How to Cut Vegetables like a Chef
Basic Knife Skills
Becoming a master in vegetable cutting requires more than just a sharp knife. Before you start, you will want to make sure your knife is the right size for the job. The main four sizes of knives you should have in your kitchen: a 2 to 3-inch paring knife, a 4 to 6-inch utility knife, an 8-inch chef’s knife, and a 10-inch or longer slicer. Once you have the right knife, you will be ready to learn the basic knife skills necessary to cut vegetables like a chef:
- Slice: Hold the knife in one hand and the vegetable in the other. Make sure the tip of your knife is pointing away from you for safety. Use the tip of the blade to make long, thin slices of an even thickness. (Do not cut back and forth.)
- Chop: Hold the knife firmly and use a rocking motion with your wrist as you cut through the vegetable. As always, keep your fingers curled away from the blade.
- Julienne: Julienne is a type of thin, match-like cut where the vegetable is cut into thin strips. To julienne, cut your vegetable into thin slices and then stack them together and cut the pile into thin strips.
- Dice: Dice is a small, thin, square cut. Slice the vegetable into thin slices, then stack them and cut them into thin strips. Turn the strips perpendicular to your knife and dice.
Vegetable Cutting Techniques
Now that you know the basics of knife skills, it’s time to learn which knife and cutting technique is best for each vegetable.
- Cucumbers: Cucumbers are best sliced in thin slices or thin strips. Use a paring or utility knife for best results.
- Onions: Onions can be diced, sliced thin, or chopped in a variety of sizes. To get thin slices, use a utility knife. To dice, hold the onion in one hand and use a paring knife to make small cuts. To chop, use a chef’s knife.
- Carrots: Carrots are easiest to chop or julienne. To julienne, use a paring knife to slice thin. To chop, use a chef’s knife and make small, even cuts.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms can be sliced or diced. For thin slices, use a utility knife. To dice, use a paring knife and make small, even cuts.
These are just a few of the many vegetables you can cut like a professional chef. With practice, you’ll be able to cut any vegetable quickly and easily.