If you’re a whizz in the kitchen that loves to cook for yourself, your friends, and your family then you probably know how annoying it is to have to individually chop all your vegetables in preparation for every meal you cook.
If you’re looking for a quick way to chop your vegetables that doesn’t require too much elbow grease, you may want to consider looking at a mandoline slicer.
A mandoline slicer is ideal for getting your fresh vegetables ready quickly. It is a handy kitchen tool if you live a busy lifestyle and don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen but still want to benefit from a healthy and fresh diet.
In this article, we’re going to run you through everything you need to know about mandoline slicers. We’ll start by telling you the difference between a mandoline slicer and other kitchen utensils such as spiralizers and cutters.
We’ll also run you through the different types of mandoline slicers on the market, the different cuts they provide, as well as the various parts they come with. Lastly, we’ll tell you how to use one and share some of the most reputable manufacturers on the market today.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
While it can be used to slice virtually anything, a mandoline slicer is a kitchen utensil that is most commonly used to slice vegetables, fruit, and sometimes even cheese. It’s a great tool for making salads, french fries, and a huge variety of other dishes.
Mandoline slicers are not to be confused with cutters or spiralizers and they are able to cut ingredients in a variety of ways depending on the model.
There are various stories about when and where the first mandoline slicer was invented. Many believe it first appeared in the late 18th century and was originally invented by Doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotin.
The mandoline slicer was named after Doctor Guillotin’s ex-girlfriend, Mandy. These mandolines were best known for their use by Marie Antoinette, who placed one in each room for doll executions.
While the mandoline slicer is an extremely popular modern day kitchen utensil, it still does get confused with a spiralizer and a cutter. Here are some key differences between them all:
Mandoline slicers and spiralizers do look very different. A spiralizer is either horizontal or vertical depending on the model. It holds the vegetable upwards or along a rod and sometimes comes with a handle that can be turned, thus spiralizing the chosen ingredients easily.
A mandoline slicer, on the other hand, comes with a flat, board like base with another board placed at a 90-degree angle. It features a very sharp and durable blade and is normally significantly bigger than a spiralizer.
One of the biggest differences between mandoline slicers and spiralizers is their purpose. A spiralizer is best known for creating spiral strands from vegetables like courgettes, carrots, and even squash, among others.
These are great alternatives to higher calorie ingredients like spaghetti and are handy for people wanting to lose weight, who have a medical condition such as diabetes, or are gluten or wheat free.
A mandoline slicer is awesome for dicing and slicing fruits and vegetables at speed. Slices come out a lot thinner than when chopped with a knife and are great for making snacks like homemade potato chips.
As mentioned above, a spiralizer often has a handle which pushes the vegetables or fruit against a blade which then slices them. Modern models also come with the same function as handle held pencil sharpeners. All you need to do is twist your vegetables into your spiralizer and they come out sliced the other side.
With a mandoline slicer, you have to run your vegetables repeatedly over your blade. Recent models come with safeguards that allow you to not only change your settings but also avoid catching your fingers on the blade.
While spiralizers can make vegetable pasta, mandoline slicers are great for getting chopping jobs done quickly. If you’re feeding a large party or just need ingredients sliced finely, a mandoline slicer is extremely handy.
Both are very versatile tools with lots of functionalities. The amount of use you get out of your kitchen utensils will, of course, depend on the model you choose to purchase.
Because mandoline slicers offer a huge variety of cutting options, they come with a multitude of parts. While most models come in one big piece, some do have multiple parts that are designed to fulfill a variety of purposes. Here are the main ones:
The main plate is where the food that is being sliced sits. To use a mandoline you slide the food on the main platform in order for it to reach the blade.
Modern models often have a variety of interchangeable blades that allow you to cut up ingredients in a variety of ways. Because it is the part of a mandoline slicer that is most used, it is also the one that is most likely to need replacing with time.
The folding stand is key to your safety and the proper use of mandoline slicer. It keeps your mandoline in place on the table, thus reducing the chances of it moving while in use. It is important that you use this part with care as the frequent folding and unfolding can mean that the part needs replacing.
Another essential safety feature to a mandoline slicer is the safety guard, also known as the hand guard. It is the part that allows you to guide food on the main plate to the blade.
You must inspect your safety guard with every use to ensure you do not injure yourself when using your mandoline slicer. Your safety guard will also come with stops which are what keep you safe from the blade.
