Cooking Tips

The Easiest, Best Way to Cut an Onion? Learn the Leapfrog Technique.

You'll never dice onions any other way again.

Published July 16, 2021.

My least favorite part of dicing an onion is the horizontal cuts you have to make. You know the part where you make incisions with the knife parallel to the cutting board? I can never make the cuts even, and one time I gave myself a nasty gash.

Recently, my colleague Dan Souza showed me a newer, easier way of chopping onions that eliminates the horizontal cuts altogether. I’ll never go back to the old way. It was a method Cook’s Illustrated published some years back, only Dan gave it an intriguing name: The Leapfrog Technique. When Dan demonstrated this on TikTok, the video took off like a rocket.

For the TikTok averse/pro-still-images set, I’ve re-created the steps here.

1. Cut off the top of the onion and trim the root end.

2. Slice the onion in half, from the top down through the root. Think North Pole to South Pole, not through the equator.

3. Take one half of the onion. Once you peel off the exterior layers, and with the root on the far side, make vertical slices from right to left. You don’t want your knife to slice all the way through the root end (the far side); aim for about 80% of the way.

4. Cut this onion half completely through the root.

5. Separate the two pieces (technically, two quarters of the whole onion).

6-7. Tip each piece onto its other flat end. Their rounded backs should be facing each other.

8-11. Pick up the right piece and “leapfrog” it to the left side.

12. Push these two pieces together.

13. Make the same vertical cuts as you did in step 3. From right to left, not quite all the way through the far end.

14. Turn this entire half 90 degrees counterclockwise. Chop all the way through.

15. Diced onions, baby!

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