Carrots are probably the most common addition to any salad, and they can be cut in a variety of different ways, depending on what you're looking for. From basic grated carrots to fancy rolled carrot slices, there are all sorts of recipes that call for different shapes and sizes of carrots.
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I am going to show the best way to cut carrots for salads, from grated carrots to salads and slaws, these easy ways to cut carrots will help take your meals up several notches! Plus step-by-step photos!
🥕How to Select Carrots
The freshest carrots will still have their greens attached. If the leafy green tops are turning yellow the carrots will be dry.
For carrots without tops, look for firm plump carrots with a bright color (either orange or any color rainbow carrot). Avoid carrots with wrinkled skin or soft spots, as these may be a sign of age or bruising.
🌡️How to Store Carrots
While fresh whole carrots can go for several days unrefrigerated. It is best to keep them in the refrigerator's crisper drawer until you're ready to use them. Carrots can last up to 3 weeks if stored properly.
Store your cut carrots in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
🔪What is the best knife for cutting carrots?
The best knife for cutting carrots is a sharp chef's knife. I do not recommend using a serrated knife on a carrot.
Avoid using dull knives, as they may not offer the precision needed to make clean cuts and could slip off course, causing an injury.
The most stable way to hold your knife in your dominant hand. Grip the handle with your thumb and index finger on either side of the blade. Place your middle finger on the back of the handle, near the blade, to provide additional support and control.
Looking to speed up your time in the kitchen? Here are 2 tools that I actually own to make things easier:
- Mandolin - I use this inexpensive mandolin that comes with a grating attachment and julienne attachment (2 sizes!) and can make vegetable noodles. Plus it is less than $30!
- Julienne Peeler- A heck of a lot easier when making a salad for one person!
I do not recommend buying a carrot cutter unless you have a home business like catering or a bakery. In general, I prefer to use kitchen items that work in a variety of ways.
🥕How to Cut Carrots for a Salad
Start by thoroughly washing your carrots. Despite the common belief that you should peel carrots, peeling the carrot is in fact optional. If the skin is dry, peel the carrot, If it looks good, you can leave it on.
Place the carrot on your cutting board. Use your knife to trim the end of the carrot where the greens are attached. If there are greens save them for another purpose. Or chop them up and add them to your salad.
Shredded is the most popular and easiest way to cut carrots for salads and coleslaw recipes. It is what I use in my classic house salad recipe. It is fast, easy, and requires minimal knife skills.
Using the large holes of your box grater, hold the carrot at a 45-degree angle. Grate the carrot until just a nub remains.
A mandolin with a large grating attachment or a food processor are both great tools for shredding carrots into smaller pieces. When using a food processor, place the carrot in the container and use an attachment with small holes to grate them.
Ribbons are thin strips of carrots made using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Simply use the peeler to slice the carrot into thin strips. This method is perfect for adding texture and flavor to salads without overwhelming other ingredients.
Julienned or Matchstick
The julienne cut is the same as the matchstick cut or french cut. The carrots are cut into thin long pieces similar to a match. It is an ideal cut for hardy salads that don't have any greens like my spicy kani salad.
First, slice the carrots in half crosswise and then lengthwise into thin strips. Then take each slice and cut lengthwise into ¼ inch pieces.
Alternatively, you can use a mandoline slicer or julienne peeler. The julienne peeler will create very thin strips.
Leftover julienne carrots are great for stir-fries.
Sometimes called a brunoise cut, the perfect size for carrots is ⅛ inch to ¼ inch. To dice carrots, start by cutting them into matchsticks (see above), then stack the slices and cut them into small cubes. You can also use a hand chopper if you don't mind the cubes being different shapes and sizes.
Carrot Slices - Rounds and Half Moons
This cut is perfect for adding to salads and slaws for extra flavor and crunch. For the round carrot slices, use your knife or mandolin slicer to cut thin slices (i.e the rounds).
To make a half moon, cut the whole carrot lengthwise. Place the flat side down on your cutting board and cut it into thin slices.
This is a great way to use up baby carrots. Simply slice the small carrots into thin rounds (about ⅛ an inch thick).
Leftover carrot slices are great to add to soups and stews.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Once you've mastered the basics of cutting carrots, try experimenting with more advanced techniques like making carrot flowers and ribbons for a beautiful presentation.
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can eat carrots greens. They're just as healthy and delicious as the carrots themselves. You can use greens to make all sorts of delicious things like pesto, chop them up in salads, use a garnish or add them to soups.
If you find that your fresh carrots have gone a little flop you can crisp them back up. This goes for both whole and cut carrots. Place them in an ice water bath for 2 to 5 hours to re-crisp.
I like to add leftover carrot pieces to soups, stews, and salads (obviously!), or to munch on as a healthy snack. I save the top of the carrots, the peels, and carrots that are still good but not crispy for making homemade stocks and broths. Freeze in a zip-top bag until you need them.
Salad Recipes Using Carrots
📖 Printable Recipe Card
How to Cut Carrots for Salad
- 1 pound carrots
- Wash the carrots thoroughly. Only peel the carrots if the skin is tough or dry.1 pound carrots
- SHRED: Using the large holes on a box grater, press the end of a whole carrot at a 45 degree angle to shred.
- RIBBONS: Use a vegetable or potato peeler to make long thin strips.
- ROUNDS (OR HALF MOONS): Use your knife to cut into thin ⅛ inch slices. For half moons cut the whole carrot in half lengthwise first.
- JULIENNE: Cut the carrots crosswise into 3 inch pieces and then lengthwise into thin strips. Then take each slice and cut lengthwise into ¼ inch pieces. You can also use a julienne peeler which will automatically cut into this shape.
- DICED: Cut the julienned carrots and cut into ¼ inch cubes.