How to Clean, Chop, and Store Parsley

Learn the trick to chopped parsley perfection.

Parsley once was relegated to garnish status, with a sprig on every plate. Now we know that parsley is good for adding freshness to plenty of dishes, from pasta and stews to summer salads: The key is knowing how to chop parsley. Luckily for home chefs everywhere, cutting parsley at home is a little easier than learning how to cut an avocado or how to cut a mango.

Parsley—that brilliant green herb—can play a supporting role sprinkled as a finishing touch to a pasta dish like linguine with clam sauce, or it can be the star in dishes like garlic and parsley shoestring fries. It can take the place of basil for a flavorful pesto or make a nice cilantro substitute, for people who dislike that particular herb.

Adding fresh parsley to almost any dish gives food a bright, flavorful boost that the dried version of the herb can't provide. One bunch of parsley from the grocery store can often last several dishes, so you'll want to clean and store parsley properly. Odds are you may not be using the proper parsley chopping method, so here's how to cut parsley like a pro. Follow the easy steps in this video and guide for a fast, efficient way to prep parsley the next time you cook―and to store whatever you don't use for maximum freshness.

small wooden cutting board with parsley bunches and a knife laying on it, sitting on top of a striped kitchen towel
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What You Need

Follow These Steps

  1. Clean and dry the parsley. You can rinse off the parsley in cold running water, but the best way to clean parsley is the "dunk and swish" method. Dip the parsley bunch leaf side down into a bowl of cold water, swish it around to allow the sand and dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl, then shake out the excess water. Use a paper towel to pat the parsley dry. Tip: If the water in the bowl becomes very dirty, empty the bowl and clean the parsley again with fresh water until the water runs clear.
  2. Keep the parsley bundled. Keeping the parsley bunch tied together with a rubber band or twist tie makes it easier to store and cut the parsley properly.
  3. Slice the parsley leaves off the stems. Hold the parsley by the stems, angled down onto your cutting board. Run a sharp chef's knife along the length of the stems toward your cutting board to shear off the parsley leaves. Only cut as much as you need for the recipe.
  4. Pick out any remaining stems. Remove any larger parsley stems that made it into your cuttings.
  5. Chop it coarsely or finely, depending on the recipe. Gently gather the leaves together to avoid bruising the parsley. Then go through and slice the parsley for your initial rough chop. If you need your parsley more finely chopped, use a rocking motion to slice the parsley at a 90-degree angle from your initial cuts, running the knife through the leaves two to three times.
  6. Use the best way to store fresh parsley. To help preserve the parsley, wrap it in the damp paper towel you used to dry it off, then seal it in a plastic bag and store it in your refrigerator. Using this storage method will help ensure the parsley stays fresh for up to five days in your fridge.
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