Julienne means to cut food into long thin strips resembling matchsticks.
Most commonly used when preparing vegetables as in julienne carrots and other julienne vegetables, but it can also be applied to the preparation of meat or fish, especially in stir fry techniques.
Mastering this method of slicing will not only make your presentation stand out but will also ensure more controlled cooking and adds texture and colour to your food and is a really useful skill to know.
If the vegetable is to be cooked, this style cutting allows for a vegetable to cook rapidly and evenly, and integrate well into a mix of other ingredients, for instance in a sauce.
If the vegetable is being served raw, this method of cut allows the cook to make a fine, delicate garnish for salads or as an ingredient in something like a salade chinoise, etc.
The julienne technique is used on firm vegetables such as potato, celery, carrot, peppers, turnips, parsnips, apple etc.
Onion is too difficult to julienne owing to its layers. Soft vegetables such as tomatoes can be done, but are difficult.
Items such as citrus peel can also be julienned.
How to cut Julienne Vegetables
Use a sharp, non-serrated knife for cutting. A chopping knife works well but is not required.
It’s important to only use a sharp knife so you can make clean cuts.
- Wash the vegetables.
- Peel the vegetable if you want to. Potatoes and carrots are often peeled before being julienned. It is up to you depending on how you plan to eat them.
If you don’t peel your potatoes, at least make sure buds or eyes are removed from the skin.
- Cut rounded vegetables into a rectangle. Cut off the stem and bottoms when necessary. Slice off one side at a time so you are left with a rectangular chunk of vegetable. You can throw the scraps away, or you can slice them up and mix them in with the uniform pieces you’ll cut later.
This is especially helpful for potatoes, zucchini, and squash.
- Chop the vegetable into chunks that are 5-8 cm (2-3 inches) long.
If you are going to be eating the pieces raw, they can be a little longer, but if you’re cooking with them, 5 8cm (2-3 inches) is best.
Each chunk does not have to be the exact same length, just divide the vegetable evenly.
- Slice the vegetable down the length. When cutting juliennes, 0.3 cm to 0.15 cm (⅛ in to 1/16 in.) is the recommended thickness.
Use the knuckles of the hand not holding the knife as a guide for the thickness.
- Stack 2-3 slices and cut again. Flip the slices you’ve just cut so that they are piled on top of each other.
Then cut them into sticks that are 0.3 cm to 0.15 cm (⅛ in to 1/16 in.) thick, again.
The goal with juliennes is to get them all to a fairly uniform size.
How to Julienne with a Knife
Master the method of julienne vegetables. Learning how to julienne with a knife will make your presentation stand out but will also ensure more controlled cooking.
How to Julienne using a Mandoline Slicer
When you julienne vegetables, you’re slicing them into classy little matchsticks. Here’s a technique using a mandoline slicer for julienning tons of veg in a flash.