The Best Way to Chop Onions in a Food Processor

Chopping onions by hand can be a pain. It’s time-consuming and even more than that—it can be dangerous. You know what I’m talking about. Most people can’t help crying when they start chopping up onions for dinner. (I’ll touch briefly on the science behind that in the next section.) 

I think we can all agree that the last thing you want to lose when you’re handling a sharp kitchen knife is your vision. Why not opt to keep your digits safe and your eyes tear-free by using my handy tips for the best way to chop onions in a food processor? 

onion on cutting board

A peeled sweet onion, my favorite

In this article, we’ll take a quick look at how and why you should use a food processor for all your onion (and other veggies!) chopping needs.


Why Do Onions Make Me Cry?

While growing, onions absorb sulfur from the earth. The absorbed sulfur then helps the vegetable form a compound called amino acid sulfoxides. Then lachrymatory-factor synthase enzymes release as soon as we slice into those rich onion-y layers.

The enzymes mix with the sulfoxides making a sulfenic acid that hits your eyes right in the reflexive tear ducts and boom! You’re crying in the kitchen while preparing dinner.

Quick tips for reducing the onion tears:

  • Wear goggles
  • Chop the onion under running water
  • Try cooking or chilling the onion before slicing
  • Turn on a fan

OR—use a food processor!


So...you can chop onions in a food processor?

Yes, of course! If you’re wondering how to chop, dice, or grate onions using a food processor, let’s go over it together. First, let’s talk about blade selection.

What is the S blade on a food processor?

The S blade is one of the standard attachments for your food processor. Like its name suggests, the two curved blades on it mimic the letter “S.” Usually, this blade is made of metal, though some are plastic. Your food processor may have come with both options. 

The S blade, when used on the pulse setting, will mix and chop. When run continuously, it blends and purees. It is often used for fruits, vegetables, hummus, pesto, and nut butters.  

Fun fact: The “S” actually stands for Sabatier. 

Step 1: Attach the S-blade inside the working bowl of your food processor.

S-Blade of a food processor

S-Blade

Step 2: Peel and quarter your onion(s).

Steps of cutting onion

Step 3: Place the onion in your food processor’s working bowl and lock it into place. Lockdown the lid as well. 

quarted onions in food processor

Step 4: Use the “pulse” button 4-7 times, until your onions are as finely chopped as you want them.

start the pulse of onions
pulse-onions in the food processor

Step 5: Drain the onions, if necessary.

scraping bowl onions
food storage onions


The 3 Best Food Processors for Chopping Onions

There are many food processors available to choose from. Here are three of the top-rated with the best reviews to help you make an informed purchase. 


Best Mini Food Processor

I think it’s safe to say that everybody loves a Kitchenaid. Their appliances are top of the line. They’re committed to quality and they back up their products with one-year full warranties. 

What I love most about the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper is how compact it is.

It’s lightweight so you can easily store it and bring it out when needed, but it’s also small enough it doesn’t need much counter space if you want to leave it on display! 

Available in many fun colors, this mini food processor is also super duper easy to clean and has a convenient pour spout.


Best Budget-Friendly Mini Food Processor 

Don’t want to spend much? This little food processor from Hamilton Beach can handle your onion-chopping jobs just fine. 

This Hamilton Beach Mini 3-Cup Food Processor is charmingly easy to use. Simply fill the working bowl, attach the lid, and press down on it to begin the chopping action. Lift your hand back off to stop. 

Dishwasher safe parts make it easy to clean just like the mini KitchenAid. Hands down the best feature, however, is the built-in oil dispenser.

You can pour oil in while simultaneously chopping ingredients—great for making your own salad dressings! 



Best 7-Cup Food Processor

I saved my favorite brand for last. I rely on the Cuisinart 12-cup to make my show-stopping recipes, but if you’re mainly looking to chop onions and veggies a smaller size will do you.

The Cuisinart Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor will cost you more than the previously mentioned two mini processors combined. But, it’s worth it. 

It boasts a working bowl that holds twice the capacity of the KitchenAid and it comes with two discs in addition to its powerful s-blade. 

The two included discs are a slicing disc and a shredding disc. For those wondering if you can slice cheese in a food processor, with this option you sure can!

No More Tears

Armed with these tips (and hopefully a new food processing friend!), you must feel prepared to hunker down in the kitchen and bust out some batches of fresh salsa. Or maybe next time you host a party you’ll make a Sweet Vidalia Onion Dip!

Enjoy freedom from chopping a mountain of onions for the next big family event. A food processor will save you more than just time in your cooking adventures. Just think—no more tears streaming down your face leading to painful slices (or worse cuts!) on your fingertips. 

Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API