How to dice

Jan 1, 2011 at 2:46 p.m. ET

To dice means to cut something in even sized cubes - usually between 1/4 and 3/4 inch in size. Dicing helps foods have consistent texture and flavor, and makes the dish more attractive.

Woman dicing vegetablesStep 1: Choose the right knife

Dicing is best done with a sharp knife with a six inch blade. For the cleanest cut make sure that the knife is very sharp.

You will hold the knife in your hand, curling three fingers around the handle and pinching the bottom of the blade between your thumb and index finger for control. Make sure the knife you use is a comfortable fit in your hand.

Step 2: Prepare the ingredients for the knife

Wash your vegetables and make sure they are dried thoroughly before you begin. If they are wet there is more of a chance that the knife could slip and cut you.

Most vegetables are peeled before they are diced. Once the peel has been removed cut the fruit or vegetable in half lengthwise and lay it flat side down on the cutting board. The flat surface will keep the pieces from shifting and rolling as you cut.

Cut straight down the edges and ends to form a rectangle, or as near to it as you can get.

Step 3: Define your dice

Diced foods can be categorized into three different sizes.

  • A small or fine dice is created by cutting the vegetable into 1/4 inch cubes.
  • A medium dice is created by cutting the food into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • When food is cut in 3/4 inch cubes it is considered a large dice.

When a recipe calls for a smaller dice than 1/4 inch it is correctly referred to as a brunoise.

Step 4: Begin cutting

Now cut the vegetable vertically in even slices. Keep the knife tip on the cutting board and use a rocking motion to cut through the vegetables. Stack the slices up and cut into uniformly sized sticks. Once you have cut it into sticks cut across the sticks horizontally to create cubes of equal sizes.

Step 5: Special techniques

Some vegetables, like tomatoes and cucumbers, can be tricky to dice because of pulpy seeds. This can be done easily by scraping out the pulp leaving the firm outside flesh. You can then dice the flesh using the method described above.

As you are dicing you can keep the stack of diced vegetables from tumbling all over the cutting board by cupping your hand over the knife and holding the base of the stack steady with your index figure.

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For more info on this topic...For more household tips, check out:
Super Moms guide to cleaning & cooking for the family

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