The number of small parts your mandoline slicer has will completely depend on the model you choose. That said, many come with small nuts, bolts, hinges, levers, and handles, all of which have a purpose and all of which keep your appliance working properly.
You may find that you need to tighten these once in a while to ensure your mandoline slicer continues to function as it should be.
Many mandolines come with a variety of blades for you to choose from. These will all offer different cutting and slicing styles and will be interchangeable. The number of blades you choose to have will depend on your slicing preferences and needs.
Stainless steel and plastic mandoline slicers are more or less the same. They have the same functionalities and operate in the same manner. Here are some of their key differences:
Stainless steel mandolines are typically more sturdy than plastic ones. They are less likely to break and more durable. Also, stainless steel models normally come with a better warranty because they are of better quality.
Stainless steel mandoline slicers require more maintenance. With a stainless steel model, it is important that you clean your mandoline thoroughly after every use and then dry it. It also may require you to oil it before storing it to ensure it stays in perfect working order.
While stainless steel models are typically more of a nuisance to maintain, they do remain in good working order if looked after correctly.
On the other hand, plastic models are much easier to maintain and can be put in the dishwasher without any additional oiling. That said, plastic mandoline slicers can sometimes suffer discoloration because of certain vegetables like beetroot for example.
Both types of mandolines are normally dishwasher friendly, but more complex stainless steel ones can be tricky to dismantle and fit in your machine. Plastic ones are easier to clean in a dishwasher and are also lighter, meaning they are less likely to break other items place in your washer.
There are now three main types of mandoline slicers. Despite them operating in more or less the same way, they do come with different features and they vary in price. Here is a brief summary of each one:
An adjustable mandoline slicer comes with two parallel platforms, one of which is stationary and houses the blade, and the other which can be manually adjusted to alter the thickness of the cut it makes.
The adjustment you choose to make will completely depend on your personal preference as well as the ingredients you are slicing. These mandoline slicers are extremely versatile and allow you to slice a huge variety of ingredients from paper thin, to an inch thick.
Platform insert mandoline slicers and adjustable ones are more or less the same. The key difference is that platform insert ones do not offer the same level of versatility when it comes to the thickness of the cut you can make.
Basically, instead of having a platform that is adjustable with a turn of a knob, the platform insert mandolines slicer has different cutting plates that can be placed into the tool. If you want a mandoline to make a huge variety of different cuts, you may find this style slightly limiting.
A flat board mandoline slicer is much more basic than its pre-mentioned counterparts. You won’t have nearly the same amount of functionalities or versatility as an adjustable or platform insert mandoline slicer.
A flat board mandoline slicer is typically used when a large quantity of ingredients need to be cut at the same thickness, for example, in a commercial kitchen.
Thanks to new adjustable models and new blade types, you can choose the type of mandoline cut you want to make. While the types of slices you can make will hugely depend on the model of mandoline slicer you choose, here is a description of some of the most common types of mandoline cuts:
The slice is the most common form of cut that you can make with a mandoline slicer. You can choose between a huge variety of thicknesses depending on the type of mandoline slicer you have, and nearly all mandoline cuts come in this form of traditional slice.
All three styles of mandolines are able to make this type of cut, the only difference being that with an adjustable one you can choose your thickness by turning the knob on your appliance and with a platform insert one you can vary the thickness by inserting various blades.
The slice cut is great for preparing cured meats, vegetables, salads, cheese, and virtually any ingredients that need to be sliced evenly.
Crinkle cuts are also extremely popular and may remind you of the traditional crinkle potato chips. The crinkle cut makes a very small v-shaped cut up and down the side of the ingredient you are slicing.
While crinkle cut potato chips are one of the most popular dishes to prepare with a crinkle blade, you can cut a variety of other ingredients with it too. Most importantly, crinkle cuts are best done on hard vegetables such as carrots, courgettes, sweet potatoes, and others of similar consistency.
Waffle cuts are very similar to crinkle cuts, but as you can imagine they resemble a traditional waffle. As with crinkle cuts, they’re great for making fun shapes in potatoes, but once again, they are also an awesome way to cut virtually any hard vegetable.
Probably the second most popular way to chop ingredients with a mandoline slicer is Julienne style. Julienne cuts are not as thin as paper like other slices. They are slightly thicker strips and their thickness can be adjusted depending on the model of mandoline slicer you own.
