The Key To Cutting Romaine Lettuce Like A Professional

While some might think salads are boring, their versatility makes them a great way to get in your veggies either as sides or by themselves: They're rich in nutrients and usually have simple recipes to follow. Plus, you can add ingredients you like. However, those who struggle with their chopping techniques may have a hard time. Don't worry: The Internet has the hack you need to improve your lettuce-chopping game.

When cutting romaine lettuce, a classic base for spring salads or the well-known Caesar, use a cutting board and a clean, sharp knife. A TikTok video proposes cutting the head of romaine lettuce through the middle lengthwise with two cuts, starting from the head, until the lettuce is divided into vertical strips. Leave the bottom intact, as this is removed at the end. Then, you can chop both halves at once or individually. While cutting, move the knife through the lettuce horizontally and put space between each cut based on the size of strips you want. Romaine lettuce can work in small thin strips or large, thicker ones for a crunchier salad. Finally, whenever you use a knife, curl your fingers to avoid slicing your fingertips and start slowly.  

Now that you've nailed your cutting technique, you may have other questions about preparing vegetables. As with any other food, correct washing and storage are crucial for getting the best results with any dish you prepare.

Wash and cut your lettuce right before serving it

Although discoloring is a natural process for lettuce, which means it is still safe to eat while brown, your romaine lettuce may not be in the best state. Try chopping the freshest, greenest lettuce possible — and make sure your chopping utensils have been thoroughly washed, too.

On a Reddit forum, some discussed the belief that lettuce browns because of the metal in the knife and suggested tearing it instead. According to McGill University, when lettuce is torn — no matter the medium — some cells are damaged, and browning starts. The knife isn't to blame, except if this utensil is not thoroughly clean, which can bring bacteria to the lettuce and a higher risk of foodborne illness. A sharp knife is an excellent tool, as it creates uniform slices. With the lengthwise cutting hack shown on TikTok, this task should be done in a few seconds.


Another veggie cutting hack! #knifeskills #culinaryschool #lettuce #salad #lunch

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

When stored properly in the fridge, lettuce can last 7 to 10 days. That being said, if you doubt your storage skills, chop your lettuce right before serving to avoid making one mistake people make when making a salad. Wash lettuce beforehand (although some people wash lettuce in a colander after chopping), and remove any brownish or bad-looking parts with your knife.

Don't want to use a knife? Use scissors

We get it, using a knife to cut your greens can be a bit intimidating. Fortunately, there's another way to prepare lettuce for a salad — using scissors. Scissors are actually among the best cooking utensils you can stock your kitchen with, so the investment is well worth it.

As for using scissors to cut lettuce, the process is similar to using a knife. Start with an unwashed head of lettuce, and either remove leaves to cut individually, or keep them together as a bunch. You can then start at the tips, and work your way down to the stalk, cutting even strips. This method will leave you with long strips of lettuce, perfect for tacos and sandwiches. Of course, if you want shorter pieces of lettuce, you can also go back in with your scissors.

For an even speedier cutting process, you can invest in a pair of salad scissors, which are essentially two pairs of scissors in one. According to a Food Network Facebook post, these are great for if you just want to toss all your salad ingredients in a bowl and chop everything at the same time.

Applying your lettuce-cutting skills to iceberg lettuce

If you feel comfortable using a knife to cut romaine lettuce, you can graduate to a trickier lettuce like iceberg lettuce. Because this type of lettuce is round, it's prone to rolling out from under your grip. That being said, we have a neat trick for safely cutting it.

Just like with your romaine lettuce, you should never wash iceberg lettuce ahead of time. Instead, take an unwashed head of iceberg lettuce and carefully cut off the stalk. Next, cut the head in half, and then into quarters. These wedges of lettuce are much easier to cut into recipe-ready pieces. Just don't forget to give the lettuce a good rinse!

What's more, depending on which way you cut the wedges, you can prepare longer or shorter pieces. Cutting with the grain of the lettuce will give you long shreds of lettuce, while cutting against it will give you shorter pieces. Prepping lettuce has truly never been easier.