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What are the Different Types of Basic Knife Cuts?

By Jeri Sullivan
Updated May 16, 2024
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A knife cut is how a chef or cook slices food into a specific shape. The different types of basic knife cuts are batonnet, dice, allumette, mince, julienne, and brunoise. Different cuts are required depending on the dish being prepared because foods cook at different speeds and the size or shape of the ingredients affects how long a dish must cook to be prepared correctly.

Batonnet is a culinary term used to describe one of the cuts used in preparing vegetables. It is a long cube that should measure approximately 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) square and 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) long. A cook will use this cut on potatoes when cooking french fries or for celery and carrots when preparing a raw vegetable tray. When dicing food, the chef will start with the batonnet cut then slice the 3 inch (7.6 cm) long batonnet into smaller cubes, which are called a dice. Cheese for appetizers or bread for fondue is often cut into a dice.

The allumette cut is also used in vegetable preparation. Also known as the matchstick cut, due to its resemblance to a matchstick, the allummette is approximately the same length as the batonnet, but much thinner. A vegetable prepared this way will measure only about 0.25 inch (0.6 cm) square by 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) long. When chopping food, the chef will start with the allummette cut then slice the 2.5 inch (6.35 cm) long piece into tiny cubes called a fine chop. Nuts are often cut this way for desserts.

One of the most familiar basic knife cuts is the julienne. It is thinner than the allummette or batonnet and is used to shred food. The food, such as a carrot, is cut into a 2.5 inch (6.35 cm) long strip, then sliced to approximately 0.125 inch (0.3 cm) square. The julienne cut is used to make hash browns and shredded cheese. This cut may also be used to dress up salads or cocktails with candied lemon peels.

The smallest cuts are known as brunoise cuts. A brunoise is the same thickness as a julienne cut at 0.125 inch (0.3 cm) square, but instead of leaving the food in 2.5 inch (6.35 cm) long strips, it is cut into 0.125 inch (0.3 cm) squares. When mincing food, the chef will start with the brunoise cut and continue to cut into the food is finely chopped. Onions and garlic are often cut into a mince because the flavor would be too intense if left in larger pieces.

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Discussion Comments
By PrinzEugen — On Aug 08, 2012

I also want to include some translations.

Batonette: Small stick (baton=stick). It is the start for a small dice. No more than 10mm thick and 75mm long.

Allumette: Matchstick -- 6mm breadth and width 75mm long (I was taught 5mm x 75). The alumette is half as thick as batonette.

Julienne: 3mm x 70mm and the basis for brunoise. The julienne is half as thick as the alumette.

Juliene fine: Half the size of the regular julienne. Basis for fine brunoise.

Carre: 20mm cubes or coarse dice.

Parmentier: Medium dice, batonette cut into cubes (10mm cube).

Brunoise: Fine dice-- julienne diced into 3mm cubes.

Mince: A diced fine julienne, often squished through a sieve or just repetitive chopping.

The best book: "Knife Skills Illustrated: A User's Manual"- Peter Herzmann.

By PrinzEugen — On Aug 08, 2012

Nonsense. Any Michelin grade chef or basic cook worth hiring uses one knife for ten jobs. They have already mastered children's level skills in the horrible apprentice years of peeling millions of potatoes and making rosettes using the kitchen's reject knives.

One knife is quicker, more readily cleaned and sharpened (steel often hangs from the belt)- especially when you are very busy and you have many tickets and ten different courses on the range.

If you cannot filet, mince or carve or make simple rosette with one knife, you are sorely lacking basic knife skills.

Dice is dice: cut batonettes "sticks" to width (long rectangles) then cut at right angles to length.

Mince: Julienne, then dice, then use a rapid rolling cutting motion of knife over your brunoise or whatever.

By aplenty — On Jan 26, 2011

@ fiorite- These would be the types of cuts you would practice in culinary school with a chef’s knife or a santoku. Carving knives would be used for slicing cooked meats. Paring knives would be used for slicing and peeling fruits and vegetables as well as decorative cuts. Fillet knives are used for precision cuts on meats; cuts like filleting chickens, skinning fish, and trimming beef.

These are just the basic knives and their purposes, but there are a number of different knives used for different cuts.

By Fiorite — On Jan 24, 2011

@ Amphibious54- I would have to agree that this was a great article. I have only heard of dice and mince before reading this article. What type of knife would one use for these types of cuts?

By Amphibious54 — On Jan 22, 2011

What a great description of the different knife cuts. I am just learning how to cook and this explained knife cuts to me perfectly. I will begin practicing these cuts with my chef knife. Thanks Wisegeek!

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