How To Cut Onions For Fajitas (Step-by-Step)

Have you wondered how to cut onions for fajitas? It’s simpler than it looks, and takes 5 minutes or less. Here are quick and easy steps to get you the best fajita recipe. Before we continue, make sure you have an incredibly sharp knife (we don’t want to cry over sliced onions), a large red onion, and a large, stable wooden cutting board.

Overhead shot of onions cut for fajita veggies

Cutting onions for fajitas is simple because there’s no wrong way to do it. There are some simple steps to follow and two truly important tips that I’ll highlight below.


The Basics: What are Fajitas?

Fajitas are a staple in Mexican cuisine. And if you’re a fan of Chipotle, you probably know how fantastic fajitas can make your bowl, burrito, or quesadilla taste!

Fajitas are a mix of cooked onions and peppers that give your food a delicious touch of sweetness.

This sweetness comes from the lightly caramelized onions and peppers, which release sugars and give them a beautiful brown color and a slight crunch.

Overhead shot of fajita veggies on a white plate
how to cut onions for fajitas with peppers and onions

What Kind of Onions Should You Cut for Fajitas?

Red onions are the perfect choice for fajitas, and I highly recommend them because they don’t soften as much and keep their texture as they cook.

  1. They’re slightly less pungent, so they don’t overwhelm the dish.
  2. I just love the pop of color red onions add to any dish.

However, feel free to use your preferred type of onion, whether white or sweet yellow onion.

Can You Make Fajitas Without Onions?

If you’re not a fan of onions, you can make fajitas with bell peppers and instead of onion use a variety of colors. Get creative and add green, red bell peppers, and even a third, like orange bell peppers, for a beautiful pepper rainbow.

Instead of onions, add carrots, they caramelize beautifully.

Why Does the Way You Cut Fajita Onions Matter?

How the onions in fajitas are cut matters because you’re cooking down the fajitas so you want slightly thicker strips of onions and a radial is perfect for this.

If the onion cut is too thin or thick, it will affect your dish’s overall taste and texture.

You don’t want the onion disintegrating because it’s too thin, and you don’t want to be left with a mouthful of onion because it was cut too thick. And have you ever had onion slices so long that it almost felt like a noodle?

Fajitas are there to enhance the flavor of your dish.

So, What Is The Best Cut For Fajitas?

The best cut for perfect fajita onions is a radial cut. It might sound a bit technical, but it makes all the difference.

What Is A Radial Cut?

A radial cut means that you’re cutting slices from the outer layer to the center of the onion at a slight angle from right to left. There’s an angle because the onion is round.

So as you cut from right to left, you’ll notice that the outer layers will be slightly thicker than the layers at the center of the onion, think of a slice of cake. Because a cake is the shape of a cylinder, the cake is cut into a triangular shape.

Why Is The Radial Cut The Best For Fajitas?

Why is it called a radial cut? A radial cut of an onion simply means that you’re cutting it from the center at a bit of an angle.

Guide explaining How To Cut Onions For Fajitas with a pairing knife

The benefit of a radial cut is that it gives you control over the width and length of the sliced onion.

How To Cut Onions For Fajitas – Step-by-Step

Step 1

First, start by cutting the onion in half through the root to keep the onion together. The key here is that you want to keep the root because it will help you keep the layers of the onion together.

A guide with the image of an onion identifying the stem and the root
A guide demonstrating the ideal way to cut an onion in half making sure to cut through the middle of the root to keep the onion layers together

Step 2

Then, remove the dry outer layers.

Tip! Make sure the paring knife or chef knife is sharp.

Carefully hold the onion on one side, with fingertips down on the onion as you slice the onion.

Make radial cuts while slicing the onion.

Make each slice roughly 1/4 of an inch thick or thinner, based on your preference. Keep in mind that when you cook the fajitas down, the onion will lose water and overall thickness.

Step 3

Once you’ve made all the cuts, release the ones still attached to the stem by cutting them off of the stem of the onion.

Top Tips

Make sure your knife is extra sharp

It’s easier to slice an onion with an extra sharp knife that won’t crush it and release tear-causing chemicals.

Use A Sturdy Cutting Board

A thick wooden cutting board is sturdy and makes it easier to slice the onion.

I learned a useful trick in culinary school that I want to share with you. If your cutting board keeps slipping on the surface, take a piece of paper towel, moisten it slightly with water, remove any excess water, fold it in half, and place it underneath the board.

This will help keep your cutting board stable and prevent it from sliding around while you’re using it.

See Below for Detailed Instructions


The Right Equipment For This Recipe

  • 1 Wooden Cutting Board
  • 1 Chef or Paring Knife (Sharp)

Now, once you’ve cut the onions, all you have left are the bell peppers for the perfect fajitas.


What To Serve With The Perfect Fajitas

Lime cilantro rice is the perfect canvas for this Chipotle pollo asado recipe, Chipotle copycat with fajitas – and if you have flour tortillas, try fajitas with this pollo asado quesadillas rellenas (Chipotle Copycat) Recipe.


Storage

Once the onions are cooked, store them in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

If you have raw onions, store them in an airtight glass container, ideally for up to a day. Remember that onions absorb odors and chemicals, so try and keep them in glass rather than plastic.

Reheating

Start by heating up a pan with a teaspoon of avocado oil over medium heat. Place the fajitas on the pan and reheat for 30 seconds to a minute.


Overhead shot of onions cut for fajita veggies

How To Cut Onions For Fajitas (Step-by-Step)

Olga Muñoz
The easiest step by step process for perfect fajita onions
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 people

Equipment

  • 1 Paring Knife
  • 1 Wooden Cutting Board

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Large Red Onion

Instructions
 

  • First, start by cutting the onion in half through the root to keep the onion together.
    overhead shot of half an onion on a cutting board
  • Then, remove the dry outer layers.
    Tip! Make sure the pairing knife is sharp.
    Carefully holding the onion on one side, with fingertips down.
    Make radial cuts while slicing the onion.
    Side shot of Radial cuts how to cut onions for fajitas
  • And you’re making the cuts at an angle, from right to left.
    Make each slice touch 1/4 of an inch thick.
    Once you’ve made all the cuts, release the ones still attached the stem by cutting them off of the stem of the onion.
    overhead shot of onions for fajitas on a cutting board

Notes

What Is A Radial Cut?

A radial cut means cutting slices from the root to the stem. And you’re making the cuts at an angle, from right to left.

Cutting onions can be a hassle, but with these top tips, you can make it much more manageable. Follow these steps for the easiest way to cut onions.

Make Sure Your Knife Is Extra Sharp

It’s easier to slice an onion with an extra sharp knife that won’t crush it and release tear-causing chemicals.

Use A Sturdy Cutting Board

A thick wooden cutting board is sturdy and makes it easier to slice the onion.
Keyword How To Cut Onions For Fajitas, how to cut onions for mexican fajitas, How to Slice Onions for Fajitas, The Perfect Way To Cut Onions For Fajitas
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