by Patricia on April 28, 2010 · 10 comments

basil chiffonade, how to

Chiffa-wha? Chiffonade. It’s a fancy name for cutting herbs or other greens into long, thin strips. It’s literal French translation is “made of rags”. Sounds appetizing, right? Even so, it’s a nice little technique to have in your back pocket.

I mostly use chiffonade for basil (do chiffonade? make chiffonade? I’m not sure the right verbage here). It is nice for bruschetta, caprese salads, pasta, etc. I like it because it makes the basil smaller so it gets distributed better. And it looks pretty. Besides sometimes you need a dash of fancy in your life.

How to make chiffonade of basil

basil chiffonade, how to

1. Stack your basil leaves. Put the bigger leaves on the bottom and smaller leaves on top. I’m using 5 leaves here, but you can do this with as many as you are comfortable working with.

basil chiffonade, how to

2. Starting at the tip (non-stem end), roll the leaves

basil chiffonade, how to

until you have a little cigar of basil leaves.

basil chiffonade, how to

3. Hold the cigar down on your cutting board and cut thin slices from one end. Go as slow as you need to.

basil chiffonade, how to

Keep cutting slices…

basil chiffonade, how to

Until you reach the end of your cigar.

basil chiffonade, how to

4. Voilá! Chiffonade. Now go fancify your dinner.


1 April April 29, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I will try this:) I have been using a ton of basil lately. Very Pretty!!!

2 Maria April 29, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I am going to grow a ton of basil plants along my fence this summer. I can’t wait. I will be doing a lot of this:)

3 jodie April 29, 2010 at 12:17 pm

basil should not but cut with metal as it will oxidize. it will release more flavors if torn. if you want the effect of thin slices, use a plastic knife.

4 Patricia April 29, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Good point, Jodie. The basil will begin to oxidize if you leave it for very long before using it, but I’ve found that if you cut it right before tossing it into pasta it isn’t a problem. I’ll use a ceramic knife next time :)

5 Alison April 29, 2010 at 11:58 am

What a helpful post! (with lovely pictures to boot)

6 heather April 29, 2010 at 6:32 am

always a great technique. where’d you get that fantastic, weathered cutting board?



7 Patricia April 30, 2010 at 10:29 am

I found it in Dan’s kitchen :) It’s just an old board he had lying around (I think it may have been through the dishwasher a couple of times which gave it a more weathered look).

8 MaryMoh April 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Thanks for showing.

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