Turning round or tubular vegetables into uniform cubes is an important knife skill that every cook should know. Dicing makes foods cook quickly and evenly. There's no magic trick or secret formula to learning to dice — the only way to improve your dicing skills is to dice more.
Preparing the Vegetables
Before slicing and dicing, make sure your vegetables are rinsed and dried. Think about how you plan to prepare the vegetables. Most vegetables, especially root vegetables, should be peeled before cooking, but maybe you'd like to roast your Yukon golds with their skin on.
Take a look at whatever you're about to dice and see if you can find a flat side to rest against the cutting board — this will make the vegetable more stable and easier to dice. Peel, if you like, and remove the stem ends.
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Slices, Sticks, Cubes
Once you're got your vegetable prepped and have found a flat side to rest it on, slice the vegetable into round steaks. The thickness of the round will determine the size of the final dice — thinner rounds make a small dice, while thicker rounds make a large dice. Once the whole vegetable is cut into rounds, slice the rounds into sticks (professional chefs call these "batons"). You can slice the rounds into sticks individually or stack a few together to cut more sticks faster. Once you've got a bundle of sticks, turn those into cubes by cutting across the sticks.
How To Dice Almost Anything
What You Need
Vegetables, such as sweet potato, potatoes, beets, carrots, rutabagas, or turnips
Sharp chef's knife
- Prepare the vegetables: Rinse and dry the vegetables. Remove the stem ends as needed.
- Peel: Peel the vegetables, if desired.
- Cut into steaks: Cut the vegetables lengthwise into slices: 1/4-inch thick for small dice, 1/2-inch thick for medium dice, and 3/4-inch thick for large dice.
- Cut into sticks: Stack the slices on top of each other and cut the slices lengthwise into sticks that are the same width as the slices.
- Dice: Cut the sticks crosswise, again in the same width as the sticks, to produce dice.