a cutting board with a variety of colorful vegetables that have been minced sliced diced and chopped

Slice Dice Mince and Chop

What’s the difference between slice dice mince and chop?

When you are following a recipe, the terms slice, dice mince and chop come up often, so it is important to know what those terms mean. And there is a big difference between one and another. Getting it right is often times crucial to the recipe coming out the way it is supposed to. Let’s take a closer look at what the terms mean, what a vegetable looks like when we have utilized each technique and why each one can make or break your end result when you cook.


I think the most widely known among these terms is slice. It comes up a lot in everyday life. You slice a tomato and then add a slice of cheese to the sandwich which is made from two slices of bread.

Slicing is making uniform cuts. The slices can be thin or thick, but when you are slicing for a recipe all the slices should be about the same thickness.

Let’s take a closer look at slicing

a cucumber that has been sliced in round and diagonal slices


When dicing we are making small square cubes (like dice but smaller).

Dicing is used less frequently than slice, mince and chop. In a lot of cases, when you are preparing an ingredient for dicing you have to trim to make it square in shape. You need to start with a square or rectangle. If you are dicing a round ingredients such as a carrot or potato, this creates waste. The whole process is pretty time consuming also. Potatoes, tomatoes and carrots are vegetables you may be instructed to dice. It’s not just vegetables though. Meats are diced in some recipes such as quiche and some hard cheeses also. When larger square shaped cheese is found on a cheeseboard it is likely the instructions would say to cut it into a cubes, not to dice.

So if dicing results in wasted time and money, why would you ever dice? Generally you are dicing for appearance. But the square shape of a diced ingredient also results in even quick cooking. I have a chicken pie recipe I make that calls for diced cooked chicken, carrots and potatoes. When done it looks nice with the uniform sized pieces, they cook evenly and there is a good distribution of the diced ingredients. It’s delicious but definitely not a quick easy recipe.

Let’s take a closer look at dicing

As you can see from the picture, dicing is pretty time consuming.

carrots some peeled and cut some trimmed, sliced and diced.


Mincing is very important. It is when you chop an ingredient up into very small pieces. They don’t necessarily need to be uniformly sized, but the size needs to be small. When you are instructed to mince an ingredient, your finished dish will not be as successful if you haven’t minced.

Why does mincing make such a difference in your end product? If you are being instructed to mince it is so the ingredient can be evenly dispersed throughout the entire dish. You will get some of the flavor in every bite. You end up with a subtle taste of the minced ingredient, not a bite of it.

Let’s take a closer look at mincing

I’m using an onion as an example for mincing because onion and garlic are the more common ingredients that will require mincing in certain recipes. It also gave me an opportunity to show you some other methods of preparing an onion.

To start working with an onion, cut off the top and bottom, and peel off the layer of brown skin by hand. When you are taking the skin off it’s usually easier to take off the first outside layer of the onion too. Finally cut the onion in half lengthwise.

In order to mince, you have to slice and chop the onion, so the steps shown in the picture are necessary to mince too.

A number of onions which have been sliced chopped and minced.


Chopping is the easiest and fastest of all. You are looking for fairly uniform size in your chop, but a big piece here and a smaller piece there isn’t going to make or break the recipe. You are just cutting the ingredient up. The size of your chop is not as important as keeping your pieces uniform. You may want big pieces of potatoes in your stew or maybe you like your stew with smaller pieces of potato. As long as the pieces are about the same size, they will cook uniformly. You can chop to a size to suit your own preference.

Let’s take a closer look at chopping

I am using a bell pepper to demonstrate chopping. Many are stumped as to how to chop a pepper to avoid getting a lot of seeds with the pieces, so I thought I would show you how I do it. It’s worked for me.

A side note to using peppers. Have you read our post about Wash Before You Eat? It is a humorous look at a serious subject. Not even mentioning how many hands have been involved in getting your pepper from the field to the produce department, peppers are usually sprayed with a wax on the outside during processing for sale. The wax is considered edible. Okay. It might not kill me, but do I want to add wax to my pasta sauce? NO! Not only that, but it’s my unscientific opinion that wax is going to make it all the easier for bacteria to cling to my pepper. Just sayin.

Motto of the story … seriously consider washing off your pepper with warm water and a clean cloth or paper towel. You should be washing all your vegetables, waxed or not. Think about where it has been.

a red bell pepper with the steps of cutting it open taking the membrane out sliced and chopped

And there you have it

Hopefully you will feel more confident when making a recipe, or creating one of your own!

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