The Easiest Way To Peel Cipollini Onions

The teeny tiny cipollini onion might be small, but it's definitely mighty. Translated to the Italian word for "little onion," cipollini are often no larger than the size of a golf ball. However, what these lack in size, they make up for in flavor. Beyond their adorable aesthetic value, the appeal of cipollini is actually pretty far-reaching. When served raw, the saucer-esque bulbs are crisp and juicy with a pungent zip that makes them ideal for pickling. But, cipollini onions are really at their best when cooked. 

In fact, because they're much sweeter than a larger onion, they lend themselves wonderfully to being roasted and sautéed. Becoming lusciously tender as they caramelize, it's no wonder that cipollini is the star ingredient added to grilled skewers, slow-cooked roasts and stews, and the occasional charcuterie board. Yet, while you might want to start adding these vibrantly semi-sweet onions to any and every recipe, there's probably one thing holding you back — peeling them all. Luckily, there's an effective way to get rid of those skins without driving yourself crazy.

The secret to an easy peel is a paring knife

Given how petite cipollini onions can be, you might be tempted to not peel them at all. While this might work in some recipes, more often than not, removing the skin is the best way to ensure a clean onion. Likewise, given that papery skins also don't fully break down during cooking, peeling also makes for a more texturally-pleasing bite. 

While most hacks to easily remove cipollini skins involve a brief boil and blanch to help skins slip off, there's another alternative that doesn't require pulling out saucepans. In fact, all you need is a paring knife. To effortlessly peel a cipollini, simply cut both ends (root and stem) of the onion, before using the paring knife to help remove the rest of the skin in one swift motion. From there, whole bulbs can be left as is or sliced into smaller pieces. But, don't just take our word for it, test out the method when whipping up a savory carmelized onion jam!