When it comes time to enjoy a salad, you want those perfectly cut pieces. Chunks of carrots or cucumber can make it harder to eat with a fork. You need to learn the proper way to slice all of those ingredients. A julienne cut is not just for salads either. Chop up vegetables for tacos, stir fry, and soups. Even meats and fruits can benefit from a proper julienne cut. Here are a few things you should know to create those perfectly bite-sized ingredients.

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Learn the Julienne Cut

Anyone can dice, mince, and chop, but the julienne is a fancier cut for light meals, side dishes, and garnishes. The julienne cut is also known as the allumette or matchstick cut. In some circles, it is just called the French cut. A julienne cut is required for the ingredients in many recipes. When you want to master your knife skills, the julienne cut is perfect for any meat, vegetable, or fruit.

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Bell peppers on a cutting board.

What Is a Julienne Cut?

If a recipe calls for julienne cut ingredients, the food is cut into thin, long strips that have the appearance of matchsticks. These strips are often about 2 to 3 inches long, and they measure 1/16 to ⅛-inch thick. You might see the words "fine julienne." That means that the ingredients are sliced a bit thinner.

The julienne cut is considered the thinnest of all the strip cuts. The next largest cut is called the batonnet, measuring at ¼ inches thick. A julienne cut is the starting point for a cubed Brunoise cut. With that, the ingredients julienned, turned a quarter, and then diced, producing about 1/16 to ⅛ inch cubes.

The julienne cut is used for firm produce, such as carrots, celery, root vegetables, bell pepper, beets, and apples. If you walk into a grocery store, you might find items like matchstick carrots or French-style green beans. They all had a julienne cut.

Why use the julienne cut for your ingredients? For starters, that uniform cut will ensure an even and quick rate of marinating or cooking. When you add julienned vegetable pieces in a slaw or salad, it adds the perfect crunch to the dish. These pieces are easier to chew and provide a delicate texture to the plate. The julienne cut takes your presentation to the next level.

How To Julienne Fruits, Meats, and Vegetables

Before cutting any ingredients, you must assemble the necessary kitchen tools and follow these steps.

Gather the Rest of Your Tools

You need the right knife to cut your food. In many kitchens, the chef's knife is the best choice. It is the safest option to julienne fruits, meats, and vegetables. The blade of the chef's knife is sturdy, and it is an excellent blade to achieve those uniformed slices. It is also a simple knife that most people can easily maneuver. Some cooks and chefs might use a paring knife for softer vegetables and fruits. No matter your selection, make sure that your knife is well-sharpened. Most accidents occur when the knife is not properly sharpened. It should slide down the surface of the ingredient without giving you any resistance.

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Don't forget about the cutting board. There are two purposes behind these boards: they help protect the knife blade from damage and give you a flat surface to cut. Knives are dangerous, so you need a sturdy surface to prevent injuries. A wooden butcher block is a fantastic choice for cutting boards. Plastic, stone, and ceramic cutting boards can dull the knife's blade.

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Peel and Prepare Your Ingredients

You want to clean your ingredients before cutting. Wash them under warm water and pat dry. Always prepare your food for a julienne cut by peeling those vegetables and fruit. Any round fruit should have a thin slice off one side to provide you with a flat surface. With that, the vegetable will be stable and prevent any movement on the cutting board.

Make a Crosswise Cut

Place the vegetable on its flat side. While you could use a ruler, most people will eye the vegetable as they make a crosswise cut. Cut the vegetable into sections that are about 3-inches in length.

Slice Lengthwise

Take those 3-inch sections and slice them lengthwise into uniform slabs. They should be about 1/16 to ⅛ inches thick. If you have any rounded pieces, you can trim them or use them for another recipe.

Cut Into Julienne Strips

Now you want to slice those slabs into 1/16 to ⅛-inch strips. If you want to speed up the process, stack several of the slabs to cut at once. After that, you will have perfectly julienned fruits, meats, or vegetables. You can impress your guests with this handy knife skill.
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An Alternative Option - Use a Mandoline

If you don't feel comfortable with a knife, you don't have to miss out on julienned vegetables. You can take your vegetables or fruits and use a mandoline slicer. Most mandoline slicers have a separate julienne blade attachment. All you have to do is slide the vegetable or fruit down the mandoline. Some people prefer the mandoline since it is easier to get julienned ingredients.

Related: Mandoline Buying Guide

Use the Julienne Cut In Your Next Dish

You can make the perfect julienne cut on those fruits, meats, and vegetables with the proper technique. Your dishes will look great, taste fantastic, and cook evenly. Whether you use a knife or mandoline, creating julienned ingredients requires a few steps.

Are you thinking about adding a high-quality knife to your collection? At de Buyer, our knives and slicing utensils are made with fiber carbon, providing you with a more comfortable way to cut.