Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Simple Kitchen Shortcuts: Onion Ice Cubes

If you're anything like me, chopping onions is not one of your favorite kitchen activities. Quite often, when I use an onion for a recipe, I use a half an onion or maybe a quarter of an onion. The rest of it I throw into a Ziplock bag and stick in the fridge for later use. The next time I pull the bag out, the onion is usually a bit squishy and growing things on it and is instantly heaved into the trash. There go my precious pennies that I spent on purchasing that onion. The following shortcut will save you time, money and possibly a few onion tears as well.

A few weeks ago, onions went on sale for $0.88 per bag. I purchased one bag of onions at that price. I didn't think I'd be able to use an entire bag of onions before they started going bad so I decided to create some onion ice cubes.


A cutting board
A large, sharp knife
My beloved Vitamix (a regular blender or food processor should work as well)
A couple ice cube trays

Coarsely chop your onions into about 1 inch pieces. Throw one or two chopped onions into your blender. Blend the onions until they're minced into a size you can use in your recipes. You probably don't want to actually puree the onions. Using a spatula, spread the minced onions into your ice cube trays and freeze. Repeat with any remaining onions. Once the onions are frozen thoroughly, remove them and put them into a Ziplock bag with the date written on it and what it contains. Each ice cube tray will contain approximately 1 tablespoon of minced onions.

Tip: If you'd like some onions finely minced and some a bit coarser for different recipes. Process them differently in your blender and freeze and label accordingly.

Next time you're cooking a recipe and it calls for 1/2 an onion, all you have to do is go to the freezer and pull out two or three onion ice cubes and throw them into the pot. This method will save you time every time you need to use onions in your recipes because you won't have to spend five minutes chopping onions. Wahoo! It will also save you money as you can purchase your onions at the lowest price-point and you'll have less waste because you won't be throwing away half-used onions each month. Best of all, you don't have to actually cut all the onions yourself and deal with burning, teary eyes. Hope you have fun making some onion ice cubes this week!


  1. This is such a great idea, I never thought of doing this with onions!

  2. I tried this, but my ice cube trays and freezer reeked of onions for weeks! Did you have that problem? I wonder if I did something wrong...

  3. No. Overall, I didn't think my onions smelled super strong. I used white onions. I smelled onions a little at first but I bagged the onions a day or two after making them. My deep freezer didn't smell after I did that and the ice cube trays I just washed in the dishwasher and they were fine. Maybe if you put a box of the fridge/freezer baking soda in your freezer it would help get rid of any lingering smell quicker.

  4. Fantastic idea! And I love the idea of only having to cut the onion(s) once! I cry every time. :-)

  5. @Jessica, you probably used what is commonly known as "Cooking onions." You can typically buy them all year around and they are pretty cheap and plentiful (I can buy 3-4 pounds for 2 or so bucks at my grocer) There isn't anything wrong with a cooking onion, but they are the most common variety. Still a great taste and wonderful to cook with. Other varieties are not always available throughout the year. I'd suggest hitting up your local farmers market this spring when white onions are available to purchase. Fresh onions typically haven't had time to harden up and grow their paper skin- and they taste really good too! The smell is mild and you can generally get away with a non-smelling freezer.

    I can relate though! One time while cooking for my sister in law's baby shower, I chopped a bunch of onions and it made my refrigerator reek! However, my dad wasn't in town so I took them down to his house and stored them in his empty garage refrigerator. But I can completely sympathize!