Kitchen Tip: How To Clean Leeks

Kitchen Tips & Tricks | 8 comments

I love substituting leeks for onions in certain recipes. If you haven’t ever tasted a leek before, they are related to the onion and garlic. Leeks look like giant green onions and have a mild onion flavor.

Rather than forming a bulb, like an onion, the leek resembles a stalk or stem. They are composed of many delicate layers that are often full of dirt and sand, so you have to clean them before use.

You’ll also discard much of the leek because you only use the white and pale green portion of the stalk. The dark green part is tough, woody and often bitter and is better suited to your compost bin.

how to clean leeks

How do you Clean a Leek?

1. Using a knife, remove the roots portion off the bottom of the leek just above the base and discard.

2. Then, cut the dark green, woody part of the stalk off and discard. You’ll only use the white and pale green portions of the leek.

3. Next, slice the white and pale green reserved portion in half lengthwise. (see photo below)

how to cut leeks

4. Chop or slice the leek halves as directed in your recipe instructions. Place all the sliced leeks in a medium-large bowl, one with enough room to add water.

5. Fill the bowl with water and submerge the leeks. Swish the leeks with your hand to help remove any sand or dirt embedded in the layers.

how to wash leeks

6. Drain the leeks and water into a colander. Give the leeks a quick rinse with cold water, swishing again with your hand. Remove from the bowl and pat dry.

7. Proceed according to your recipe instructions.

See? It’s not so hard. It might seem like extra work, but really it just takes a minute once you know what to do. And not only leeks are really yummy, they are high in Vitamin C, Potassium, and protect against heart disease (source: What are the Benefits of Leeks?). For recipe ideas, check out the below links.

Leek Recipes:

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Liz @ Blog is the New Black - November 30, 2010 @ 7:26 am

    Thanks for the “how-to” I truly find them extremely helpful!


  • 2
    Heather (Heather's Dish) - November 30, 2010 @ 8:22 am

    this is a great tip…leeks are fabulous and have tons of flavor but no one wants to take a big bite of sand either!


  • 3
    Shaina - November 30, 2010 @ 8:39 am

    We love leeks, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had readers ask how to clean them. Thanks for providing a visual tutorial for me to send them to.


  • 4
    My Kitchen in the Rockies - November 30, 2010 @ 9:13 am

    We eat a lot of leeks. They are so good! Check out my just posted recipe with Frikadellchen and leeks.
    Yes, they definitely have to be cleaned well.


  • 5
    naomi - November 30, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    I use leeks in lieu of onions alot since Matt really hates onions, so I love this tutorial on how to clean them!


  • 6
    Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries - November 30, 2010 @ 11:35 am

    Gosh, I love leeks and haven’t used them in so long. Thanks for the reminder!!


  • 7
    Courtney - November 30, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

    I’ve never used leeks, this encourages me to try! :)


  • 8
    Lindsey - December 04, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

    Thank you, this came just in time! Well, actually I read it one day too late, lol. But I just threw leeks in with my roasted potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots,and I didn’t clean them like this. I will next time, though!


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