Technique: Chopping and sautéing onions

This post is really an ode to the onion – the unsung hero of cooking. It’s the most basic and prevalent ingredient in (Western) cooking. It goes into the making of any stew, risotto, stock, broth, and sauce. There are probably many ways chop onions, but here is the one that works for me.


  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbs olive oil for sautéing


I start by slicing the onion vertically in the middle. Then from the middle, start slicing 1/8 inch slices on either side, while holding the onion firmly together.


Then split the onion into two, with the cut side down.


Then slice lengthwise in 1/8 inch strips, and start chopping widthwise.


See it all in this video.


The result should be something like this.


Many recipes call for sautéing onions. And there are two gradations of how cooked you want the onions to be:

  • translucent – which means there is no browning or caramelization
  • golden – which means that they start browning and caramelizing on the edges of each piece.

For each medium onion you need about 2 tbs oil. Heat the oil in a fry pan, sauté pan, stockpot – depending on what you are making. Keep the heat high. Add the onions and stir well so that they are evenly coated with oil. Stir every minute or so, and continue frying until desired doneness.



Follow me on Instagram.