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How to Produce a Chiffonade

How to Produce a Chiffonade


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Learn how the pros quickly and easily cut ribbons from flat leafy greens and herbs

Aurelie Jouan

This technique can be applied to any wide, flat leaf.

Chiffonade (the French word for “made of rags”) is a technique for cutting long thin strips of herbs and leafy greens. Though it’s typically used to quickly (and easily) create a beautiful, fresh herb garnish for dishes like soups or pastas, it's also a good way to cut larger leafy greens into strips for salads or stir-fries.

Here’s an easy way to produce a chiffonade.

First, wash your leaves to remove any dirt and gently pat them dry with a clean towel. Next, stack them one on top of the other into a small pile. Be careful that you don't stack too many at once or they will be difficult to roll.

Then, roll the leaves tightly in a length-wise direction, so that you have the longest possible roll.

With your fingertips tucked back to avoid getting cut, carefully slice through the roll at even intervals to produce long, thin, ribbon-like strips.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.


How to Chiffonade

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 15 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.

The wikiHow Culinary Team also followed the article's instructions and verified that they work.

This article has been viewed 44,583 times.

You could just chop your leafy greens such as basil, spinach, lettuce or sorrel, or you could practice this technique of cutting them into "rags" or what typically looks like ribbons. The chiffonade technique is based on French cooking, although other cuisines use this technique, too. It's ideal for garnishes, pastas, salads, and more.

  • Make sure you're holding it correctly. Your fingers should be curled so your knuckles face outward on top of the handle, close to the blade. Your four fingers should all be on the same side. This is called the "claw grip" and it's how chefs do their quick, efficient work. [2] X Research source

  • For basil, keep in mind that you don't really need it until the very end. If you want to hold off on cutting the basil and adding it to your dish, you can. It's delicious raw and the short blast of heat brings out its flavors. [3] X Research source That and once you chiffonade, you don't want to give it a chance to brown.
  • The closer your cuts, the smaller your shreds will be. Most people chiffonade at about 1/8" wide (.3 cm).
  • Use a rocking motion so you don't have to pick up the knife every time this will seriously speed up your cutting time.
  • Use a cutting board underneath your leaves to avoid marring your countertop or table.

  • Never made pesto before? Homemade is definitely the way to go. And you're in luck – wikiHow has an entire category devoted to the creation.

  • Not so keen on the salad by itself? This type of cut lettuce is good for a topper to any Mexican food, too. Who said "healthy tacos" can't be a thing?

  • And what's even better? 15 minutes to throw together, and about 20 minutes or so to prepare. You can have an amazing dinner ready to go in much less than an hour.
  • This is a healthy meal that can fit many diets. If you up your cooking skills in the herb and veggie department, a boring diet can be turned into something much more sustainable and exciting.


Take your stack of leaves and put them down on a cutting board. Then, working your way from the top down roll the leaves up tightly.

Get a sharp knife (See Tim Anderson's Knife Sharpening Instructable if necessary) and begin to cut thin strips off of the roll. I am using my non-knife hand to take the photo, but it should be holding the roll in place.

If you are familiar with fine chopping then do whatever you normally do to protect your fingers while you cut.

If you are new to making cuts with a sharp close to your fingers then it can be a good idea to fold your fingertips under the hand that is holding the food in place. You can use your upper knuckles to guide the side of the knife as it moves up and down to make the cut. This isn't the most comfortable way to cut, but it will definitely protect your fingers since they will be safely kept out of the knife's way.


How to Chiffonade

Cutting leaves like lettuce or basil into long thin strips is easy. Chef Kelly Senyei demonstrates how to chiffonade basil.

I'm Kelly Senyai with epicurious.com

and this is how to chiffonade.

To chiffonade just means to cut your food

Today I'm using basil and it's important

that the basil's been washed and thoroughly dried.

I'm gonna pluck a few leaves from the plant.

You want about four or five.

Next we're gonna stack the leaves on top of each other

and then you're gonna roll them up tightly.

Using your chef's knife, make long thin cuts.

And then separate them into pieces.

