Tricks for Avoiding Irritated Eyes When Cutting Onions

Are you intimidated by the thought of dealing with onions when cooking? Don't let the fear get you down - simply follow these helpful tips to make chopping and using onions a breeze!


When cutting onions, the cells inside the onion release an enzyme called alliinase, which creates aromatic molecules that give onions their flavor.

This reaction also produces LF (lachrymatory factor) when certain substances are converted by LF synthase enzyme. When LF comes into contact with the conjunctiva, nerve endings send a signal to the brain indicating the presence of a stimulating substance. The brain then signals the tear glands to produce tears, effectively removing the irritating substance from the eyes.

Tuyệt chiêu thái hành tây không sợ cay mắt - 1
How to cut onions without making your eyes water (Photo: Internet).

If you cut onions for a longer time, more tears will flow to protect your eyes. So how can you reduce eye irritation when cutting onions? Here are some handy tips:

Cool the onions before cutting: Rinse the onions thoroughly and refrigerate them for about 10 minutes, or freeze them for 30 minutes. Cold onions react more slowly with the air, reducing eye irritation.

Chew gum while cutting onions: Chewing gum or eating something while cutting onions can prevent tears. Saliva secreted while chewing absorbs onion droplets before they reach the eyes.

Spray vinegar on the chopping board: Mix water and vinegar in a 50:50 ratio and spray the mixture on the chopping board. Vinegar stops the sulfur reaction. If ineffective, try using only vinegar, but be aware that it may affect the taste of the cooked onions.

Cut onions with a sharp knife: Use a sharp stainless steel knife dipped in water. This reduces eye irritation. Regularly dip the knife in water when cutting multiple onions or even just one layer.

Cut onions under water: Cutting onions under water or a running faucet dissolves sulfur compounds before they reach the eyes, making the process less uncomfortable.

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