How to Cut Fruits & Vegetables

Master the mince, julienne like a pro and improve your overall culinary chops

There's a reason one of the first lessons a chef-in-training learns is how to properly use their knives. Mastering a few basic cuts can take a dish from so-so to oh-whoa, while saving you time in the kitchen.

But before you even think about juicy tomato slices, consider your tools: It's important to make sure your knives are as sharp as they were when you bought them. Dull knives are harder to control, requiring more force to break through crunchy carrots and thick zucchini—an accident waiting to happen. Invest in a quality knife sharpener from our partner, Work Sharp Culinary, to keep dinnertime hospital visits at bay, and then get to work mastering these four important cuts.

Dice It Up

One of the most common cuts you'll see in a recipe is the dice: large dice, medium dice or small dice. To dice bell peppers for a mouthwatering Texas red chili, cut off the stem end of the pepper, as well as the bottom. Split the pepper from top to bottom with one cut. Then core the pepper and discard the ribs and seeds. Slice the halves into strips. Finally, turn your slices 90 degrees and slice them crosswise for an even dice.

Julienne like a Pro

The julienne technique sounds much more complicated than it actually is, and is perfect for a spinach saffron dip crudités platter. First, peel your carrots and trim the ends. Cut crosswise into even lengths, then trim each side to create flat surfaces to prevent the carrots from rolling. Thinly slice each piece (sharp knives will be a big help here), then stack the slices and cut into thin strips, otherwise known as the oh-so-fancy julienne.

Master the Mince

Recipes like sous-vide chicken salad call for celery that's been minced, one of the finest forms of chopping. To mince your stalks, chop off the leafy tops and the thick white bottoms. Cut the stalk in half widthwise so you have two equal halves. Slice each stalk into quarter-inch lengthwise strips. Gather the strips into a small bunch and rock the knife over the strips to create smaller pieces. Now you're a mince master with the sharpest knives on the block.

Simply Slice

Every excellent apple galette starts with expertly sliced apples. First, peel your apple, cut it down the middle, then cut into quarters. Cut off the stem side of each apple section, then slice into equal pieces, so that each slice is roughly the same size. It's a piece of cake . . . or should we say pie?