The Best Way to Chop Nuts Isn't with a Knife

Here are the kitchen tools that make the cut
How to Chop Nuts Without a Knife
Photo: I_Neska via Flickr

Let's cut to the chase: You don't need a chef's knife to chop nuts. It may physically get the job done, but not without a flyaway almond or seven. Here are three alternative ways to prevent walnuts from ricocheting all over your kitchen while giving some of your lesser-utilized kitchen tools a new hat.

① Food Processor

Since it's basically just a mechanic cyclone of a knife, this one is a natural choice. It works best for when you need a larger amount of nuts chopped (though we suggest working in batches), and make sure to use the pulse function so you don't mindlessly go too far and end up with almond dust.

② Pastry Cutter

We find this trick works best on soft nuts like walnuts and pecans, which have the added benefit of flat edges to lie on as you work, meaning less chance of rogue nuts. As for round nuts, you can easily solve the problem by crunching them up in a bowl. This is the move if you're looking to chop just a few, like for garnishing a dish or adding to a salad.

③ Apple Cutter

This method is our favorite, because if you have an apple cutter, let's be honest: You're only using it to make pie one day a year. We saw this tip in America's Test Kitchen's essential read, What Good Cooks Know, and love how the tool contains the nuts as it cuts. It worked well for us on round, wobbly types, as well as the tougher nuts to crack, like almonds and hazelnuts.

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