Knife Terminology

Hello ladies!

This post is to help you decipher some cutting terminology when reading recipes and it can also help you feel ~fancy~ next time you are talking to other culinary fans.

Basic Knife Terminology1:

This post focuses mainly on how to use a knife and different techniques for cutting up FV. Learning how to use a knife and different ways to cut up FV makes cooking easier and faster.  Like everything else in life, the first few times you attempt doing these techniques it might feel awkward or difficult, but with practice, you will be chopping away like a pro!

How to hold a knife:

  • Use a sharp knife on a sturdy surface (the sharper the knife the safer it is!)
  • Place a damp cloth or paper towel under the cutting board to prevent it from moving
  • Tuck your fingertips under your knuckles and rest the blade of the knife against your knuckles as such:


  • The other hand should be holding the blade with your thumb on one side of the blade and all of your fingers on the other side as such:


View from the other side…


Here is a video in case it helps you visualize things better!

Now that we know how to hold our knife we can focus on cutting. When reading a recipe, you might come across something like this:

“1 small zucchini, 1-inch-diced” or “2 teaspoons of minced garlic”

These basic cuts come from classic French cutting techniques and they represent a standard measurement.  It is helpful to be aware of these sizes because different sizes of the chopped veggies can mean different cooking times3.


  • Small dice (Macedoine): cut measuring about ¼”small dice
  • Medium dice (Parmentier): cut about ½medium dice
  • Large dice (carre): cut about ¾” large dice

If you would like more detailed instructions on how to master these cuts I have attached a video on how to cut an onion in many different ways! This video includes how to secure your cutting table and hold your knife. The part of dicing starts at minute 8, however, I recommend that you watch all of it because there are very useful techniques he covers4!

Julienne: AKA allumette or the matchstick cut1


Follow this link for a helpful video on how to julienne 6:

Chiffonade: This type of cutting is usually done when slicing greens and fresh herbs 1


Follow the link to this video to see how to chiffonade green leafy vegetables8:

Mince: very small chop1


Follow this video link to learn how to mince garlic10:

Additional resources:

Happy cutting!! 🔪 😀


  1. Cooperative Extension Service. Winning Ways In the Kitchen.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017)
  2. Serious Eats. Knife Skills: How to Hold a Knife. 2017. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  3. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Cooking Basics.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017).
  4. Youtube. How To Cut Onions Like A Pro-Different Ways To Chop An Onion-Basic Cooking.  August 2016.  Internet:
  5. Babble. How to prepare julienne carrots. Internet: (accessed 27 July 2017).
  6. Youtube. Learn How Now: How to Julienne Vegetables. April 2011. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  7. Google Search.   Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  8. Youtube. How to Chiffonade.  September 2008.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  9. Provide Network. December 2015.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  10. How to Mince Garlic-Tips To Crush, Chop And Dice Garlic Cloves.  August 2013.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  11. Institute of Child Nutrition. Basics at a Glance.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  12. Purdue Extension Consumer and Family Sciences. Substitutions and Equivalents in Food Ingredients.  April 2001. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  13. The Ohio State University Extension. Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  14. Virginia Cooperative Extension. Herbs and Spices. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  15. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. Flavor that Food! Internet:–%20Spice%20%26%20Herb%20Chart.pdf (accessed 3 July 2017).
  16. American Heart Association. Top 10 Cooking Tips for Caregivers.  June 2017.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  17. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Healthy Cooking and Snacking.  February 2013.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  18. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. Fresh Herbs: a Picture of Healthy Eating. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  19. Header: Buns in my Oven.  October 2014. Internet: (accessed 27 July 2017).
  20. Youtube.  How to Hold a Knife-Properly Using a Chef’s Knife.  September 2010.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2010) 21



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