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If you’re slicing an onion, it makes sense to reach for your chef’s knife. After all, that’s its job! But what if you’re making French onion soup? That means instead slicing one onion, you’re slicing three pounds of onions. That task is going to get tedious very quickly.
Or what if you’re making homemade french fries? Not only is julienning a large amount of potatoes a difficult task, but if you should cut them unevenly, with some of them thicker than others, you’ll end up with some fries that are undercooked while others are nearly burnt.
Jobs like these are where a tool called a mandoline can come in handy.
What Is a Mandoline?
A mandoline slicer is a device made up of a flat surface fitted with a sharp blade, that lets you slice vegetables and fruits quickly, precisely and (ideally) safely. You simply slide the item back and forth across the blade and your perfect, uniform slices emerge below. By slicing the item at different angles, you can achieve all kinds of interesting bias cuts. Some will even dice and chop.
Types of Mandolines
Depending on your needs, as well as your budget, there are quite a few excellent mandolines on the market, from heavy metal adjustable French constructions to smaller, lighter, and much cheaper single-slice plastic options.
The simplest models have only one setting that slices very thinly. High-end mandolines let you adjust the blades to create paper-thin to slightly thicker slices, and come with attachments to make julienne cuts (which are long, slender cuts like french fries) or shreds, wavy cuts, and even waffle cuts.
One of the major differences in types of mandolines is whether it has its own stand or is a hand-held style. The ones with a stand are more stable, but setup and cleaning can also be more involved. The hand-held ones tend to be simpler to use and clean up but are less stable and offer fewer types of blades.
Another difference is that the fancier models let you make fine adjustments with cutting thickness, whereas the simpler ones might only offer interchangeable plates that offer preset thicknesses.
Now, the more complicated models are more of a hassle to set up, and clean, and in some cases adjusting the blades can be tricky. And the more difficult a tool is to use, or clean afterwards, the less likely you are to use it. A simpler model, without the bells and whistles, might end up being more useful than a high-end one that you never take out of the cabinet.
With that said, if you know you want to use your mandoline slicer for making julienne cuts, you’ll be limited to the models that offer that feature, which are generally the higher-end ones.
One feature that you shouldn’t skimp on is safety. Mandoline blades are razor sharp, so you have to be extremely careful when using one.
Most models come with some type of holder to protect your hand from the blade. Instead of having your hand directly on the vegetable while pushing it back and forth, the vegetable sits underneath a finger guard. Some cooks even opt to wear metal mesh gloves to protect their fingers and hands.
The safest models will have a nonslip base and will sit securely over a cutting board or the edge of a bowl or pan.
When to Use a Mandoline
A mandoline is typically used when making dishes that require uniformly sliced vegetables, such as a potato gratin or homemade potato chips. But it is also used to make french fries, vegetable slaws, and shredded or shaved vegetable dishes. This tool also comes in handy when you’re short on time and need a generous amount of fruit or vegetable cut quickly.
Caring for a Mandoline
Taking care of a mandoline slicer is mainly a matter of cleaning it. Here you’ll want to follow the instructions of your particular model, but some are safe for the dishwasher, which obviously makes things easier. Some models require disassembling the blade from the body of the mandoline and washing it by hand and air drying it. Not only is this a hassle, but anytime you’re handling the blades directly, you’re running the risk of cutting yourself.
Tips for getting the thinnest, most even slices and shavings safely.
Every home cook should have a mandoline. It can help you produce perfect shaved vegetable salads, crisp potato chips, and super-thin fruit slices for tarts, pies, and more. But thanks to their super-sharp blades mandolines have a reputation for being dangerous. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you get paper-thin slices while keeping all your digits intact:
Start by keeping the mandoline perpendicular to your body. You’ll have more control if you’re pushing forward, rather than sideways.
Wet the blade and runway if you need more lubrication. Some fruits and vegetables are juicy enough to help you along with the slicing action, but starchy vegetables, like potatoes, don’t glide well if they dry out.
