What You Need:
- Mandoline slicer
- The hand guard
- Your desired fruits or vegetables
Prep Time Needed:
Total Time Needed:
Mandolines can be intimidating even to the most experienced chefs and bakers. Most of us err on the side of caution and reach for a paring knife or a food processor when it comes time to slice, but despite its intimidating reputation, a mandoline slicer will deliver precise cuts that are essential for artistic and exact cooking.
From homemade pizza with perfect slivers of fresh tomato to crunchy oven-roasted potato chips, there are so many dishes that can be made with this versatile tool. Here's how to use a mandoline slicer safely.
Step 1: Prep the ingredient
Wash and peel your produce (if desired) before slicing. Cut larger vegetables in half so they fit within the parameters of the blade. You'll also want to cut tall vegetables, such as squash and zucchini, in half for better control.
Step 2: Set up the mandoline
Set up your mandoline on a clean, flat surface, such as a cutting board. Choose the correct blade for your desired cut, and carefully slide it into place. If you're not sure how to safely attach a blade, consult the manual—better safe than sorry when you're handling sharp edges.
Step 3: Attach the finger guard
Most mandoline slicers, including those in our guide to the best mandolines, come with a "finger guard" to protect your hand from the blade. Attach the guard to the fruit or vegetable you're slicing by firmly pressing the prongs into the end of the produce. If you don't have a finger guard, you may want to invest in a cut-resistant kitchen glove.
Step 4: Slice carefully
Mandolines with a handle should be held with the non-dominant hand so your dominant hand is free to control the fruit or vegetable. Get a firm grip on the finger guard, and apply a moderate amount of pressure while sliding the produce over the blade.
Slide the ingredient back across the blade to get ready to make another slice—the blade will only cut the fruit or vegetable when you're moving in the downward direction. Repeat until the produce is at its end. Be sure not to send stems (such as on a strawberry) through the blade.
What can you slice with a mandoline?
Mandolines are best used on vegetables and fruits that are dense and ripe. Mandoline-friendly fruits include apples, pears, mangoes, lemons and tomatoes. When it comes to vegetables, you can slice up zucchini, onions, radishes, carrots and potatoes with this tool. You can even use a mandoline to shave Brussels sprouts or asparagus, assuming you have the right blade.
Unfortunately, produce like pineapple, grapes and broccoli aren't sturdy or dense enough to be cut with a mandoline.
Blade types and accessories
Depending on what you're slicing, you may want the ingredient thinner or thicker. Some brands include additional blades that allow you to slice ingredients to different thicknesses, while others have a knob that allow you to adjust the slice thickness.
Additionally, most mandolines come with four basic blades:
- Flat slicing
- Julienne slicing
- Coarse shredding
- Fine shredding
Some mandolines also come with a "wavy" blade, and it's arguably the best way to make crinkle-cut fries.
You don't have to be afraid of your mandoline—really. Just follow these best practices and use common sense when handling the tool.
- Never place your hand or fingers under a mandoline. Always lift it to retrieve your slices.
- Use the finger guard if your mandoline came with one. If you don't have a guard, consider buying a cut-resistant glove, or use the palm of your hand to run the produce across the mandoline as you get closer to the end of it.
- Don't set up your mandoline over a plate or bowl, unless it's specifically design for use with them. These surfaces may wobble and lead to injury.
- Store your mandoline in a cabinet where it's out of reach from children but still easy to access. Having to dig it out from under other appliances is a good way to slice your finger.