I get lots of emails asking about the difference between chopping, dicing, and mincing. And while there are many technical definitions, for our purposes, I’m going to lay it out in home cooking terms.
Chopped – Large non-uniform pieces. Random shapes and sizes about 1/4″ in size or about the diameter of a dime. Chopping can be rough and less precise than dicing. Sometimes a recipe will call for a small or medium chop, when this happens focus more on the size of the pieces rather than their shape.
Diced – Dicing is more uniform than chopping. The size is also somewhat smaller. Imagine the diameter of a pea (but squared). Dicing is usually called for in a recipe where the ingredients are uncooked like in salsas and picos.
Minced – Mincing is simply a very fine chop. It’s about as small as you can get. When mincing garlic it’s nice to get it down to a paste. You do not need to focus on uniformity here. Just start mincing!
Some recipes will call for ‘chunks’ as in chunks of chicken for a stir-fry dish. Most of the time you’re being asked to cut the ingredient in bite-sized pieces. Cubes are the same size as chunks but are more precisely cut. Think of cheese cube on an appetizer tray.
Most of the time a recipe calls for a certain size to keep the cooking time or flavor consistent. If you chop an onion when the recipe calls for a dice, chances are the onion will not cook as the recipe intended. Similarly, if you dice the garlic instead of mince, you’ll end up taking a bite that is way too pungent. That said, when it comes to the precision of a cut, you be the judge. Most of the time it’s simply a visual preference and if you’re serving your family, it’s probably not worth the extra effort. Concentrate more on the size than the shape.
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Thanks. Just purchased a 4 in 1 Chop and slice. Can do chop, cice and slice. Needed to see which blade to use. Thanks.