How to use a mandoline for consistent thin slicing

8 October, 2020

Without ending up in the emergency department!

Mandolines are a great piece of low-cost kitchen equipment that can help you to speed up preparation time and get consistent slices of food easily. Unlike a food processor, they take up minimal room in your kitchen cupboards and don’t require power.

Having a mandoline in your kitchen is great for getting perfect slices for your potato gratin, preparing salads, slicing cheese and so much more. No matter what you like to cook at home, you can probably benefit from having a mandoline in your kit. But with their super sharp blades, mandolines aren’t without risk. (In fact, Chatsfood’s writer
vividly remembers her sister ending up in the emergency room after a mandoline incident!). However, by following some common-sense rules, you don’t have to be afraid of your mandoline and can use it safely to slice a range of foods in the kitchen.

Where to buy a mandoline

Mandolines are readily available at kitchenware stores and department stores. They are available in plastic or fully stainless steel, with a range of attachments to allow for different width slices, julienne, waffle cuts, crinkle cut and more.
You should ensure your mandoline comes with a safety guard (which you should always, always, ALWAYS use) and if you are particularly accident-prone in the kitchen, you should consider buying a cut-resistant glove too.

Safety first

There are some simple and straightforward rules to remember when using a mandoline. Here are our top tips for using your mandoline safely.

  • A flat surface: You should always use your mandoline on a flat and stable surface. A clean and dry chopping board on your kitchen bench is best. Don’t position your mandoline on something like a plate as this can be uneven and might slip, especially when you start applying downward pressure.
  • Perpendicular position: The safest position is to place your mandoline perpendicular to your body so that you slide the food away from your body to make the slices. This is safer and less likely to slip than being positioned parallel to your body and moving your hand from side to side.
  • Cut food to size with a flat surface: Make sure you cut the food to a size that will fit inside the hand guard and start with a flat surface for the cutting blade.
  • Use the hand guard: Yes, we know we are repeating this point, but we really can’t emphasise it enough. Using the hand guard helps you to keep the food secure and keeps your fingers away from the sharp cutting blades.
  • Keep the mandoline steady with your non-dominant hand: It’s a good idea to hold the mandoline steady to prevent slips.
  • Be careful when cleaning and storing: Mandolines are best handwashed, being careful of the blades. Let it air dry on a rack to fully dry before putting away. It’s safest to store your mandoline out of reach of children, ideally in a sealed and labelled container.
  • Never store a mandoline loose in a drawer or on a high shelf where someone might reach up without looking.

Are you a fan of using a mandoline? Or have you been scared to buy one?