This $21 Amazon Find Has Been My No-More-Tears Solution for Cutting Onions (and More!) for Decades

published Apr 19, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

When I needed new clothes in high school, my parents would hand my more stylish friends the credit card, and my girls would take me shopping — which was totally fine with me! No one has ever accused me of being a fashion trendsetter, after all. I look back at unsupervised purchases like puka shell necklaces and sweater vests that I thought were so cool, and… ew. But there is one timeless accessory that’s been in my rotation for more than 20 years. An item that makes me happy every time I wear it, and that’s just as functional as it is, well, funny looking. Meet my trusty onion goggles.

I’ll admit, they’re not exactly the sleekest of kitchen gadgets. Okay, okay, they look downright ridiculous, but these babies have saved me a river of tears over the last two decades. I have always had extremely sensitive eyes (just ask my pediatric eye surgeon… ), to the point where my family would make sure I was as far from the kitchen as possible before they cut into an onion. My eyes still burned, but at least I wasn’t in agony. When cooking for myself, I either left out the onions, cried through the pain and kept slicing (hopefully just the onion, not my fingers), or called in a pseudo-sous chef for backup — none of which were ideal.

“Onions release a chemical that is very specific that targets the cornea, and the cornea has a ton of nerves,” Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, an ophthalmologist at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, has explained to Kitchn. It doesn’t affect everyone, but if you’re one of the (un)lucky ones like me, you understand the pain. So trust me when I tell you that these RSVP International Onion Goggles actually work. With anti-fog lenses and foam padding, they successfully shield your eyes from irritating vapors. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and secure, and when I wear them, my eyes feel zero of the sting they used to when freshly cut onions and I crossed paths.

I’ll tell you a story: My friend Gina and I have a weekly date to cook dinner together and watch “Survivor.” There’s always a ton of laughing, but perhaps none as loud as when she first saw me bust out my onion goggles. We both knew how ridiculous I looked — especially with my glasses on OVER the goggles! When we finally caught our breaths, she gave them a whirl, and It only took one onion’s worth of chopping with them on before she commandeered my onion goggles for the rest of the evening’s prep… and the following week’s, too. I gifted her a pair for Christmas last year, and now her fiancé laughs at both of our silly-looking selves.

Credit: Amy Gordon

But the coolest part? The goggles are so simple and well designed, that the ones I got for myself way back when are exactly the same as the ones I bought for Gina in December. (Why mess with perfection, right?) Over the years, I’ve even gifted the same ones to hairdresser friends and their clients to wear during Keratin treatments, as well as people I know whose eyes get easily irritated from seasonal allergies. Their reaction to the gift is always the same: lots of laughing, followed by (after the first time they wear them) amazement at how well these goggles do their job.

I’ve been cooking with onion goggles for so long that I honestly don’t even remember how I first discovered them. Not that it matters, really, because these days you can score a pair of your own from Amazon or Walmart (tortoiseshell — fancy!). Yes, it’s really true: For just $21, you can experience a lifetime of pain-free onion prep. A find this impressive never goes out of style.