How to Julienne Carrots Like a Pro

Fancy slicing and dicing isn't as difficult as it looks. Follow these steps to create perfect julienned matchsticks every time.

Julienned carrots, cucumbers, and vegetables on a round blue plate with 2 metal forks to its left, set on blue fabric
Photo: John Cullen/Getty Images

Cutting carrots into a julienne—thin strips that resemble matchsticks—may sound like a daunting task that requires fancy knife skills, many hours of practice, or a culinary school degree (or a combo of all three), but it's easy once you learn the basic technique. You'll be rewarded with a pretty pile of matchstick-size carrots that are great for garnishing salads and adding to sautés and stir-fries.

Before you start, it's important to make sure you have a sharp chef's knife to handle the job; a sharp knife ensures cuts will be clean and helps prevent the blade from slipping, which means you're less likely to cut yourself in the process. A sturdy cutting board is a must, too. Once you've mastered this technique, you can apply it to many other vegetables—potatoes, celery, and more.

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Peel and Trim

Julienned carrots, cucumbers, and vegetables on a round blue plate with 2 metal forks to its left, set on blue fabric
John Cullen/Getty Images

First, peel the carrot. (Tip: We love using a Y-shape Swiss peeler—the basic one from Kuhn Rikon works like a dream and is favored by professional chefs everywhere. Plus, it's inexpensive!) Trim off the top and bottom ends of the carrot and discard.

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Cut Smaller Pieces

Slice the carrot crosswise into pieces about 2 inches long, depending on the size of your carrot and the desired length of matchsticks you want. The idea is to create pieces that are similar in size, so the resulting julienne is uniform.

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Create a Flat (and Stable) Surface

Cut a thin slice lengthwise from one side of each carrot piece, creating a flat surface. Roll the carrot onto its flat side, creating a stable bottom that will prevent the carrot or your knife from slipping, protecting your fingers and making the rest of your cuts a cinch.

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Start Slicing

Cut the carrot pieces lengthwise into ⅛-inch thick slices. Stack the slices on top of each other, then slice lengthwise into ⅛-inch thick strips, creating uniform matchsticks. And voilà—you've got perfectly julienned carrots. Use this technique with different veggies (cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes) to create perfect strips every time.

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