Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It's easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

Lesson 3: Slice & Dice Like a Pro

Get more out of your chef's knife! These sharp tips will make your mealtime prep faster, easier and way more efficient, no matter what you're cooking tonight.

chopping onion lettuce cucumbers and cherry tomatoes on cutting board
Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

1. Stay Sharp

A well-honed knife is safer and more effective than a dull one. The blade will go right through the firmest of foods with much less effort, decreasing your risk of slips and nicks. Test your knives before chopping: A sharp blade will slice a ripe tomato or a rolled-up sheet of paper cleanly and effortlessly.

2. Choke Up

For optimal control, your grip should straddle both the handle and a bit of the blade. Scoot your hand toward the point of the knife until you're lightly pinching the base of the blade between your thumb and forefinger. Wrap your other three fingers around the handle. (Mimic the grip in the photo above.)

3. Tuck Under

Keep the fingers holding the food curled inward, out of the blade's way.

4. Zero In

It's the kitchen equivalent of "Keep your eye on the ball": Watch the blade come down precisely where you want it—you'll end up with uniformly cut food, which cooks more evenly.

5. Rock, Don't Whack

It feels better. It sounds better. And it works better. Start with the tip of the knife resting on the cutting board, handle raised. Push down on the handle to slice through the food, then lift the handle, rocking back toward the tip to reset for the next slice. The blade never lifts entirely off the board, which saves you energy.

Mexican Chopped Salad
Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

Now that you've got knife skills like a pro, try using them in our Mexican Chopped Salad!

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