5 Basic Types of Knife Cuts in Cooking You Must Know

* This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure here.*

Cooking – putting everything together in a pot and then leaving it over the heat or inside the oven – is easy.

What’s a bit more complicated is preparation; which is almost always 70% of the whole process, to be honest.

But if you are patient enough to go through this and have the basics down first, you’re really good to go.

Sure, there are so many vital techniques that should be learned in cooking. But if you just want to prepare a delicious meal for your kids without having to go to culinary school, start with knowing the different cuts in the kitchen.

Consistent cuts don’t just make your dish appetizing. This also ensures that everything on your plate was cooked evenly.

Dice

This is slicing food – usually root crops like potatoes and carrots – into small, even squares. Stricter chefs will tell you that a good dice is about ¾ of an inch on all sides.

Variations of the Dice:

Medium Dice is half an inch on all sides.

Small Dice is a quarter inch on all sides.

Brunoise, an eighth of an inch on all sides, is the smallest dice of all. Almost like mince, but still squarish, this is used for garnishes.

Baton

This is cutting the food into thick, rectangular chips – just as you would with fries.

The chunkiest ones should be about 8 millimeters in width. The length is variable because this would depend on the size (length) of the fruit or vegetable.

Variations of the Baton:

Batonette is 6mm thin and about three inches long, often used for veggies sticks.
This is the starting point of the medium dice.

Allumette is a fourth of an inch by three inches and is more known as matchstick cut.
This is the starting point of the small dice.

Julienne is an eighth or sixteenth of an inch thin, thinner than matchsticks, and used for soups, salads, stir fry, and slaws.

This is the starting point of Brunoise.

Rondelle

This refers to any uniform round slice.

Carrots, beets, zucchinis, and radishes make the best rondelles since they start as long, cylindrical foods. However, this can be used for bigger ingredients such as sweet potatoes and even apples.

For best results, the mandolin is the best slicer for this job.

Something Similar to the Rondelle:

• The Bias may be considered as a style of this cut since you just need to slice on a diagonal and create oval shapes instead of rounds.

Chiffonade

This is completely different from the first three since the ingredient that is usually sliced in this manner are leaves – green veggies or leafy herbs like basil.

To accomplish this, make a stack of 5 or so leaves, rolled it, and then thinly slice on a slant. When released, these become thin strips that can be used on soups and stews or as garnish.

Something Similar to the Chiffonade:

Shredding with the use of a knife (and not a grater like you would with cheese) is almost like this particular cut, except that the ingredient is already ‘stacked’ such as the round cabbage or the Napa variant

Rough Cuts

Yes, this isn’t a specific cut but many others similar to the ones mentioned above but aren’t perfectly finished may be categorized under this:

Paysanne or Country-Style is an informal way of slicing ingredients into large, almost rondelle or bias pieces, but isn’t strict with the size or shape.

Chop is just cutting the food like you would a dice but, just like the Paysanne, isn’t perfectly square.

Mince is very much like the Brunoise but imperfect. To do this, just run the knife over the food on the board several times until they’re like grains.

Paste is when you continue to mince and then scrape the side of the knife over it, turning it into mush.

Most home cooks do the fifth type. And to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But if you do want to elevate your everyday meals, give the other cuts a try.

We are sure that you will immediately see the difference in the look and taste of your dish.

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Knife Knowledge
  4. »
  5. 5 Basic Types of Knife Cuts in Cooking You Must Know

My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.