How to Chiffonade Basil

Basil, mid chiffonade

Chiffonading, besides sounding strange in verb form, is a simple technique you may halready know. I find it a very handy for basil, but it can be used for any leafy thing large enough to roll. Kale leaves, collards, lime leaves, whatever floats your boat. Leaves can be difficult to cut on their own, but when you stack them your knife actually has something to sink its teeth into. The end result proves that your hands are cooler than any food processor around.

Start with your basil leaves stacked. I got a little over zealous here, you can stack half this many leaves. Larger leaves like kale might not need stacking, use your judgement. You want the leaves to all go in the same direction, all neat like.

Roll up your leaves. It is easiest to roll basil lengthwise, so that the stems are parallel to the roll. With lime leaves, however, roll the leaves from tip to stem; that way you can cut out the woody center when you get there.

With a sharp knife, begin slicing the roll perpendicularly, creating fine, thin strips. The tighter the roll, the easier it is to make your slices thin. My fat roll was a little difficult to maneuver.

My finished chiffonade isn’t that fine, but you can get really crazy and make the most impossibly thin whips of basil if you prefer.

I’m trying to build up a little reference library of easy techniques that not only make cooking easier, but also make you feel fancier. So far we have:

How to Chop and Onion

How to Supreme an Orange


  1. Alex

    Keep it up with technique posts! I love doing easy things that make food look better. It’s approximately 1/4 of the fun of cooking for me.

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  3. chiffonade

    Love the word “chiffonade” – it’s such a beautiful sounding word that means to SHRED. I frequently chiffonade basil and sometimes spinach.

    To chiffonade is about the only way to effectively cut collard greens!!

    Happy Cooking,

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