Mastering the Art of Chopping Rosemary: Techniques and Tips

How to Chop Rosemary: The Best Techniques and Tips

Chopping rosemary can be a tedious task, but it is essential to unlocking the full flavor of this versatile herb. In this article, we will explore the best techniques and tips for effectively chopping rosemary. Whether you prefer to use a chef’s knife, a mezzaluna knife, or herb scissors, we’ve got you covered.

Why Chopped Rosemary?

Rosemary is an herb that can enhance both savory and sweet dishes. Chopping rosemary leaves before using them in recipes offers several benefits. First, chopped rosemary releases more flavor than whole leaves. Crushing or chopping the leaves helps extract the essential oils and intensifies the flavor.
In addition, chopped rosemary allows you to incorporate it into your dish without having to remove it. This is especially useful in sauces, stews, soups, and dry rubs, where you can enjoy the flavor without biting into large, unappetizing pieces of leaf.
Chopping rosemary also allows for more precise measurements. When using whole leaves, the size and quantity can vary, leading to inconsistent results. Chopping rosemary allows for more accurate and consistent measurements, resulting in a better culinary experience.

Chopping Rosemary with a Chef’s Knife

One of the most common and versatile ways to chop rosemary is with a chef’s knife. Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving finely chopped rosemary using this technique:

  1. Remove the leaves from the stems. You can do this by hand or with an herb stripper. The stems are bitter and should be discarded.
  2. Place the rosemary leaves in a pile on a flat cutting board.
  3. Begin chopping the leaves slowly and evenly, using an up and down motion with the blade. Take your time and avoid rushing to maintain control and prevent accidents.
  4. As you chop, move the blade across the pile to ensure an even chop.
  5. Continue the chopping motion until you achieve the desired texture and consistency.


– Clean the blade regularly to prevent the chopped herbs from sticking together and to maintain a consistent texture.
– Rearrange the rosemary pile frequently to make the chopping process easier and faster.
– Avoid wetting the knife blade to prevent sticking, as this can alter the consistency and flavor of the herbs.

Chopping Rosemary with a Mezzaluna Knife

Another effective tool for chopping rosemary is a mezzaluna knife. This specialized herb knife is designed to make the chopping process quick and efficient. Here’s how to use a mezzaluna knife to chop rosemary:

  1. Remove the leaves from the rosemary stems.
  2. Place the leaves in a single pile on a flat cutting board or in a curved board specially designed for Mezzaluna knives.
  3. Hold the mezzaluna knife with both hands and make a seesawing motion as you slide it back and forth over the pile of herbs.
  4. Continue cutting the rosemary leaves until the desired consistency is achieved.


– Clean the blades of the Mezzaluna knife between cuts to prevent the herbs from sticking.
– If available, use a special indented chopping bowl that comes with some Mezzaluna knives to keep the herbs in a pile and facilitate the chopping process.

Chopping rosemary with herb scissors

For an alternative approach, you can use herb shears to chop rosemary. There are two common styles of herb scissors, and both can be effective tools for this task. Here’s how to use herb shears to chop rosemary:

  1. Pick the rosemary leaves from the stems and place them in a pile on a flat cutting surface.
  2. When using the traditional multi-bladed herb shear design, the leaves are cut continuously. This design works well for herbs that can be used with their stems, such as parsley.
  3. When using an herb roller, which looks like a cross between herb scissors and a pizza cutter, continuously roll over the plucked leaves in a back and forth motion. The multiple blades will slice through the leaves without bruising them.
  4. Repeat the cutting or rolling motion until the desired consistency is achieved.


– When the blades of the herb scissors become dull, consider replacing them with a new, sharp set.
– After chopping, reassemble the pile of plucked and chopped leaves to ensure even slicing and consistent results.


Chopping rosemary is a labor of love that greatly enhances the flavor and versatility of this herb. Whether you use a chef’s knife, mezzaluna knife, or herb scissors, the key is to keep the blades sharp, use clean cutting motions, and rearrange the pile to chop the rosemary evenly. Chopped rosemary provides more flavor, eliminates the need to remove it from dishes, and allows for accurate measurements.
If using a chef’s knife, begin by removing the leaves from the stems and placing them in a pile on a flat cutting board. Using a slow and steady up-and-down motion of the blade, chop the leaves evenly by moving the blade across the pile. Clean the blade regularly to prevent sticking.
Alternatively, a mezzaluna knife can be used for efficient chopping. Remove the leaves from the stems and place them in a single pile. Hold the mezzaluna knife with both hands and make a rocking motion as you slide it back and forth across the pile. Clean the blades between cuts to prevent sticking.
Herb shears are another option for chopping rosemary. Pick the leaves from the stems and place them in a pile. Depending on the design of the herb shears, cut through the leaves continuously or roll over them in a back-and-forth motion. Consider replacing the blades when they become dull.
In conclusion, chopping rosemary is a worthwhile step in unlocking its full potential in dishes. Whether you choose a chef’s knife, mezzaluna knife, or herb scissors, the techniques and tips provided in this article will help you achieve finely chopped rosemary with ease. Enjoy the enhanced flavor and versatility that minced rosemary brings to your culinary creations.


Why is it important to chop rosemary instead of using whole leaves?

Chopping rosemary helps release more of the herb’s flavor, resulting in a more intense flavor in your dishes. It also allows you to incorporate the rosemary without having to remove it, creating a seamless culinary experience.

Can I use a regular knife to chop rosemary?

Yes, a regular chef’s knife can work well for chopping rosemary. However, using a special herb knife such as a mezzaluna or herb scissors can make the task easier and more efficient.

How finely should I chop rosemary?

Most recipes call for finely chopped rosemary. However, if a recipe calls for “coarsely chopped” or “roughly chopped” rosemary, adjust your chopping technique to achieve the desired consistency.

How do I keep my chopping tools sharp?

To keep your chopping tools sharp, sharpen the blades regularly with a knife sharpener or whetstone. Also, clean the blades after each use and avoid cutting on hard surfaces that can dull the edges.

Can I chop and store rosemary ahead of time?

While it is best to chop rosemary just before use to preserve its freshness and flavor, you can store chopped rosemary in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a short period of time. Note, however, that the flavor may diminish over time, so it is best to chop it fresh whenever possible.

Are there alternative tools I can use to chop rosemary?

Yes, in addition to knives, you can use herb scissors or an herb roller blade to chop rosemary. These tools offer convenience and allow for precise cutting, especially when working with small herbs like rosemary.