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an overhead shot of thinly sliced strips of basil in a small white bowl

how to chiffonade basil

Chiffonade is a French cooking term that literally translates to "little ribbons" or "made of rags." In the kitchen it refers to a technique used to thinly slice delicate leafy greens into thin ribbons. This simple technique will make a perfect chiffonade easy for even the most beginner-y of beginner home cooks.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Technique
Cuisine French


  • Sharp knife


  • fresh basil (or other leafy greens)


  • Wash and dry your greens, then remove the leaves from the stems.
  • Take the biggest leaf and layer smaller leaves inside of it. Try not to do more than 5-7 leaves at a time.
  • Roll the stack of leaves up into a log. Gently press the seam of the log against your cutting board.
  • Use a very sharp knife to slice the log into thin slivers. Unfurl the leaves to reveal the thin strips of chiffonaded leaves.



  • Wait until the last possible moment to chiffonade the more delicate greens. Basil oxidizes quickly when the cut sides are exposed to air. If you chiffonade your basil too far in advance it will have turned a deep dark green — almost black — by the time you're ready to use it.
  • Basil bruises easily. Be gentle but firm once you've rolled it up into a log. Try not to pinch it or smush it against your cutting board. Use a super sharp knife to slice through the log in quick, decisive strokes to minimize bruising the leaves as you make your cuts.
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