Best Way to Stop Onion Tears? Put Bread In Your Mouth

published Dec 8, 2010
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Do you know this tip? To stop stinging eyes and tears when cutting onions, put a piece of bread in your mouth and let it hang out while chopping. Have you tried this, and does it work for you?

I had never heard this tip until I took that cooking class in Paris in the fall. One of the participants mentioned it, and so of course I had to try it as soon as I was in my kitchen at home.

Now, usually I wear contact lenses and have no trouble with crying or stinging while cutting onions. But if I am not wearing contacts, my eyes are extremely sensitive to onions. Sometimes I have to turn around and wipe them with a damp towel before continuing to cut the onion. So I was very curious to see how this would work for me.

I read a little about it; many people on messageboards felt that it was an old wive’s tale and that it didn’t do a thing. Others swore by it.

When I tried it for myself, I put a big chunk of bread in my mouth and let it hang out part way. My mouth began watering immediately, which was a little uncomfortable. But as I chopped a big, fat, pungent onion, I didn’t tear up at all. My eyes didn’t sting, and as long as my mouth was watering around the bread, my vision stayed clear.

I’ve done this several times now, with good success. I don’t know why it works — but for me at least it seems to work well.

Have you ever tried this method? How did it work for you?

(This post is dedicated to my husband, who was a good sport to let me take such a goofy picture of him late at night!)

(Image: Faith Durand)