Learn the trick to cutting parsley like a pro.

By Lisa Milbrand
Updated May 18, 2020
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Parsley once was relegated to garnish status, with a sprig placed on every plate, but now we know that parsley is really good for adding freshness to plenty of dishes, from pastas 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.

Wondering what parsley is good for? 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 lemon-parsley risotto. It can take the place of basil for a flavorful pesto or make a nice substitute for cilantro, for people who hate that particular herb.

Adding fresh parsley to almost any dish gives food a bright, flavorful boost that the dried version of the herb just can’t provide. 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.

One bunch of parsley from the grocery store can often last you for several dishes, so you’ll want to clean and store parsley properly. Odds are, you haven’t been using the proper parsley chopping method, so here’s how to cut parsley like a pro.

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What You Need

  • parsley
  • bowl
  • paper towel
  • cutting board
  • sharp chef’s knife

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, where you 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, and 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 parsley properly.
  3. Slice the parsley leaves off the stems. Hold the parsley by the stems, angled down onto your cutting board. Run a very sharp chef’s along the length of the stems toward your cutting board to shear off the parsley leaves. Cut only 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 parsley leaves two to three times.
  6. Use the best way to store fresh parsley. To help preserve your parsley, wrap the parsley 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.