How to Cut Basil

5 from 26 votes

Learn how to cut basil quickly and easily with this step by step tutorial. Add fresh herbs to your dishes for a boost of flavor.

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Here is how to cut fresh basil into pretty chiffonade, the thin strips of the herb you see scattered on top of Margarita pizzas, in Caprese salads, and on fresh sandwiches.

Chopping basil on cutting board into chiffonade
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Chiffonade is a culinary term for any thinly cut strips of vegetables or herbs – usually a garnish. In French it literally means “made of rags.’

How to cut basil

  1. Take a few leaves and stack one on top of the other. Put the largest one the bottom.
  2. Roll them together.
  3. Hold them into a tight cylinder
  4. Using a sharp knife, slice the basil leaves as thinly as possible.
  5. Move from one end of the cylinder to the other.
  6. Separate the ribbons of basil and then you’re ready to use them!
6 image collage to show how to cut fresh basil

how to store fresh cut basil

  • Basil is notoriously fragile. It bruises easily. The leaves turn dark with too much handling. Use as quickly as possible.
  • If you must, wrap in a damp paper towel, in a food storage bag, or covered container for 1-2 days.
White bowl of chiffonade basil

Recipes with fresh cut basil

Frequently asked questions

Can I freeze basil chiffonade?

No. It will be slimy when defrosted.

Can I substitute dried basil for fresh in recipes?

No, it’s not recommended. It will not taste the same. The taste of basil transforms when it is dried into something some people compare as being closer to mint.

Can chiffonade be added to cooked tomato sauce?

Yes, but for the most flavorful impact, add in the last few minutes of cooking.

A few basil leaves on white background

Fresh basil is one of those herbs that really elevates dishes. From pastas, to pizzas, sandwiches and salads, it’s a great way to finish off a dish and add a sweet aromatic flavor.


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How to Cut Basil

Learn how to cut basil quickly and easily with this step by step tutorial. Add fresh herbs to your dishes for a boost of flavor.
5 from 26 votes
Servings 1
Course Ingredient
Calories 1
Prep Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute
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  • Basil leaves no stems


  • Stack 5 leaves on top of one another, so they’re curled up, leaving the largest on the bottom.
  • Roll the leaves up into a tight cylinder.
  • Using a sharp knife slice the basil as thin as possible from one end to the other.
  • Separate the ribbons of basil with your hands and use as desired in a recipe that calls for fresh basil.


Storage: Cut basil will keep well in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
Photo Credit: Erin Jensen


Calories: 1kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 15mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 264IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Ingredient

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