And it's as simple as that.

For more recipes and tips, head over to epicurious.com.

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If you’ll be storing your herbs before you slice them, grab a glass or ceramic container filled with about 2” of cold water and place the herbs with the stems submerged in the water. Gorenstein says you can also wrap each bunch individually with a damp paper towel and store them in one of the drawers of your fridge. (Check on them each day to make sure the towel remains moist.) This procedure should keep your herbs fresh for about four to six days.

For larger soft-leaf herbs like basil, mint, or cilantro, Gorenstein recommends a slice or chiffonade. Here’s how:

  1. Pick the leaves off of the stems (save the stems to add flavor to a sauce or stew, or chop them very finely to add a more pungent flavor to the dish).
  2. Pat leaves dry with a paper towel. Make sure they are completely dry to avoid bruising.
  3. Arrange leaves in a small pile and use the chef’s knife slice to your desired thickness by making a swift motion with your hand.
  4. Avoid doing more than a single cut per strip to avoid bruising of the herbs.

For herbs with smaller, stronger leaves like parsley, the chef recommends chopping:

  1. Pat leaves dry with a paper towel. Make sure they are completely dry to avoid bruising.
  2. Remove the thicker part of the stems by making a cut, just before the leaf bunch ends. Thinner stems are OK—they will add a stronger flavor.
  3. With your hands, form a little ball by pinching the herbs together.
  4. Use the chef’s knife to slice very thinly across by making a swift cut. If you desire a smaller cut, turn the herb pile 45 degrees and cut again by making a swift motion with your hand.
  5. Avoid cutting with the knife more than two to three times to keep the herbs fresh and free of bruises.

Cooking Techniques

In French this means "made of rags," so slicing a food into very thin strips is known as a chiffonade. Lining up the leaves of spinach and slicing across yielding long thin strips is a chiffonade. This is also done with herbs, such as basil or mint, by stacking the leaves, rolling them up in a tube (if desired) and cutting across the roll into ribbons.

  • Stack the leaves flat.
  • Place the stacked leaves on the cutting board,
  • and slice crosswise to yield thin strips.
  • This is called a "chiffonade."

Use your fingertips to grasp the long edge of the basil leaf stack closest to you and start to roll up the leaves. You want a nice tight cigar-shaped little bundle. This is the key to cutting a beautiful chiffonade since it makes it easy to cut the leaves cleanly and evenly into matching slivers.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 fresh chives, finely chopped

Fill a medium saucepan 3/4 full of water add beets and salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer beets until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain set aside until cool enough to handle, about 12 minutes. Using a paper towel, rub off beet skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch pieces, and set aside.

Peel eggs, and separate yolks from whites. Cut whites into 1/4-inch pieces set aside. Press yolks through a fine sieve into a small bowl set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, drizzle vinaigrette over each aspic serving. Spoon reserved beets, egg whites, and egg yolks over top, and sprinkle with chives.


Roll Up the Mint Leaves

Once you have your even little stack, use your fingertips to grasp the long edge of the leaf stack closest to you and start to roll up the leaves. If you can picture how a cigar is rolled, that's the basic idea. You're taking a stack of mint leaves and turning them into a long cylinder roll the mint leaves into a tightly bundled cigar shape.


101: how to make a “chiffonade”

Ever notice those ribbon-like piles of fresh herbs in food magazines, or on your plate while dining out? They actually have a name – “chiffonade”.

Chiffonade is a fancy word for a simple technique, involving cutting herbs into long thin strips. It comes from a French word for “rag”, which I suppose refers to the appearance of the herbs after they’re cut.

Take any flat-leaf herb (like basil, sage or mint) and stack the individual leaves on your cutting board.

Roll them tightly and secure the roll at one end.

Using a sharp knife (or kitchen shears), make thin slices across the length of the roll.

Voila! A pretty pile to shower over your dish.

Easy, right? To avoid browned edges, slice the herbs just prior to serving. This technique also works well with leafy greens like spinach, kale and chard.

What’s your favorite kitchen technique? Send it on over I’d love to post it here!


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