidic solvents (lemon, vinegar)
Soaking onions in acidic solvents like lemon or vinegar for about 15 minutes is effective in reducing the strong smell. However, the onions will have a strong acidic taste afterward, which may affect the overall flavor of the dish, except for salads, where the taste seamlessly blends in and should be noted.

5. Soak onions in baking soda

You didn’t mishear it. Soaking onions in baking soda diluted with water has been tested and proven effective by the Culinary Institute of America. Instead of trying to reduce or eliminate sulfur compounds in onions, the alkali nature of baking soda helps neutralize acid-based compounds in onions.

The noteworthy point in this method is that you must rinse the soaked onions thoroughly to avoid residual taste of baking soda.

Preserving unused onions
When soaking onions, the storage time of onions is reduced, so you should estimate the amount you will consume for soaking. Onions that have been peeled, sliced, or diced can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days by tightly wrapping them in plastic wrap or in a sealable food container.

Hopefully, with these tips, you will be able to remove the strong smell of onions and increase their crispness for onion-based salads such as chicken salad, beef salad, and octopus salad.

According to Nhip Song Viet

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