Chefs around the world love cucumbers for their crisp texture and refreshing flavor. The crunchiness and moisture make cucumbers a perfect ingredient for salads, appetizers, and main dishes. With the right techniques, you can cut cucumbers into thin slices (julienne), dice, or add creativity to your presentation with decorative shapes like slinky cucumber spirals.
To cut cucumbers, wash them under running water to remove any dirt or bacteria. Peel the cucumber if you like, but it’s unnecessary, especially if it’s unwaxed. Cut off each end of the cucumber using a sharp knife, then in half lengthwise. Proceed to slice, dice, or julienne the cucumber as desired.
Understanding how to cut a cucumber is the first step to enjoying the versatility of this refreshing vegetable. Whether you’re making a salad, an appetizer, or a main dish, the methods in this guide will help you get the perfect cucumber slices, diced pieces, or decorative shape every time.
Cucumbers can harbor bacteria on the surface, so cleaning them before cutting is important.
To clean cucumbers:
- Rinse the cucumber under cool running water.
- Gently scrub the cucumber with a clean brush to remove any dirt or bacteria.
- Dry the cucumber with a clean towel or paper towel.
How to peel cucumber (optional)
Despite being a little tough and bitter, cucumber skin is rich in vitamin A. Some cucumbers come waxed to prolong their shelf life while others don’t have the wax coating. Peeling is optional if you intend to prepare unwaxed cucumbers, but it’s necessary if the cucumber has wax. The reason to peel waxed cucumbers is that the wax can give the cucumber an unpleasant taste.
Follow these steps to peel a cucumber:
- Hold the cucumber in your dominant hand such that your fingers wrap around it with one end pointing up.
- Use the other hand to hold a vegetable peeler at a 45-degree angle at the top of the cucumber.
- Apply pressure to the peeler and drag it down the length of the cucumber.
- Repeat the move as you rotate the cucumber until all you have is a whitish-green core.
How to dice a cucumber
Dicing is a simple but effective way of cutting cucumbers into small, uniform pieces. Instead of being in one long strip, the pieces are about a quarter-inch square. This cut is ideal for salads and main dishes where small pieces are an asset.
The end goal of dicing cucumbers is to achieve small, consistent pieces. Several methods exist on how to dice cucumbers. Below are some of the most popular methods:
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- Cut the cucumber in half across the middle.
- Take one half and chop off one end.
- Stand the cucumber on the newly cut side. Square the cucumber by cutting the peel off each side in a downwards motion.
- With the cucumber still standing, make lengthwise cuts downwards every 1/4 inch.
- Repeat the same lengthwise cuts in the opposite direction to create a grid-like pattern.
- Lay the cucumber flat on the cutting board.
- Cut through the lengthwise cuts to create small square pieces.
The brunoise dice
Once you have the julienne cut (discussed below), you can turn it into a brunoise dice. Brunoise is a smaller version of the dice cut, typically 1/8-inch square pieces.
To achieve this cut:
- Arrange the julienne cucumber strips in a single layer on the cutting board.
- Cut the strips crosswise into 1/8-inch pieces.
- Proceed to cut the strips in the opposite direction to create small square pieces.
Dice the batonnet cut
A batonnet cut is a long rectangular cut about 1/4 inch by 1/4inch and about 2 to 3 inches long. Once you have the batonnet cut cucumbers, you can turn them into dice by cutting them into small square pieces.
To dice the batonnet cut:
- Arrange the batonnet cucumber strips in a single layer on the cutting board.
- Cut the strips into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch square pieces.
How to thinly slice (julienne) cucumber
The julienne cut is a long, thin strip cut about 1/16 inch by 1/16 by 1/16 inch and 2 to 3 inches long. The cut makes excellent cucumber straws or “matchsticks.”
Follow these steps to achieve a julienne cut:
- Cut the cucumber in half such that you have two cylindrical halves.
- Cut off one end of each half.
- Stand the cucumber on the newly cut side and peel down one side to achieve a flat surface.
