A mandoline (pronounced man’dln, from the French word for a “slicer” or a “cutter”) is a kitchen utensil that helps you create paper-thin slices and other shapes that you can’t easily get with a knife. It’s one of our top picks for kitchen tools that make cooking and baking so much more enjoyable. It’s especially helpful when a precise thickness is important, such as in coleslaw or a salad or when you’re making something like a sweet potato crisp or even a cookie.
The simplest mandolines have one non-removable blade set into a flat base, and the most expensive ones offer several different metal blades that can be raised and lowered to create various widths of slices or to make julienne cuts, shreds, or waffle cuts. Some have a stand, which can be more stable than a hand-held model, but they’re often heavier and require more space to store. Some have a hand guard to protect your fingers while using the tool, but it can be difficult to use and may be uncomfortable for those with smaller hands.
Our best mandoline is the no-frills Benriner, which has been the go-to in many professional kitchens since the 1940s and can easily produce a wide variety of thicknesses. It has a sturdy feel on the table and is easy to set up and use, but it does have some minor idiosyncrasies that can be frustrating—especially when figuring out how to adjust the blades with levers that don’t always want to cooperate.