Knife Skills 101

For the unseasoned home cook, recipe jargon can be a bit puzzling. Have you ever wondered how small you should chop a carrot or felt confused about the difference between dicing and mincing? This guide demystifies six of the most common knife cuts, so you can approach your next kitchen project with confidence.

When in doubt, try imagining the finished dish as you’re prepping; that should give you a sense of how big or small you’d like the pieces to be. And be sure to sharpen and hone your knives regularly to reduce the risk of cutting your finger instead of the onions. (For advice on how to hone your knives, see “How to Hone Your Knives.”)

Chiffonade

Ideal for cutting flat-leaf herbs like basil into fine ribbons. Stack the leaves, roll lengthwise, and cut across the roll into narrow strips.

Chop

Cut into smallish, squarish pieces; uniformity is not important.

Cube

An informal term for cutting food into more or less bite-sized pieces.

Dice

Produces uniform-size pieces for even cooking. A small dice is 1/4 inch; medium is 1/2 inch; large is 3/4 inch.

Julienne

Cut veggies or fruits into long, thin, matchstick-like strips.

Mince

The smallest cut, mincing is common with garlic and other pungent ingredients you want to permeate the whole dish. Try to mince to 1/8-inch pieces or smaller.

 is an Experience Life senior editor. This originally appeared as “Choice Cuts” in the May 2019 print issue of Experience Life.

Related at Care2

Photo via Getty Images

33 comments

Mike R
Mike Ryesterday

Thanks

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Kathy K
Kathy K2 days ago

Thanks

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Hannah A
Hannah A3 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D3 days ago

Thanks

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Dennis H
Dennis H4 days ago

Thank you.

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D4 days ago

Excellent article for the beginner cook. TYFS. When someone asks me what a certain type of cut is I just show them - it's easier that way. Now I can also refer them to this article. Irene S I agree with you - blunt is by far more dangerous than sharp!! Thank you for posting that.

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Irene S
Irene S5 days ago

@ Colin C., I once worked as a professional cook and there were more accidents with blunt knifes than with the razor sharp ones.

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Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace5 days ago

Thank you

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Richard E Cooley

Thank you.

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn5 days ago

Many thanks to you !

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