How To Julienne

How To Julienne

Julienne (joo-lee-EHN) is a French word for cutting food into thin long strips or “matchsticks” using a knife or a mandoline. This technique is often used with vegetables to add texture to a dish and to ensure even cooking. From what I can tell, the origins and story of this technique are unclear. Some say it was invented by a French Chef, Jean Julien, who created a clear soup garnished with thin strips of vegetables. The first known use of the term in print, however, is said to be in a book published in 1722 and authored by a French chef who was the Master Chef to various royalty, including Louis XIV.

I recently took a knife skills class at The Brooklyn Kitchen and wanted to share a quick, step-by-step, description of how to julienne two ingredients I often use in my kitchen – ginger and scallions. You can also see how I cook with them in a favorite recipe of Steamed Whole Fish with Ginger and Scallions.

Scallions (aka Green Onions)

Scallions, Green Onions

Step 1: Start by trimming the root end and the top 1 inch of the dark-green end and by peeling the outer-most layer of the scallion. Rinse to remove any dirt and then pat dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, cut each scallion into 1/3 pieces or approximately 2 inches in length.

Halved Scallions

Step 2: Halve each piece of scallion lengthwise to create a flat side.

Scallion Matchsticks

Step 3: Placing each piece with its flat side down, cut lengthwise into thin even slivers or “matchsticks”.

Julienned Scallions

Result: Voila!



Peeled Ginger

Step 1: Start by peeling a 2 inch square piece of ginger using a sharp knife. Trim each end to create a flat surface to rest the ginger on.

Ginger Slices

Step 2: Cut the ginger into long thin slices lengthwise.

Stacked Ginger Slices

Step 3: Stack the ginger slices.

Ginger Matchsticks

Step 4: Thinly cut down the row of ginger slices to make thin even slivers or “matchsticks”.

Julienned Ginger

Result: Voila!

You can use this technique on all sorts of vegetables and meats. Just remember to use a sharp knife, create a flat surface, break down the ingredient into thin strips and then cut it further into thin slivers. It’s easy and makes for a good looking dish. Stay tuned for more knife techniques.



  1. Cat Knight says

    Thanks, and I will try that. Nothing beats a perfectly balanced and very sharp knife!
    Btw, your photography is beautiful , looks like the scallions are standing on air (but we know you had to drop them from the ceiling and catch them as they were falling… ) ;>

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