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How To Chiffonade Step-By-Step Guide

Basil chiffonade is a great garnish for many things like bruschetta.

Basil chiffonade is a great garnish for many things like bruschetta.

What is Chiffonade?


Chiffonade is a cutting or knife technique that employs a special technique to cut or slice leafy vegetables.

This culinary technique is usually used to cut these vegetables to present an attractive appearance to the vegetables.

It's also a great technique that can be used to easily chop these kinds of vegetables that usually like to "move around" quite a bit while you're trying to chop them.

Veggies cut by the chiffonade technique can be used many different ways.

How To Do Chiffonade


The technique is really quite simple. The idea is that you want to have the end result come out in fabric-like strips. Some chefs call these rag strips.

-What you need for chiffonade:

  • Leafy vegetable or herb
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board

-Chiffonade cutting technique:

  1. Wash vegetable or herb carefully.
  2. Spin dry thoroughly in salad spinner.
  3. Let air dry for a few minutes on paper towels.
  4. Place several leaves of an herb such as basil layered or stacked onto the cutting board. If using a large leaf such as a cabbage leaf, just do one leaf at a time.
  5. Roll the leaves (or leaf) pretty tightly into a tube.
  6. Hold firmly with one hand and begin slicing through your tube with the other hand with your knife.
  7. Cut the strips as wide or as narrow as you'd like.
  8. They will uncurl naturally after cutting.
  9. Fluff gently and put into bowl for use or leave on cutting board.
  10. They will begin to wilt after a short period of time or change color a bit, so best to do your chiffonade (if for presentation) right before adding to your dish or recipe.

Watch my short video below for more on how to do this simple cutting technique.

Step 1: Wash and dry fresh basil leaves.

Nothing says aroma better than fresh basil leaves.

Nothing says aroma better than fresh basil leaves.

Step 2: Stack the basil leaves in a nice lined up manner.

Stack 'em~!

Stack 'em~!

Step 3: Turn them over as a stack to get ready to roll them.

Ready to roll into a cylinder/cigar.

Ready to roll into a cylinder/cigar.

Step 4: Roll into a tight "cigar" for cutting. Hold onto it because it will unravel~

Rolling it allows you to cut it into nice neat strips.

Rolling it allows you to cut it into nice neat strips.

Step 5: Cut across the roll/cigar with a sharp knife into short, thin slices--don't cut lengthwise but across the roll like you were cutting cookie slices.

Cutting across the cigar/roll makes nice neat little curls of herb.

Cutting across the cigar/roll makes nice neat little curls of herb.

Step 6: Continue cutting through your roll until you've cut it all into thin slices. Fluff up and use where called for in recipes. Remember that this can be done with all kinds of other leafy vegetables besides basil!

Finished product--perfect little strips of basil leaves.

Finished product--perfect little strips of basil leaves.

Uses for Chiffonade Vegetables or Herbs


There are many uses for your chiffonade cut ingredients but here are just a few:

  • Add your strips of veggies to soup
  • Use cabbage chiffonade for coleslaw
  • This is a great way to do basil for recipes such as pomodoro
  • Use spinach or other chiffonade for garnish
  • Any kind of mint can be done in chiffonade technique - smells wonderful and makes a beautiful presentation
  • Use cabbage, chard, kale or spinach chiffonade for adding to salads

How To Make a Basil Chiffonade

Best Herbs and Vegetables for Chiffonade



  • All types of sage with large leaves
  • All types of basil with large leaves
  • All types of mint with large leaves
  • Kale
  • Green cabbage
  • Purple cabbage
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Endives
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Any varieties of lettuce with large leaves
  • Variety forms of cabbage with large leaves such as Asian varieties
  • Spinach, regular and baby leaf
  • Chard
  • Beet greens
  • Any other leafy vegetable or herb with medium to large size leaves

Remember that to chiffonade, the herb or vegetable has to be able to be rolled up and cut through the "sausage" or roll.

Watch the short video on how to chiffonade kale below.

Herbs that Don't Work Well for Chiffonade


These herbs don't work well because they are very tiny in terms of their leaves. Even with pieces of stems and leaves, they will not roll easily which is what you need them to do to be useful with this cutting technique.

  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon

How to Make a Kale Chiffonade

Try basil chiffonade as a garnish for a healthier version of Chicken Parmesan.

Comments

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 09, 2012:

Thanks, Pamela~

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 09, 2012:

This technique really gives your dishes a nice look. The video was helpful also. Very useful hub.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 07, 2012:

Thank you, Sharilee~ I enjoy cooking and it is nice when things "look" nice as well as taste that way~~~

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on August 07, 2012:

Wow, this is fantastic! I love the pictures and instructions you used. Everything is so well laid out and easy to understand. I had never even heard of a chiffonade but now I definitely want to try. They make the vegetables look so elegant! Well done hub.

Voted up and more, and sharing!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 06, 2012:

Thanks Rhonda and Virginia - I'll look at the title, Virginia - thanks for the tip!

toknowinfo on August 05, 2012:

Thanks for the great tips. I often use basil in cooking. I learn a lot from your cooking techniques. Thanks for sharing. Rated up, interesting and useful.

Virginia Kearney from United States on July 30, 2012:

Such an interesting Hub. I actually do this technique all the time but didn't know the name for it. Great clear directions and I like the way you gave some ideas of what you can do with it. I did think you could add a title to the second video--I wondered what it was about.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 30, 2012:

I'll do it!

Maddie Ruud from Oakland, CA on July 30, 2012:

You could totally add "Step-by-Step Guide" or "Illustrated Guide" to your title if you wanted!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 30, 2012:

Thanks, Maddie - should I have included "step by step?"

Maddie Ruud from Oakland, CA on July 30, 2012:

I love cooking, but I know I could really use some practice on my knife skills. Thanks for putting together the ultimate step-by-step chiffonade guide!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 30, 2012:

Thanks, Kristy~!

Kristy Sayer from Sydney, Australia on July 29, 2012:

Great hub! Perfect for someone scanning over a recipe without a clue what to do!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 29, 2012:

Thanks Marlene - I loved the kale one~ Thanks for stopping in.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on July 29, 2012:

I love this technique for making foods look beautiful. The videos are excellent demonstrations.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 29, 2012:

Thanks mvillecat - I love to cook so it's fun to do these kinds of vids and hubs~

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on July 29, 2012:

This is a very needy tool in the kitchen. Texture is very important when cooking and can make or break a dish. Thanks for the interesting hub!