How To Cut Onions For Kabobs?

Are you ready to take your kabob game to the next level? Cutting onions for kabobs may seem like a simple task, but the way you prepare them can make a big difference in the flavor and presentation of your dish. In this blog post, I’ll share some expert tips on how to perfectly cut onions for kabobs, ensuring that they cook evenly and add just the right amount of flavor to your skewers. Let’s dive in and elevate your kabob-making skills!

What are Kabobs?

Kabobs are a delicious popular dish in the middle east and north Africa made by skewering and grilling small pieces of meat, seafood, or vegetables, with an additional combination of  veggies cut into slices or 1 inch cubes like onion, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, and more. The ingredients are marinated in flavorful spices with olive oil and lemon juice or in a marinade like chicken marinade and then threaded onto metal or wooden skewers before being arranged on greased grill grates, or cooked over an open flame. This cooking method imparts a smoky flavor to the kabobs and results in tender, juicy pieces of food with a slightly charred exterior. The versatility of kabobs allows for endless combinations of ingredients, making them a perfect main dish choice for gatherings and cookouts. Whether you’re a meat lover, a seafood enthusiast, or a vegetarian, there’s are delicious recipes of kabob out there to satisfy your cravings.

How to choose the right onion?

When preparing kabobs, selecting the right onions is essential to ensure the best results, flavor and presentation. Here’s what to look for when choosing onions for your kabobs:

how to cut onions for kabobs

Types of Onions

I love using onions for my kabobs, and there are so many types to choose from! When selecting onions for kabobs, you can pick from yellow onions, sweet onions, purple onions, red onions, or white onions, depending on the flavor you prefer. Each variety adds its own unique taste to the kabobs, so it’s fun to experiment with different types to find your favorite. I personally like to use red onion with steak kabobs and veggie kabobs, but for chicken kabobs, I think sweet onion tastes much better because it adds a delicious sweet flavor to it. 

Freshness and Firmness

I always make sure to select onions that are firm and have a shiny, unblemished outer skin. This indicates freshness and ensures that the onions will hold up well when skewered and grilled. A firm onion will also be easier to cut into uniform pieces, creating a more visually appealing and evenly cooked kabob.

Size and Uniformity

Opt for onions that are medium to large in size, as they are easier to work with when assembling kabobs. Additionally, look for onions that are uniform in size so that they cook evenly on the skewer. This uniformity ensures that each onion piece will be perfectly cooked, adding to the overall deliciousness and depth of flavor of the kabobs.

For further reading on selecting the right onions, check out The Produce Moms for additional tips and insights.

How to cut Onions for Kabobs?

Peeling and Trimming

When it comes to preparing onions for kabobs, the first step is to peel off the outermost layer. This can be done by cutting off the top of the onion and then making a shallow slice through the skin, allowing it to be easily peeled away. After peeling, trim the root end of the onion, ensuring that the layers remain intact to hold the onion together while cutting.

how to cut onions for kabobs

Cutting Into Uniform Pieces

To ensure even cooking, it’s crucial to cut the onions into uniform pieces. I prefer to cut the peeled and trimmed onion in half from root to tip, then lay each half flat on the cutting board to create slices of equal thickness. For a more visually appealing presentation, I then cut each slice into quarters. This results in uniformly sized onion pieces that cook evenly on the kabob, or you can also cut them into wedges if that’s what you prefer.

By following these steps, you’ll have perfectly prepared onions that are ready to take your kabobs to the next level.

Tips for Minimizing Tears

Chilling the Onions

I’ve discovered that chilling the onions in the fridge for about 30 minutes before cutting can significantly reduce tears. This helps to slow down the release of irritating compounds, minimizing their spread into the air. I usually place the onions in a sealed container to prevent their pungent odor from affecting other foods. Chilling the onions also makes them crisper, which can make them easier to cut and handle. If you want to learn more about the science behind this method, check out National Onion Association’s explanation of chilling onions and it’s benefits for a deeper understanding.

Proper Cutting Techniques

In addition to chilling the onions, using proper cutting techniques can help minimize the amount of irritating compounds released into the air. I always use a sharp knife to make clean cuts, which helps to reduce damage to the onion cells and minimize the release of the compounds that cause tears. Slicing the onion near a steady flame or under running water can also help disperse the compounds away from your eyes. 

How to Skewer The Onions?

Choosing the Right Skewers

I absolutely love making kabobs, and one of the key elements to perfecting them is choosing the right skewers. I prefer using metal skewers as they are durable, reusable, and conduct heat, resulting in more evenly cooked ingredients. Wooden skewers are also a great option, but they require pre-soaking in water to prevent burning during grilling. When selecting skewers, consider the size of the kabobs and the type of grill being used. It’s essential to ensure that the skewers are long enough to hold all the ingredients securely, without overcrowding them.

Alternating with Other Kabob Ingredients

When it comes to creating the perfect kabob, the way you skewer the ingredients can make a world of difference. When alternating the onions with other kabob ingredients, such as bell peppers, tomatoes, or protein, it’s important to maintain a balanced combination of flavors and textures. The contrasting colors and tastes of the ingredients not only make the kabobs visually appealing but also contribute to a well-rounded flavor profile. I like to alternate between onions and more brightly colored vegetables or protein to create an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. This ensures that each bite is bursting with a delightful mix of flavors.

For more information on grilling techniques and kabob recipes, check out The Grilling Master for insightful tips and tricks.

Let’s continue the journey to perfect kabobs with the next section.

how to cut onions for kabobs

Leaving Space Between Chunks

To allow for thorough cooking and even browning, it’s crucial to leave a bit of space between the onion chunks when skewering them. This helps the heat to circulate around each piece, ensuring that they cook evenly and caramelize to perfection. Leaving a little room between the chunks also prevents them from steaming, allowing them to develop a delicious charred exterior while retaining their natural sweetness.

I’ve found that following these simple steps results in beautifully assembled kabobs that are as visually stunning as they are delicious. By alternating the onions with other ingredients and leaving space between the chunks, you’ll create kabobs that are bursting with vibrant colors, flavors, and aromas, making them a surefire hit at any gathering.

For more information on the art of kabob-making, you can visit Grilling Fools’ Guide for insightful tips and techniques on Kabobs.

How to Grill Kabobs?

Now that you know how to cut onions for Kabobs, let’s learn how to grill it. When grilling kabobs, getting the heat and timing just right is crucial for achieving that perfect char without overcooking the meat or vegetables. I start by preheating the grill to medium-high heat, around 375-400°F, then cook my kabobs over medium-low heat to ensure the meat cooks nicely without burning the kabobs.  

Proper Heat and Timing

I ensure the grill is well preheated before placing the kabobs on the grates, allowing for that immediate sizzle and ensuring the ingredients cook evenly. 

Flipping for Even Cooking

To achieve even cooking on all sides, I make sure to flip the kabobs every 3-4 minutes, using sturdy tongs to gently rotate them to a new side. This flipping technique ensures that each side gets that perfect amount of char and cooks evenly. 


In conclusion, mastering the art of onion cutting for kabobs is a simple yet essential skill that can elevate your grilling game. By following the proper techniques and staying mindful of safety measures, you can efficiently and precisely prepare onions for skewering without shedding tears. Whether you prefer large chunks or finely diced pieces, the key lies in maintaining a consistent size to ensure even cooking. Next time you want to cut onion for your kabobs, keep in mind these these tips, and you’ll confidently tackle any kabob recipe and impress your guests with perfectly prepared onions every time. I hope you know now how to cut onions for kabobs! Happy grilling!

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