Kitchn Love Letters

I Use This Little Slicer Way More Often than I Use My Chef’s Knife

updated Mar 1, 2022
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A hand hold a mandolin over a bowl of freshly cut zucchini slices.
Credit: Meghan Splawn

Would you believe me if I told you that I got my first Benriner mandoline more than a decade ago and it’s still the mandoline I use five or six nights a week in my kitchen? You should! Because it’s true. This slicer is still incredibly sharp and reliable, even after more than 10 years of consistent use. Some weeks, I even reach for it more often than I reach for my chef’s knife! What exactly is a Benriner mandoline? Allow me to back up.

Old-school French mandolines (what you probably picture when you think of a mandoline) have a reputation for being bulky, dangerous, and rather expensive — effectively scaring away many home cooks. The Benriner is a smaller, less bulky Japanese mandoline and the company has been making fairly inexpensive options since 1940.

Let me back up even more: Why do you need a mandoline? Designed for thinly slicing vegetables for salads, potatoes for chips, and even cabbage for pickling, mandolines are as crucial for busy weeknight meals as they are for project cooking. A good mandoline streamlines chopping and makes a quick job out of something that would take you much longer with a knife — no matter how good your knife skills happen to be. A good mandoline gives you consistent, paper-thin slices that a pro chef would churn out (but, fun fact, chefs use mandolines, too!).

Credit: Meghan Splawn

The Classic Slicer comes with a finger guard and three removable blades for making thin vegetable strands, matchsticks, or juliennes. The cutting width adjusts easily with a single knob on the underside of the mandoline (no awkward futzing around like with some French mandolines), which makes the Benriner even more of a joy to use on busy weeknights. I can switch easily between thickly slicing apples for my kids and making paper-thin fennel bulb slices for our dinner’s side salad without much thought. It is also dishwasher-safe, unlike my chefs knife. And it can easily tuck away in a drawer — although, honestly, it rarely has a chance to get put away before I reach for it again.

In the years since I bought my Benriner, they’ve added a large “Jumbo Slicer” mandoline to their lineup, which is currently sitting in my cart. And while the brand has made improvements to its hand guard, you’ll have an easier time cutting big, bulky items if you invest in a cut-proof glove to go along with this essential tool.

I’m not the only one here at Kitchn who loves this mandoline. When we were coming up with our list of Kitchn Essentials, we spent more than 30 minutes debating whether or not people need a garlic press (we ultimately decided it’s worth skipping!), but knew right away that the Benriner had to make the cut. Goofy pun intended.