Diced, Diced, Chopped & More: a Visual Guide to the Six Basic Knife Cutting Techniques

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between sliced, diced, chopped, and other slices in a recipe, you are not alone. Knife cuts can be so confusing that we’ve put together a visual guide to some of the more common ones.

Search for “knife cuts” and you will find many guides to unusual French knife techniques with terms such as “touring” and “parmentier”. But for everyday home cooking, these terms are useless. Here are the basic cuts and shapes that you are likely to see in cookbooks, the internet, and magazines so you can put these knife skills to good use.

Big cube

A large cube usually refers to a vegetable or item cut into 3/4 inch squares. I also use this slicing when a recipe calls for slicing something large (like sliced ​​potatoes). You can see that this cut is used for everything from onions to watermelon.

Medium dice

Medium dice require the ingredients to be cut into 1/2 inch squares. If the recipe specifies cubes without a modifier (for example, “diced tomatoes,” without specifying whether they should be small, medium, or large), I will aim for medium cubes. Many recipes use diced tomatoes, although beets, bell peppers, and cucumbers are also common.

Small bones

Small cubes usually refers to an ingredient that has been cut into 1/4 inch cubes. If you see, say, “1 cup diced celery” on the ingredient list, this is exactly what you should aim for. Many recipes start with roasted celery, carrots, onions, or bell peppers, cut into small cubes.


This is one of the few trendy French terms you’ll hear from chefs and experts when they talk about slicing. Brunoise (pronounced “brew-NWAHZ”) is even smaller than a small cube, and is a square cut with sides about 1/8 inch in length. Although less common than other cuts, brunoise is often used as a garnish for a dish, especially a soup like consommé.


The starting point for cutting a brunoise is something fancy called a julienne, which is actually a cut of long matches about 1/8 inch thick. You can see sliced ​​julienne on top of recipes such as Chinese-style steamed fish or papaya salad from Southeast Asia.


The chiffonade is similar to the cut that is made on the leaves of vegetables. Simply fold the leaves, roll tightly and cut the leaves perpendicular to the roll, forming thin strips. The most common chiffon vegetable is basil; it is used as a side dish for a range of tomato and basil combinations, from salads to pasta.

Ground meat

Less brunoise – minced meat. If the brunoise is 1/8 “, then the mince is about half that size, closer to 1/16”. But because it is so good, it also tends to be less accurate. Garlic is most commonly crushed.

Keep in mind that the smaller the knife size for a hot ingredient (such as garlic, shallots, and onions), the more it will spread and the stronger the flavor. So, if you don’t want your marinara sauce to have a strong garlic flavor, choose whole cloves, strips, or even cubes rather than finer cuts such as minced meat.

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