- Lay the cucumber with the striped side facing down.
- Hold the cucumber in place with your fingers on the cutting board.
- Use a sharp knife to make lengthwise slices about 1/16 inches thick.
- Stack the slices one above the other and cut 1/16-inch crosswise slices to create thin strips.
Cut cucumber creatively
Once you have the basic cuts down, you can get creative with your cucumber slicing. Creativity doesn’t require a set of instructions but rather the willingness to experiment. With a bit of practice, you can create beautiful and unique cucumber garnishes for your next dish.
How to cut cucumber slinky
A cucumber slinky is a decoration often used as a cocktail garnish. It adds an elegant touch to any drink and is relatively easy to make. You can also use a cucumber slinky to top off a dish or as part of a fruit or vegetable platter. While you can use a julienne peeler to make cucumber slinkies, we have a method that is just as easy and doesn’t require any special equipment. Well, maybe some inch chopsticks or quote-inch wood dowels.
To make cucumber slinkies:
- Place the cucumber on the chopping board and position one wood stick on each side of the cucumber such that they are parallel to each other.
- With a sharp knife, start cutting from one end of the cucumber. Do not cut through but stop and lift the knife once it touches the wood sticks.
- Continue making the thin slices across the cucumber until you reach the other end. Be sure to keep the pressure on the knife consistent so that all the slices are of even thickness.
- Once you reach the end, carefully turn the cucumber, so the uncut side is now facing up.
- Position the wood sticks on each side of the cucumber and repeat the slicing process, but this time at a 45-degree angle to the first set of slices.
- Ensure the knife doesn’t cut through the cucumber but only touches the wood sticks.
- Once you reach the end, hold both ends of the cucumber and gently stretch it out to form a slinky.
Spiral cut the cucumbers
Spiral cuts are an excellent way to add a decorative touch to any dish. The cylindrical shape of cucumbers brings out the best of this cut. To make a spiral cut, you will need a sharp knife and a cutting board. You may also use a vegetable peeler, but we find that a knife gives you more control.
To spiral cut a cucumber:
- Hold the cucumber in your dominant hand and the knife in your other hand.
- Start peeling in a circular motion from one end of the cucumber to the other.
- Ensure to create a very then peel, so the spirals are uniform in thickness.
- Proceed with the process until the entire cucumber is done.
- The shaving may break off during the process, which is fine but ensure the spirals are of even thickness.
Spiral-cut cucumbers make excellent salad toppings or can be used as a garnish for cocktails and other drinks.
Cucumber salad recipe
Below are some exciting cucumber recipes for you to try out.
Creamy cucumber salad (15 mins)
Nothing screams summer like a refreshing and creamy cucumber salad. This dish is perfect for a light lunch or as a side to your favorite summer BBQ recipes. To peel or not to peel? That is the question. We say, leave that tough skin on for extra crunch and nutrients. But, if you prefer a more delicate salad, then, by all means, peel away. The salad is best when eaten fresh, but don’t salt it if you plan to keep it for later as the cucumbers will release water and make the salad soggy.
Asian cucumber salad
This Asian-style cucumber salad is the perfect side dish for any summer meal. It is light, refreshing, and has a beautiful balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors. You want the most negligible bitterness possible in your cucumbers, so we recommend English cucumbers, also known as seedless or hothouse cucumbers. If you can’t find them, regular cucumbers will work just fine. The salad is best when eaten fresh but will keep in the fridge for a day or two.
FAQs on cucumber
Cucumbers are a great way to add nutrients, flavor, and crunch to your summer salads. Understanding how to cut them correctly will ensure you achieve the most out of this refreshing vegetable. This step-by-step guide has all it takes to get you started on your cucumber chopping journey, including some creative recipe ideas to inspire you.
You can also visit our blog for more information on how to cut different vegetables. Our store has some of the best handmade kitchen knives and accessories that will change your cutting game. Make a point of investing in a good knife set and the proper cutting board to get the most out of your cucumber chopping experience.