The Chiffonade, A Knife Skill You Can Absolutely Ace

It sounds fancy, but you can master the next-level knife skill of the chiffonade cut in just seconds.

If you've ever ordered a dish at a restaurant that came out with gorgeous strips of fresh herbs sprinkled on top, odds are that herb was cut in the chiffonade style. In French, "chiffonade" means "made of rags." In culinary terms, it refers to thin strips of fresh herbs, lettuce, or other leafy greens. You pronounce "chiffonade" like shif-uh-nahd or shif-uh-neyd; both are acceptable. Cutting an herb or a leafy green into a chiffonade is not only attractive, but it also helps release flavor. The technique also makes quick work of chopping. You'll most commonly see chiffonade called for when using basil, but you can use it for salads and other dishes too.

cutting leafy herb on cutting board
Kritsada Panichgul

How to Chiffonade

The only tools you'll need to chiffonade basil or any other leafy green ingredients are a chef's knife and a cutting board. Start by thoroughly washing your produce, then proceed as follows:

  1. Stack the herb or lettuce leaves. Starting with a long edge of the stack, roll up the leaves.
  2. With a small, sharp knife, slice across the roll into thin strips, about ⅛ inch or thinner.

There you have it—no more questioning just what chiffonade is when you stumble upon it in a recipe. You've got all the knowledge to conquer this cut.

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