Use a knife to cut an even surface on your fruit or vegetable before setting it on the mandoline. Stability is your friend when it comes to the mandoline (and will save your fingers), so start with an even surface.
Keep even pressure on the vegetable to get uniform slices-this is where those even, crunchy potato chips come from.
If you have a guard, use it. A guard will keep your hand away from the blade and can help you grip your vegetable firmly. If you don’t have a guard, don’t worry! There are a few techniques to keep your fingers out of harm’s way. When slicing long strips (like lengthwise on a cucumber or zucchini), keep your palm flat and your fingers lifted. It’s much more difficult to slice your palm than a rogue finger! If you’re slicing rounds, keep your knuckles bent and your fingers tucked.
If you’ve tried all the tips and you’re still seriously accident prone (we’ve all been there), look into using a cut-resistant glove, so you’ll still be able to count to five after using your mandoline.
Watch how to shave vegetables using a mandoline:
Can a mandolin cut french fries?
Consistent, perfectly cut French fries —like the kind you find in a restaurant— can be tough to mimic at home with just a knife. The mandoline makes it easy to make mountains of delicious fries, of all kinds.
Do I really need a mandoline?
You don’t need a mandoline (but they’re damned handy). A mandoline is part of every working chef’s toolbox. If you have even modest knife skills and don’t do a lot of entertaining, you can do anything and everything you ever need to do in a kitchen with just a chef’s knife and paring knife.
Can you use a mandoline to slice cheese?
Cheese. A mandoline isn’t just for fruits and vegetables. You can use it to slice or grate any firm cheese.
What is the best mandoline?
Best Mandoline Slicers at a Glance
- Best Overall: Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline 5-Piece Set.
- Runner-up: OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer.
- Best Budget: Prepworks by Progressive International Adjust-A-Slice and Julienne Mandoline.
- Best for Beginners: Kyocera Soft Grip Mandoline.
How do you easily slice potatoes?
Just cut the potato lengthwise, and then make another cut in each half to make quarters. First, you should always cut a flat part to stabilize the potato when you make slices. Slice the potato lengthwise to make even slices. Then stack the slices together and cut lengthwise to make sticks.
What can I do with a mandoline slicer?
The key benefits to using a mandoline are speed and uniformity in slicing, shredding and sometimes grating. Traditionally used to cut prep time to a minimum when making gratins, slaws and french fries, mandolines are tremendously versatile.
Why is it called a mandoline slicer?
Many believe it first appeared in the late 18th century and was originally invented by Doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. The mandoline slicer was named after Doctor Guillotin’s ex-girlfriend, Mandy. These mandolines were best known for their use by Marie Antoinette, who placed one in each room for doll executions.
Can a mandoline dice?
The de Buyer Deluxe Dicing Mandoline is capable of producing diced, sliced and specialty cuts of fruits and vegetables. Capable of a variety of cuts, the mandoline can produce slices, crinkle cuts, waffle cuts, diamond cuts, and julienne cuts.
How do you cut waffle fries without a mandolin?
If you don’t have a mandolin, consider using a ridged cheese knife. Chop straight down over the end of the potato using this knife, making slices that are 1/4 to 1/2 inch (0.6 to 1.25 cm) thick.
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Slice those veggies—without putting your fingers in danger.
Updated February 21, 2019
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What You Need:
- Mandoline slicer
- The hand guard
- Your desired fruits or vegetables
Prep Time Needed:
Total Time Needed:
Mandolines can be intimidating even to the most experienced chefs and bakers. Most of us err on the side of caution and reach for a paring knife or a food processor when it comes time to slice, but despite its intimidating reputation, a mandoline slicer will deliver precise cuts that are essential for artistic and exact cooking.
From homemade pizza with perfect slivers of fresh tomato to crunchy oven-roasted potato chips, there are so many dishes that can be made with this versatile tool. Here’s how to use a mandoline slicer safely.
Step 1: Prep the ingredient
Wash and peel your produce (if desired) before slicing. Cut larger vegetables in half so they fit within the parameters of the blade. You’ll also want to cut tall vegetables, such as squash and zucchini, in half for better control.
