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How to Cut in Chiffonade (2 Ways!)

Learn how easy it is to chiffonade basil and other leafy greens so you can elegantly garnish dishes like a pro!

photo of a tutorial of how to cut in chiffonade

The following Kitchen Tip was a guest post by Naomi of Bakers Royale. It has been edited for clarity and to include additional information.

Learning to Cut in Chiffonade

I have to admit, I have a tendency to be impatient especially when it to chopping, dicing or making a chiffonade of herbs. The food processor is a great shortcut for the first two, but it doesn’t works so well on the later.

The blade of the food processor tends to tear and mangle the herbs rather than creating the long, thin ribbons associated with chiffonade herbs and leafy greens.

What is Chiffonade?

If you’ve ever seen long, thin strips of fresh basil garnishing the top of a recipe, the recipe has likely used chiffonade herbs.

‘Chiffonade’ is the French word for little ribbons. It is a culinary term used to describe a cutting technique that is typically used to cut leafy greens and flat herbs into long thin strips.

It might sound fancy, but cutting in chiffonade is a really easy technique for the home cook to learn. And, it is a great way to elevate the look of your dishes.

What Foods Do You Use this Technique For

Chiffonade is typically used on herbs and vegetables with flat, large leaves. The most common items are:

  • Leafy Greens – like collard greens, spinach, and swiss chard
  • Leafy Herbs – like fresh basil leaves, fresh mint leaves, and fresh sage leaves.

Tools Needed to Chiffonade

  • Sharp Knife – a Chef’s Knife or Santoku Knife work best. I personally prefer the fit of a Santoku Knife in my hand best, but choose according to your preference.
  • Kitchen Shears – if you’d like to use the method that uses scissors rather than a knife.
  • Cutting Board – I like a wooden cutting board to use as my work surface when cutting in chiffonade.

How To Chiffonade: 2 Ways

If you’d like to cut in this slicing technique, check out this tutorial below. I’ve shared 2 different methods. Choose what works best for you.

Learn to Chiffonade With a Knife

The traditional way of cutting herbs and leafy greens in chiffonade is to use a knife. Here’s an overview of the basic steps to chiffonade basil, or other leafy greens.

  1. First, wash and dry the leaves.
  2. Then, stack the leaves in a pile, one on top of the other, on a cutting board.
  3. Next, tightly roll the leaves up into a cigar shape.
  4. After that, hold the rolled leaves with your non-dominant hand.
  5. Hold the knife in your dominant hand and cut thin ribbon-like strands by thinly slicing the roll of leaves.
  6. Then, unroll the leaves after you’ve sliced them all and you’ll have a bunch of fine strips of whatever it was you were cutting.

How to Chiffonade with Scissors

Now of course you can always use a knife, but you can achieve a pile of chiffonade herbs just as quickly with a pair of scissors.

3 Easy Steps to Quickly Chiffonade Herbs with Scissors

  1. Wash and pat dry the fresh herbs.
  2. Cut the stems off of the herbs and discard. Then stack the leaves one on top of another.
  3. Roll the stacked herbs vertically and cut length wise to create long thin ribbons.

And you’re done!

The above is simply a quick summary of this tutorial. Check out the free printable card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

Tips for the Best Chiffonade Herbs (and leafy greens)

Make sure your knife is nice and sharp. A dull knife will tear the delicate leaves when you try to make your chiffonade cut. Want to sharpen your knives? Here’s a few tutorials: how to sharpen knives and how to use an electric knife sharpener.

It is a good idea to chiffonade your fresh herbs and leafy green vegetables just before you plan to use them. When cut to early in advance, your herb leaves and leafy vegetables can wilt and brown.

Recipes to Practice Your Chiffonade Skills

Want to put those new knife skills to the test? Here are some great recipes that have chiffonade herbs in them.

Thanks, Naomi, for sharing this great tip with us! Now you have me craving fresh herbs. I especially can’t wait until it is warm enough to plant some basil in the backyard!

Try this Knife Skills Tutorial at Home!

Next time you’re looking to improve your knife skills knowledge, give tutorial for how to chiffonade a try! Did you think this kitchen tutorial was helpful?

Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this slicing technique. On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes.

More Knife Skill Tutorials

Learn how to cut an avocado quickly — and safely! — using this guide. You’ll also learn how to store cut avocado, how to peel an avocado, and the many ways to use avocados! 

Check out the best way to supreme an orange, and how to remove the white pith and skin! Plus, learning simple knife skills, like supreme cuts, will enhance the look of your citrus dishes. It’s the best way to cut oranges!

Need to know how to shred chicken? I’ve got a few different easy methods for shredding chicken, plus I’ll explain how long shredded chicken lasts, and how to freeze shredded chicken.

Don’t waste any part of that fresh pineapple! This post shares how to cut a pineapple six different ways, as well as ideas for using the pineapple top and tough skin. 

Check out these 4 different ways to cut butter into flour for recipes like pie crusts or biscuits. The 4th method of cutting butter in flour on this list is my all time favorite kitchen tips.

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how to chiffonade herbs with scissors

How to Cut in Chiffonade

Yield: 1 cup

‘Chiffonade’ is a culinary term used to describe a cutting technique that is typically used to cut leafy greens and flat herbs into long thin strips. It might sound fancy, but cutting in chiffonade is a really easy technique for the home cook to learn. And, it is a great way to elevate the look of your dishes.

Materials

  • 1 cup Fresh Herbs or Leafy Greens

Tools

  • Sharp Knife
  • Kitchen Shears
  • Cutting Board

Instructions

How to Chiffonade With a Knife:

The traditional way of cutting herbs and leafy greens in chiffonade is to use a knife. Here’s an overview of the basic steps to chiffonade basil, or other leafy greens.

  1. First, wash and dry the leaves.
  2. Then, stack the leaves in a pile, one on top of the other, on a cutting board.
  3. Next, tightly roll the leaves up into a cigar shape.
  4. After that, hold the rolled leaves with your non-dominant hand.
  5. Hold the knife in your dominant hand and cut thin ribbon-like strands by thinly slicing the roll of leaves.
  6. Then, unroll the leaves after you’ve sliced them all and you’ll have a bunch of fine strips of whatever it was you were cutting.

How to Chiffonade with Scissors

  1. Wash and pat dry the fresh herbs.
  2. Cut the stems off of the herbs and discard. Then stack the leaves one on top of another.
  3. Roll the stacked herbs vertically and cut length wise to create long thin ribbons.

Did you make this project?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you're making!


Naomi Robinson, wife and mother of one, blogs at Baker’s Royale where she shares her baking creations, what inspires her and anything drool-worthy enough to repeat over and over. Naomi lives by the motto: you don’t have to be the best—you just have to be your best.

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate

Thursday 3rd of March 2011

I love using scissors for herbs. . . I'm all about "easy" and "snip snip" is as easy as it gets. You don't even need to get a cutting board dirty.

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

Wednesday 2nd of March 2011

Such a great tip! I love how easy it is to snip herbs into a dish with kitchen scissors... Perfect for garnishing right before I take photos!

Happy When Not Hungry

Wednesday 2nd of March 2011

Love your tips! I always use my kitchen scissors for my fresh herbs. Thanks for sharing!

koko1215

Wednesday 2nd of March 2011

Yummy!!! just one look and you'll be starving even it's a picture!!!

erik

Wednesday 2nd of March 2011

Thanks for this post. It will really help me with my cooking.

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