11/04/2011 10:36 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How to Dice An Onion

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Watch this video to learn how to dice an onion in almost no time and achieve uniformly shaped cubes.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef Brannon Soileau from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to talk about onions today.

Get rid of all those myths in your head about crying. There is really no trick to not crying when you cut an onion. Bread in your mouth, match in your mouth, glasses with fans.... No. It's a part of the luxury of cooking. You kind of have to deal with it.

I've got a pretty large onion here. I wouldn't use a knife that was much more than about six and a half to seven inches long in this case. When you grip a knife, don't grip the blade up here in the top. You don't have better control like that. Grip the handle, that's what its designed for - with the forefinger underneath the tang here.

Let's talk about the onion. I cut the onion directly in half first of all, and then lay it flat. When you work with something that's unstable, this is when accidents happen. I cut it in half; now I have stability.

Now I'm going to peel it, and i'm just taking some of that outer tough skin off, leaving the root intact. So I make my first slice, and now I want to go a quarter of an inch after that for the second slice - not going through the root, but cutting as far to the top as I can. And again, all the way across the onion.

I'm going to turn the onion, and now I'm going to go up from the bottom of the onion to the top, another quarter of an inch. Once again, I'm going to cut up to the root but not through. I'm going to do it again, another quarter inch. Now I'm ready for my dice. I cut across horizontally, and what's going to happen is I have uniformity of shape.

I've just diced an onion that would have taken most people a lot longer to do, and you wouldn't have the uniformity that you see in that particular small dice.