Step 2: Set up the mandoline
Set up your mandoline on a clean, flat surface, such as a cutting board. Choose the correct blade for your desired cut, and carefully slide it into place. If you’re not sure how to safely attach a blade, consult the manual—better safe than sorry when you’re handling sharp edges.
Step 3: Attach the finger guard
Most mandoline slicers, including those in our guide to the best mandolines, come with a “finger guard” to protect your hand from the blade. Attach the guard to the fruit or vegetable you’re slicing by firmly pressing the prongs into the end of the produce. If you don’t have a finger guard, you may want to invest in a cut-resistant kitchen glove.
Step 4: Slice carefully
Mandolines with a handle should be held with the non-dominant hand so your dominant hand is free to control the fruit or vegetable. Get a firm grip on the finger guard, and apply a moderate amount of pressure while sliding the produce over the blade.
Slide the ingredient back across the blade to get ready to make another slice—the blade will only cut the fruit or vegetable when you’re moving in the downward direction. Repeat until the produce is at its end. Be sure not to send stems (such as on a strawberry) through the blade.
What can you slice with a mandoline?
You can cut just about any dense produce with a mandoline.
Mandolines are best used on vegetables and fruits that are dense and ripe. Mandoline-friendly fruits include apples, pears, mangoes, lemons and tomatoes. When it comes to vegetables, you can slice up zucchini, onions, radishes, carrots and potatoes with this tool. You can even use a mandoline to shave Brussels sprouts or asparagus, assuming you have the right blade.
Unfortunately, produce like pineapple, grapes and broccoli aren’t sturdy or dense enough to be cut with a mandoline.
Blade types and accessories
Depending on what you’re slicing, you may want the ingredient thinner or thicker. Some brands include additional blades that allow you to slice ingredients to different thicknesses, while others have a knob that allow you to adjust the slice thickness.
Additionally, most mandolines come with four basic blades:
- Flat slicing
- Julienne slicing
- Coarse shredding
- Fine shredding
Some mandolines also come with a “wavy” blade, and it’s arguably the best way to make crinkle-cut fries.
Safety is crucial when using a mandoline slicer.
You don’t have to be afraid of your mandoline—really. Just follow these best practices and use common sense when handling the tool.
- Never place your hand or fingers under a mandoline. Always lift it to retrieve your slices.
- Use the finger guard if your mandoline came with one. If you don’t have a guard, consider buying a cut-resistant glove, or use the palm of your hand to run the produce across the mandoline as you get closer to the end of it.
- Don’t set up your mandoline over a plate or bowl, unless it’s specifically design for use with them. These surfaces may wobble and lead to injury.
- Store your mandoline in a cabinet where it’s out of reach from children but still easy to access. Having to dig it out from under other appliances is a good way to slice your finger.
Your new mandoline will save you time in the kitchen!
The 40 blade Bron professional model is by far our favorite mandoline! The New “Pro Stainless Steel Mandoline” is also a favorite of many Chefs.
It is perfect for preparing large amounts of food for parties and special events. Pro Chefs use this model every day in busy kitchens! It is really not hard to use, first carefully remove the black plastic pieces that cover the razor sharp blades and discard them, they are only for shipping. The legs set up to support the unit at an angle with the blade assembly facing away from you, carefully reach under the unit and grab the pencil like Stainless rod and pull it up and down to open and close the slicing plate, this is how you adjust the thickness of the cut, close the slicing plate completely and on the side there is a small lever, grab it and pull it out about a 1/2 in. out, rotate it 180 degrees (this changes the set of blades underneath, the lever locks onto a pin) to use the thicker blades, move the slicing plate down to desired thickness. For Waffle & Krinkle Cuts- Close the slicing plate and adjust the lower waffle plate open to make waffle cut chips, carrot or zucchini slices. After each slicing motion, turn the food 180 degrees to product a waffle like cut. This machine is great for zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage for coleslaw, red onions, lettuce, carrots, eggplant, potatoes and much more! Several Chefs prefer to discard the safety guard into the trash (if you never use it, why take space up in your drawer) always use a cut proof glove, Braided Stainless Steel Butcher Gloves or Kevlar Gloves, these are both faster, non slip, cut proof and can be washed in the dishwasher or laundry and reused up to several thousand times. My glove is going on 15 years! It is much faster to put on the glove wash the potatoes and push them through the machine (wet or dry) with the glove on. Any size potatoes. The mandolines are in stock with free shipping in the Cont. USA.
