Rub a sprig of fresh herb between your fingers and take a whiff. This gives you an idea of the vibrant flavor you're in for when adding fresh chopped herbs to recipes. Better yet, while herbs used to be a summer-only pleasure, now they’re available in markets year-round. Whether you grow your own herbs, pick them up at the farmers market, or buy them from a grocery store, you can count on them to freshen up your cooking. And you can count on us to show you how to chop thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano, and any other herb under the sun!
Before chopping herbs, thoroughly rinse fresh herbs under cool water and pat dry with paper towels or use a salad spinner to wash, drain, and dry them.
Fresh Herb Tip: This is no time to skip a step: Drying herbs before chopping them is essential—otherwise chopped herbs cling to your kitchen knives, your hands, cutting boards, measuring cups and spoons—you get the idea!
Unless otherwise specified in your recipe, remove and discard any tough stems from the herb before chopping.
Tip: For thyme: Once you’ve removed the leaves from the stems of thyme, you’ll often find that the leaves are so small they don’t need chopping, unless otherwise specified in your recipe.
An easy way to cut larger fresh herbs is to place the leaves in a measuring cup or bowl and snip them with kitchen scissors, using short, quick strokes. For herbs with tough stems, such as rosemary, strip the leaves from the stems first as directed above. The scissors method is the best way to chop fresh herbs for quick cleanup and for easy dumping into recipes.
Tip: Wondering how to chop herbs in a food processor? This method works best when you’re combining the herbs with other ingredients (such as olive oil) to make a paste. Otherwise, it’s easy for herbs to go from perfectly chopped to overly minced in seconds.
You can also chop fresh herbs using the superstar in your kitchen knives collection: the chef's knife. Choose a knife size that feels like it fits best in your hand. Place the herbs on a cutting surface. Using a rocking motion from the tip to the heel of the knife, chop the herbs to the desired size.The knife method is the best way to chop fresh herbs when you have a large amount to cut.
Choose herbs that have fresh-looking leaves without brown spots. Since most herbs are highly perishable, purchase them as you need them. Or consider keeping a few pots of herbs on a sunny windowsill or growing them in your garden.
To store fresh herbs, cut ½ inch from the bottoms of the stems. Stand the herbs in a jar of water. The fresh cut allows the herbs to drink up more of the water. Loosely cover the leaves with a plastic bag. Store the herbs in the refrigerator, with the exception of basil, which fares better when stored at room temperature since it tends to blacken when chilled. Pull off and discard wilted leaves as they appear.
In French, "chiffonade" means "made of rags." In culinary terms, it refers to thin, ragged strips of fresh herb or lettuce. Cutting herbs into a chiffonade is not only attractive but also helps release flavor. The technique also makes quick work of chopping.
Tip: Which of your kitchen knives should you use to slice up a chiffonade? While we prefer a chef’s knife, a small sharp knife will work—use whichever feels most comfortable in your hand.
How to chiffonade:
Got more fresh herbs than you can use? Drying herbs is a great way to preserve them for a later use. While there are a few approaches to drying herbs, hanging them in bundles is the simplest method. Here’s how to do it:
5 Quick Ways to Use Chopped Fresh Herbs