Food Guide

Crying Onion: The Surprising Reason Behind Why Onions Shed Tears

Why are onions crying? I’ll tell you why.

1. Onion tears are made of enzyme compounds, called lachrymatory agents.

Onions make you cry because they contain lachrymatory agents.

These compounds are what make onions so tasty and aromatic, but they also have a downside: they’re potent eye irritants.

When you cut an onion, the lachrymatory agents are released into the air and come into contact with your eyes.

This causes a burning, stinging sensation that can make you cry.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the tears when cutting onions.

First, make sure to use a sharp knife and a stable cutting board.

Second, it’s helpful to have a fan or vent in your kitchen to help move the air and keep the onion fumes away from your eyes.

Finally, try chilling the onion before cutting it.

This will make it easier to slice and will also reduce the amount of lachrymatory agents released.

2. Onion tears are designed to protect the onion’s reproductive organs.

The onion is a vegetable that is known for its strong flavor and ability to make people cry when they cut it.

The reason why onions make people cry is because they have a high concentration of a chemical called lachrymatory agents.

These chemicals are released into the air when the onion is cut and they cause the eyes to water.

Some people believe that onion tears are designed to protect the onion’s reproductive organs.

The reason for this is because onions are a plant that reproduce through seeds, and the tears are thought to help protect the seeds from being damaged by insects or other animals.

3. Onion tears are made of water, but do not make you cry.

The composition of the onion is such that it creates a watery substance which comes out of it when you cut it.

This water is the main reason that creates the tears and makes you cry.

Onion tears are solely made up of water.

Even if it doesn’t hurt us, we still have an instinctive reaction to cry when we get hurt.

However, if we were to get cut by something sharp, for example, we would likely cry because it hurts.

Therefore, onions must have some kind of defense mechanism that causes them to cry.

4. Onion tears can be used to flavor food.

Culinary uses of tears
The culinary or onion cry can be used to flavor food.

The onion is the only Allium species that is used as a vegetable.

It is one of the most widely used vegetables in the world and is especially popular in many European and Asian cuisines.

The flavor of the onion is due to the presence of certain compounds in the onion that are not water soluble.

When an onion is cut and the cells are broken, the enzyme allinase comes into contact with the sulfoxides and produces sulfenic acid.

The sulfenic acid then reacts with amino acids to form sulfonamides.

The sulfonamides have a very low flavor threshold and are the major contributor to the onion flavor.

The higher the temperature, the faster the reaction.

5. Onion tears can

You’ll notice that your eyes start to water when you cut into an onion.

That’s because onions have a lot more in common with us than we might think.

They’re made of a similar type of tissue as humans (collagen-based connective tissue).

The cells of onions are layered with INTERCellular spaces, just like human tissue.

And just like us, the cells of onions are embedded in a matrix of collagen and other proteins.

So what does this mean? When you cut into an onion, you’re not actually cutting the onion.

You’re cutting the collagen and proteins around the onion.

This damages the onion’s cells, which in turn, releases a series of chemicals that trigger an inflammatory response.

It’s this inflammatory response that causes your eyes to water.

In the case of onions, the chemicals that are released are sulfur-containing chemicals called thiols.

Thiols are also found in garlic and other members of the onion family.

But the key difference is that garlic and other allium family members have a thicker skin layer than onions.

So while you can still cut into them, you have to apply more pressure to break through the skin and damage the underlying tissue.


You won’t believe why the onion is crying.

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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