Basic Knife Skills




There's no need to take a chefs course to learn how to use a knife properly, as long as you know how to hold a knife, you can cut all sorts of foods neatly and professionally, follow these simple steps and you can cut foods with ease and without cutting off your fingers, which is always good.
Always use a sharp knife as they can cut through the food with ease and wont slip and cut you as would a blunt knife.
If your chopping board slips while you are cutting a handy tip is to put a damp cloth underneath.

In this instructable i'll show you a method to dice an onion using a technique I call The Claw, this method shows you how to hold your food so you wont injure yourself.
I'll also show you how to roughly chop a mushroom.

Step 1: Method One - the Claw!

In order to cut food without cutting off some of your digits, one of the easiest ways to remember how to safely cut is The CLAW!
The Claw is a way to hold the food you are cutting and tucking the tip of your middle finger inwards so that the blade is guided with your knuckle and your ring and index finger's are holding the food, and the thumb is guiding the food towards the blade, depending on what you are cutting. This way your finger tips will not be in the way of the blade and neatly tucked away.

To hold the blade properly make sure your fingers are tightly wrapped around the handle, and the thumb and index finger near or on the blade.

Step 2: Using the Claw to Cut an Onion

Ingredients and equipment
- An onion
- Chopping board
- Knife
- Damp towel if chopping board moves while chopping

- Hold the onion with The Claw, being sure that it doesnt roll around too much.
- Cut the end of the onion off, not the end with the roots, the root end holds the onion together,so you can cut it easier.
- Peel the onion.
- Throw the peel away, preferably in the food recycle bin if you can.

Step 3: Cutting the Onion

- Cut the onion in half.
- Put the onion cut side down and cut paralel with the chopping board, towards the root, but not all the way, making sure your fingers are out of the way of the blade as shown in picture 3.
- Cut the onion again paralel with chopping board but slightly lower, as shown in picture 4.
- Cut the onion towards the chopping board with the tip of the knife pointing towards the root, do this along the onion evenly,as shown in pictures 5,6 and 7.
- Cut at a 90 degree angle to last cut along the onion moving towards the root, this is the final series of cutting, shown in pictures 8 and 9.

Step 4: Final Product - Diced Onion

Final product, diced onion, ready to be gently fried until caramalized and added to your favourite meal, yum yum, and no fingers lost, yay.

Step 5: How to Roughly Chop

Using the same equipment as with cutting the onion, only changing the onion for a mushroom.

Put the mushroom on the chopping board and place your knife sharp side down near the mushroom, holding the tip of the blade with your fingers, this is to hold the knife down and give some control over where you are chopping.
Making sure the tip of the blade is held in place by your fingers and gently rock the blade over the mushroom, slicing through it holding the mushroom with your thumb if necessary.
Move the chopping board around so you are cutting the mushroom at a 90 degree angle and begin the process again, cutting into even smaller pieces, and voila roughly chopped mushrooms.



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    12 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    "#Disclaimer - This instructable is not for kids, kids shouldnt handle knives as they are very sharp." else are they supposed to learn how to prep thing in the kitchen? Teach the kids knife safety, and they'll be fine! Eskimo's give 2 year olds razor sharp blades to cut seal fat.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    True. My daughter learnt handling a sharp, serrated knif, as she was 1.5 years old.
    She only cut herself once. Sharp knives are far less dangerous than dull knives


    6 years ago on Introduction

    nice guide. Typo on the santoku, you have it labeled as a santuko. Common mistake, no biggie... but I am a little bit anal retentive when it comes to spelling.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    lol, sorry to disappoint. im sure you can at least distract the bad guy with The Claw, while you dice his fingers quickly, lol.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    nice work with diced onions… however, you might as well chop them as you do so well with your mushrooms : much faster and the skillet nor the eater will see any difference.

    keep dicing for stuff that needs to keep its shape when cooking such as eggplants, zucchinis, potatoes, carrots, etc… (however they'll need bigger dices)

    as for me, I feel that chopping with a knife is the best because you only need one tool to do almost anything in the kitchen : the best way to cut garlic is to chop it as you show with your mushroom. Using those Cuisinart garlic mashers gets you nowhere as they make a purée of garlic instead of very finely cut garlic that remains in shape to flavor the whole pot without getting mixed with the rest of the dish (of course, ultimately it does, but after simmering in he pot with the rest of the dish).

    thank you for your inst anyway !!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great Instructable, and a great use of pictures to emphasize your points.

    5 of 5

    Wish I had the knife skills you have! I can keep my fingers and I can keep my knives sharp and clean but I CAN'T cut uniform pieces for th elide of me :). Good luck to you!