The Best Mandoline Slicers To Make Thanksgiving Prep Way Easier

Hate chopping? Bad knife skills? This kitchen tool will turn your nightmares into a dream.
Don't even bother with a knife. A mandoline will produce these perfectly uniform slices in seconds.
Clay McLachlan via Getty Images
Don't even bother with a knife. A mandoline will produce these perfectly uniform slices in seconds.

A mandoline might seem like a scary kitchen gadget — the blade is so sharp! — but if used correctly, it can save time not only for everyday prep, but also for Thanksgiving dinner.

“There’s definitely a time and a place when a mandoline is helpful, and that’s when you want to shred or slice a lot of things and when actually being consistent with the size of things that you’re slicing is important,” shared Elinor Hutton, author of the bookThe Encyclopedia of Kitchen Tools” and cookbook consultant. “If you’re making an apple tart and you want all the apples to be sliced the same width, that would be a great instance, or if you’re making a gratin where you want all the potatoes to be a similar width so that they all cook evenly. If you’re doing it with a knife, you are going to get a lot of variation. And the variation can mean that some pieces aren’t quite cooked and other pieces might be overcooked.”

For Thanksgiving, a mandoline works well for slicing fruits and veggies, with the exception of food that’s too soft. “I think a lot of people try to extend what a mandoline is useful for,” Hutton said. “I’ve seen people try to slice tomatoes on a mandoline, and I think that’s crazy. When precision’s No. 1, use a mandoline. If you need to be gentle, I’d just use a knife.”

If you have not experimented with a mandoline before, that’s OK — Turkey Day might be a good time to learn a new tool. “Thanksgiving is a great time to use a mandoline because you have so many cooking projects going on that actually shaving off a few minutes here and there makes kind of a big difference,” Hutton said. “For me, it’s more of a special occasion tool, but it’s one of those things that I think if one gets really comfortable with it, and if you don’t mind pulling it out and giving it a quick wash after, it actually can be really handy probably all the time.”

Hutton gives her top-three picks of best mandolines to buy (and the best protective gloves, too), none of which cost a lot. “More expensive mandolines are made of stainless steel, and that doesn’t provide any real advantage,” she said.

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Amazon
Recommended all around: Benriner mandoline slicer
This chef-approved Japanese mandoline has a straight blade and four attachments, including a julienne option. “The Benriner’s fun because you never know if you’re going to want to julienne something,” Hutton said. “It’s kind of fun to have that option. It’s the easiest to clean, and it’s straightforward. It also comes in cute colors, and its simplicity is very appealing.”
Amazon
Cheap and easy: Kyocera ceramic mandoline
“It’s just a small straight blade, one that you can adjust so that you can determine what size of a slice you want,” she said. “But otherwise there’s no fancy add-ons or anything. And it’s very inexpensive and easy to clean.”
Amazon
Best for larger foods: Swissmar Borner V-slicer
Even though The Swissmar is more expensive than the other two, she said it has easy-to-change blades and is more “substantial” because it has a wider blade. It’s more practical for slicing veggies like butternut squash, cabbage, fennel and celery root. “It comes with a julienne attachment and a shredding attachment and all these things,” she said. “If you want to have a few different options to play around, if you really think you’re gonna get into it, that’s a great one.” However, the V-blade “doesn’t really have any real impact from my impression versus a straight blade,” she said. “And you still may have to cut some veggies to fit.”
Amazon
NoCry cut-resistant gloves
Hutton recommends wearing gloves while using a mandoline — and paying attention. “A lot of these mandolines come with this little plastic guard, and I really dislike those plastic guards in any circumstances,” she said. “At best they do really protect your hand, but then they leave this big chunk of vegetable leftover. You have to cut it with a knife, which kind of defeats the whole purpose, or throw it away, which seems incredibly wasteful.”

Thanksgiving is already stressful enough without needing to go to the ER because you slashed your finger. “The number one thing that people need to think about when they’re using mandolines is to absolutely keep your eyes on what you’re doing and don’t get distracted,” Hutton said. “It’s not a good Thanksgiving task to give to someone who has no kitchen experience. It can be a very meditative, productive moment and it goes really fast. But you do need to keep your eyes on it at all times.”

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