Julienne cuts are great for preparing carrot sticks for dips, salad, crudites, and various stir fry dishes. They’re perfect for carrots, peppers, cucumber, courgette, potatoes, aubergines, and a variety of other vegetables.
Matchsticks are very similar to Julienne cuts, however, they are much thinner and shorter. As their name suggests, they resemble matchsticks and are most commonly used for cutting up carrots and cabbage when making coleslaw.
Many are hesitant to use mandoline slicers because of their sharp blade, but these handy kitchen appliances are extremely easy to use, and are very safe if used correctly. They also allow you to create beautifully presented food in a matter of minutes!
First and foremost, you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions. While most mandoline slicers do work in a similar way, they all have their own set of unique features. It is therefore important that you learn about these features before getting started.
In the instructions, you’ll find all the information you need on how to get your mandoline slicer setup properly, how to adjust your blades to your desired thickness, and how to change the blades. You’ll also learn how to clean, store, and maintain it for future uses.
Once everything is setup it’s time for you to decide what you want to chop and how. Think about the type of meal you are preparing. For example, if you want to make a stir fry, you may want to choose a Julienne style cut that is quite thin.
Once you’ve decided what you’re cooking, the style of cut you want to make, and the size of your slices, it’s time to test your mandoline slicer. This will depend on your model, but with most, you must ensure that your platform is attached to your holding device.
The holding device comes with the mandoline slicer and will help you avoid any nasty injuries while using your slicer. Be sure to move the food across the blade with the holder, not your hand. You could also wear a pair of cut-resistant gloves as an extra precaution.
Now that you’re all setup and have taken the necessary precautions, you can start testing ingredients on your mandoline slicer. All you need to do is push the food with the help of your holding device until it makes contact with the blade.
Once it has done so, the blade will slice your ingredient onto a plate that you can place underneath it, and you can repeat the process until you have prepared enough ingredients to get cooking.
There are so many mandoline slicers on the market today. As a result, it can be difficult to know where to look. To help you, here is some information on some of the most reputable mandoline slicer manufacturers in the industry.
Born in 1990, OXO was founded by Sam Farber and has now become one of the most iconic kitchen utensil brands in the world. First introduced to the U.S., OXO now has more 1,000 innovative, comfortable, and reliable products, some of which can be found in museums worldwide.
A business venture that started off designing ergonomic kitchen peelers, now offers various cooking, baking, gardening, cleaning, and storage products, as well as small appliances, baby and toddler related products, and much more.
Based in the Haute Savoie, in France, Bron-Coucke is a family company that has been creating high-quality kitchen utensils for more than 60 years. But, Bron Coucke is best known for its stainless steel chopping mechanisms, one of which is the mandoline slicer.
The company provides simple yet robust, and durable kitchen products for both those who love to cook at home and those who work in professional kitchens. In addition to mandolines, Bron Coucke manufactures tomato slicers, guillotines, and spiralizers, among other tools.
Known as a leader in the mandoline slicer category, Borner is actually an authority brand within the entirety of the fruit and vegetable slicing equipment industry.
The company, which started in 1956, creates well constructed products that are durable, easy-to-clean, and a combination of plastic with surgical steel blades. The company’s products are also best known for their precision, quality, and safety features.
Many mandoline slicers are dishwasher friendly, but they still require regular maintenance in order to continue functioning properly over time. Cleaning your mandoline slicer is also essential to avoid any harmful bacteria growth.
If your mandoline slicer is not dishwasher friendly or you just prefer cleaning it by hand, you’re best to do so immediately after use because if you leave it, the ingredients will stick to the platform and blade making it harder to clean.
The best way to clean your mandoline slicer is with warm or hot water and a small amount of soap. Be sure to clean the blade against the direction of the sharp edge in order to avoid cutting yourself.
Once clean, leave your mandoline slicer to dry fully. You can either leave it to air dry or dry it with a clean towel. Do take extra precaution if cleaning it with a towel. Note that if you do not dry your mandoline slicer correctly, this could lead to corrosion thus making your slicer completely useless in the future.
If you love to cook for large groups, have a large household, or just can’t be bothered spending hours preparing your ingredients before cooking them up, then a mandoline slicer is exactly what you need.
Be sure to take all the above into consideration, and always use the appropriate safety precautions when operating a mandoline slicer. Finally, if you’ve decided you’re ready to purchase a new mandoline slicer, head over to our buying guide to find out more about some of the best products on the market today.