The humble carrot. A vegetable I feel often gets forgotten unless you buy baby carrots or shredded carrots at the store. A carrot is another staple in the kitchen. It is a third of what makes up mirepoix (a French term for the combination of onions, carrots, and celery). I personally prefer the taste of fresh cut carrots so I wanted to show you several ways to cut a carrot.
To peel or not to peel
I always peel my carrots but I have heard that it can be unnecessary. The peel does tend to get wrinkly when cooked and can add a bitter taste. But I have heard if you buy really fresh, organic carrots at a farmers market the skin is a little different and isn’t as bitter. Do you peel your carrots?
Also I shared this on my instagram but most peelers can peel in both directions! That blew my mind when I learned it in culinary school. It makes peeling go so much faster.
When dicing carrots, and any vegetable really, you need to create slabs (I couldn’t think of a better word, but hopefully the videos help show you what I mean by “slab”), then strips, and then you can dice. This flow of knife cuts is always the same when setting up a vegetable to dice. To achieve different sized pieces all you need to do is adjust the distance between the knife cuts.
A dice is the most versatile cut when cooking. Like I mentioned in this post, the size cut directly correlates to how long you can cook it. The larger the piece, the longer cooking time it can stand, the smaller the piece the less cooking time it can stand.
So a larger diced carrot can be added to a stew, stock or braise. And a smaller diced carrot can be sautéd, or added to a quicker cooking soup like a chicken noodle soup. Any size diced carrot can be roasted but the cooking times will vary.
Just remember larger sized piece=longer cooking time, smaller sized piece=shorter cooking time.
Batonnets and Juliennes
In the video above I show you how to get a dice through a batonnet and a julienne. So follow the steps above to achieve a batonnet and a julienne.
Both of these cuts work well for raw carrots. A batonnet is the perfect size for snacking and dipping into ranch dressing. But you can also roast a batonnet to get a sort of carrot french fry result. Julienne’s work great in a salad or my personal favorite way to use them, in sushi or lettuce wraps or spring rolls. They stack well and look beautiful on the cross section.
Slicing a carrot is pretty straight forward. You just slice cross sections of the carrot. In this video I show you a basic slice, also called a rondelle, and a biased slice, also called a bias rondelle. I prefer to slice them on a bias. I have better control of the size pieces I get resulting in more even sized pieces of carrot. Plus I just think it looks fancier.
Sliced carrots work well in a soup. They are usually very thin so they work best in a soup that doesn’t need to cook very long like a chicken noodle soup. They would also work great and look beautiful in a salad.
The oblique cut is my absolute favorite way to cut a carrot. The oblique cut produces a beautiful shape and is the best way to achieve even sized pieces from a carrot. This knife cut is also perfect for parsnips.
The oblique cut solves the problem for the naturally, uneven shape of a carrot (very narrow at the bottom and thicker at the top). By rotating the carrot and adjusting the angle of your knife you can achieve perfectly even sized pieces.
This knife cut is a little tricky at first. But think of this cut as a rhythm, rotate, cut, rotate, cut etc… Always rotate the carrot so the cut side is facing directly up at you. Then use the top of the circle that is exposed as the point for your knife to run through.
This shape works particularly great for roasting but also works for sautéing, steaming or glazing.
A really easy shape to achieve. All you need is a peeler to do this one.
Carrots ribbons look beautiful on top of a salad. You can also get the ribbons to curl a bit more by placing them in ice cold water. Super easy way to get a fancier cut and garnish from carrots.
A few things to keep in mind…
Your finger is never worth a little bit of food. You can always save the last little chunk of carrot that is too unstable to cut for a snack or for stock. I keep a gallon freezer bag in my freezer for leftover chunks of vegetables to put into a stock. Once the bag is full I can either make vegetable stock by adding some aromatics like garlic, herbs, and spices. Or if I have chicken bones or beef bones, I can add the veggies with those to make their corresponding stock.
Find a stable side to cut your carrot on. In these videos, especially in the dicing one, I should have cut a nice flat side to create a nice stable side for my carrot to rest on. So when dicing carrots take your piece of carrot and cut off one side of the carrot. Then place the carrot on that side to stabilize it. Then cut your slabs, strips and dice. It is a much easier and safer way to cut a round object like a carrot.
Remember to keep your knives sharp! And hone them every time you go to use it. You can learn more about that here.
Equipment used in this post:
A classic for a reason. I personally love the weight of this knife and the bolster. A solid knife that is a work horse in the kitchen. Click here to view on Amazon.
A great, durable cutting board made out of a nonporous, composite material. Safe to cut meat on and dishwasher safe. Just a solid, very well made cutting board. Click here to view on Amazon.
A simple tool with so many functions. In knife skills it is perfect for scooping your food off your cutting board. Click here to view on Amazon.
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