Carrots are an odd vegetable to cut. Usually, the average person slices a carrot, but cubes? When you want them in an even dice, there is a little bit of a learning curve. That’s why in this post I’m going to show you how to dice carrots like a chef!
Dicing a carrot is one of the many knife skills that is important to master—whether you are cooking at home or getting your feet wet in the culinary world! There are many things that a diced carrot is good for.
You can use a tiny diced carrot as a garnish to make a dish look extra beautiful. You can use medium sized diced carrots in a salad or side dish like this recipe from Taste of Home! And finally, you can use any size in a soup to ensure all the carrots cook evenly!
How big is a diced carrot?
The size of your dice all depends on what you are using the carrots for! There are typically 3 sizes of a dice. A brunoise is a very small, 1/8″ dice. A small dice is a 1/4″ square, and a medium dice would be a 1/2″ square.
What’s the difference between a chop and a dice?
Chopping a vegetable usually refers to rougher pieces. Not all the veggie chunks are even when you chop. However, a dice is more precise. When you’re dicing, you are trying to get uniform pieces (usually uniform squares).
As I mentioned earlier, this does not come particularly easy with carrots since they are round. We have to fiddle with the shape a bit in order to get a true diced carrot. It takes a little getting used to.
However, once you’ve got the technique down, you will love the result! Diced carrots cook more evenly and are great for a variety of recipes. So are you ready for the tutorial? Let’s jump right in!
How to Dice Carrots
What You’ll Need:
Before we get started, you will need to gather a few things in your kitchen. Of course, you’ll need carrots. But that’s not all. You’ll also need:
- Vegetable Peeler
- Sharp Chef’s Knife
- Cutting Board
- Kitchen Towel or something non-slip
- Kitchen Ruler (optional but recommended)
It is truly important that your knife is SHARP. Did you know it is more dangerous to work with a dull knife than a sharp knife with good technique? I hope that’s why you’re here—to learn the correct knife skills you need in the kitchen, with a sharp knife!
But anyway, you will also need a cutting board and something under it to keep it from sliding around. This can be something as simple as a kitchen towel. The main thing is you don’t want your board slipping while you’re trying to do a new knife skill.
With that in mind, let’s get into the steps!
Step 1 & 2:
First of all, peel your carrot. Cut off each end, and then cut it into a few sections. I usually like to do about three 2″ sections, but it will depend on the length of your carrot.
Now we need to square off our carrot. The only way to get an even dice on a carrot is to make it square rather than round. This is the same as dicing potatoes. To do this, take one of the sections of carrots and stand it up. Using your knuckles as a guide, slice off one side of the carrot to form a flat edge.
Now, put the flat edge down on the cutting board and cut off all the other sides of the carrot so that you have one final square. (If you don’t like the waste squaring a carrot results in, don’t worry—you can use the excess in things like stir fries!)
(See the finished squared-off carrot in the next photo collage)
Steps 4 & 5:
We’ll make a series of more cuts before dicing. First, slice your carrot square evenly in half (Or, into 1/2 inch strips depending on how big your carrot is).
You will now have carrot planks. Lay these down on the cutting board and cut them into 1/2″ strips.
At this point, I have four 1/2″ strips, and now I am ready to dice! Line up the strips and cut them into 1/2″ even cubes.
In the first photos below you can see the finished 1/2″ dice.
If you want to do a smaller dice, follow the same steps but cut everything at 1/4″ instead of 1/2″. First cut the carrot square into 1/4″ planks, then the planks into 1/4″ strips, and then the strips into 1/4″ cubes.
If you aren’t sure how big your cuts are, it is totally fine to use a kitchen ruler to make sure everything is nice and even!
More Carrot Recipes & Knife Skills:
Carrot Dicing FAQ
Can I just use a carrot dicer tool?
It is worth noting that there are tools out there that claim they can dice carrots and other vegetables. While this may seem like a time-saver, I would argue that these types of tools are not worth it. I would much rather spend my time getting good at true knife skills, rather than opting for a “quick fix” that may or may not actually work well and get even cuts. You have a lot more control when you are making the cuts yourself.
Can you dice carrots in a food processor?
No. You may be able to chop carrots in a food processor, but you cannot dice in a food processor. It simply won’t get you even squares—which is the whole point of dicing in the first place. If you need a quick chop for something that doesn’t need to look pretty, the food processor might be a good option. But it is not for dicing.
How do you dice carrots for soup?
Dicing a carrot for soup is no different from the tutorial above! You still square off your carrot, cut your planks, sticks, and then squares. Just make sure you think about what size dice will cook best in your soup!
Help! The carrot is slipping everywhere and I can’t get clean cuts. What’s wrong?
This could mean that your knife isn’t sharp enough. Having a sharp chef’s knife is essential to cutting any vegetable, but especially dicing carrots. In that first step where you have to square off your carrot, a good sharp knife will do so without you feeling like you’re going to slip and cut your finger.
Not sure whether your knife is sharp enough? Try holding a piece of paper with your left hand, and slicing through the paper with your knife at a diagonal. A knife that is sharp enough will go through the paper effortlessly! If your knife doesn’t, it needs a good sharpening.
Dicing carrots is a great technique to have under your belt. The next time you need a pretty garnish or evenly cooked carrots in a soup, you’ll know exactly what to do! So now it’s your turn – grab your knife and cutting board and get to work! Practicing your knife skills will go a long way in your cooking journey. You can do it!