A Mandoline Does Things No Knife Can Do

Bon Appétit

Mandolines: loved by salad eaters, feared by fingers. With what must be the highest body count of any kitchen tool after knives, mandoline slicers are tools that demand caution, reverence, and respect.

But, if you use a mandoline carefully, the rewards are immense. The best mandoline will help you speed through produce prep work, make paper-thin slices of cucumber, chop grillable coins of zucchini, and even cut potatoes into perfect steak fries. I particularly like shredding cabbage with mine, which reduces an entire head to the thinnest shreds in about a minute for slaws and pasta salads

The best mandoline slicers

OXO Good Grips Mini Complete Grate & Slice Set

“I use my mandoline constantly. It’s a great way to shave vegetables into elegant ribbons and whisper thin slices,” says Jess Damuck, many of whose recipes in her cookbooks Salad Freak and Health Nut make frequent use of the kitchen gadget. “My knife skills are okay—but the mandoline makes quick work of precise uniform cuts.”

If you’re intrigued by the possibilities a mandoline offers, but aren’t quite sure what to look for—or are afraid you might lose some digits in the process—we are here to help. Below you will find our top picks for the best mandolines to grace your countertop, as well as some safety tips and additional equipment you can buy that will ensure that your mounds of freshly shaved vegetables remain carnage-free.


What is a Mandoline Slicer

A mandoline slicer is a handheld vegetable slicer that can produce uniform and consistent cuts at an efficient speed compared to dicing on a cutting board. Think of it as the halfway point between a knife and food processor. They consist of a plank bisected by a straight or V-shaped blade, with a small gap for vegetable slices to fall through. Sometimes they are adjustable to allow for varied widths, but many are fixed to a standard slice thickness.

Most models come with stainless-steel blades, but you can also find others, like this Kyocera, with a ceramic blade instead. Higher end models typically come with a range of slicing attachments, like a blade for waffle cuts or a julienne blade.


Best Mandoline: Benriner Mandoline

The Good: Sharp, precise, and easy to use.

The Bad: Does tend to stain a little.

You’d have to search high and low to find a culinary professional who recommends anything besides the Benriner mandoline. Damuck loves it. Food editor Shilpa Uskokovic uses it in the test kitchen all the time, as do countless other professional kitchens and home cooks

Much of that love has to do with the Benriner’s design. “The plastic makes it lighter and more nimble than unwieldy, old-fashioned stainless-steel models, tucking away neatly into a tiny kitchen drawer,” Shilpa says. “It’s spare and efficient in its industrial design—no clunky knobs, flimsy handles, imprinted numbers bound to wear off, or weird V-shaped blades.” The plastic crank on the bottom of the Benriner also allows you to select a thickness setting to an exacting degree. “You can cut kohlrabi thin enough to read a paper through or thick planks of potato for a gratin,” she says.

In the product tests from our sister brand Epicurious, the Benriner’s incredibly sharp blade was unmatched by any other adjustable mandoline. It’s as agile and precise as a chef’s knife in expert hands, and comes with three interchangeable blade styles for matchstick and julienne cuts of different widths.

But the Benriner is not without shortcomings. The hand guard, a separate plastic piece you can use to hold down items like onions or cucumbers, is clunky and somewhat uncomfortable to hold. It’s not exactly what you want in a product’s main safety feature, which is why we suggest something better down below for those who are still nervous about accidents. It’s also not dishwasher-safe, though it’s easy enough to hand-wash. As Uskokovic notes though, the plastic has a tendency to stain, especially when slicing carrots or beets.


Best Mandoline If You Are Afraid of Full-Size Mandolines

OXO Good Grips Mini Complete Grate & Slice Set

The Good: Takes up little space, convenient, and safe(r)


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Author:Wilder Davies | Website:www.bonappetit.com

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