This mandoline will easily produce perfect julienne, matchstick, french fry and krinkle cuts on most any vegetable or fruit. Excellent for vegetable trays, potato preparations and more! This is the only Mandoline (or Mandolin) preferred by more professional Chefs! This is the best mandoline made and we have the lowest price on this model!
We have used our Bron Heavy Duty 44 Blade Mandoline for over 20 years and it keeps on going! All of the parts are replaceable! Our mandolines are new factory units from France. They come with the optional pusher guard. We hope this is helpful! Enjoy your new mandoline. Click links above and look around the site. Chef Tools, Knives & More.
Happy slicing, Chef Greg @ Chef Depot
Purchase a Mandoline here:
Purchase Cut Proof Butcher Gloves here:
See how to cook knife skills
Mandolines are used to slice ingredients (particularly vegetables) quickly, efficiently and uniformly. They allow you to slice much more quickly than with a knife but take great care – many a chef has lost the tip of a finger to a razor-sharp mandoline blade.
Mandolines can be used to prepare all manner of firm vegetables, for example, slicing potatoes for dauphinoise, cutting courgette ribbons and slicing ginger or garlic. Gary Jones uses a mandoline to finely slice fennel for a garnish on his Scallop and tuna ceviche while the stunning radish rounds on Robert Thompson’s Mackerel ceviche can easily be made using a mandoline.
Beetroots are particularly good vegetables for slicing, as they cut cleanly and hold their shape. This is demonstrated beautifully in Simon Hulstone’s Beetroot and goat’s curd samosa where paper-thin beetroot slices replace the samosa pastry.
As well as adding consistency and finesse to high-end dishes, mandolines are a great everyday bit of kitchen kit. Vegetables for a stir-fry can be chopped and cooked within minutes and they also make light work of shredding cabbage for coleslaw.
Mandolines can range from very basic models with one slicing thickness to more complex models with fittings which allow you to julienne or dice vegetables. Many mandolines have at least a few different thickness settings to allow you to slice depending on the thickness needed.
Mandoline blades must be kept razor-sharp to ensure clean cuts – you can sharpen the blade yourself, much as you would sharpen a knife.
Mandolines are relatively safe utensils when used properly but due to the sharpness of the blade, many models come with a hand guard for extra protection.
Mandoline slicers are the tool for slicing and dicing with utter uniformity and precision, but they can be quite dangerous. The above video shows you how to safely wield a mandoline so you can consistently slice all sorts of foods (and not your hands).
Four Tips for Mastering the Mandoline Slicer
Mandolines are efficient tools for saving time in the kitchen, but they can be dangerous if you…
As the video shows us, the key lies in using the guard. Though some culinary “bad boys” like to play fast and loose with their digits—ahem, Grant Crilly in this video —you should do as I say and not as they do, and use the guard at all times. (Maybe even throw a cut-resistant glove on there for good measure.) Once you know how to use your slicer safely and correctly, your ready to slice up super thin, super uniform slices of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses . Some ideas:
- Uniformly Pickled Pickles: Cucumber, onion, and zucchini all make great pickles, and they’re even better super thinly sliced.
- Hard Cheeses:Aged cheeses like cheddar are prone to crumbling , and a mandoline lets you achieve deli-worthy slices in the comfort of your own home, without it all falling apart.
- Potato Chips: The mandoline lets you cut potatoes more thinly than you ever could with a knife (or at least more thinly than I could with a knife), and uniform chip thickness means everything gets crispy at the same rate.
Again though, the big takeaway here is that you should always use the guard. Fingers are important, and I’m assuming you’d like to keep yours.
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