Peeling Carrots: I’ve Been Doing it All Wrong!

by Irvin on April 9, 2014 · 42 comments

This quick tutorial on peeling carrots like a pro will save you time in the kitchen.

Peeling Carrots like Pro. Photo and technique by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

When you attend culinary school, one of the main things they teach you is efficiency. Efficiency of time, efficiency of ingredients (no wasted ingredients in a professional kitchens!) and efficiency of tasks at hand. I like to think I’m relatively efficient when it comes to cooking (I always set up a mise en place beforehand) but little basic tasks like peeling carrots seem like a no brainer. Turns out I’ve been peeling my carrots ALL. WRONG. Taking the Techniques I class at Le Cordon Bleu showed me the error of my ways.

How to Peel a Carrot. Photo and technique by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Here’s the thing. Most people (most being me included) peel carrots over a trash can so the peels go directly into the trash (or compost bin if you do that sort of hippie thing). But there are two problems with that. The first is the clumsiness factor. I’ve been known to drop a carrot in the trash when I do this and that’s just kind of gross because I have to fish it out and wash it. But the second is that vegetable peelers have TWO blades. Which means if you’re peeling the carrot over the trashcan, you’re probably peeling it in on direction (pulling the peeler downward, lifting it up and peeling it downward again after you’ve turned the carrot slightly). That means you’re doing twice the work with only one side of the peeler!

Most carrot peelers have two blades! Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

The professional method for peeling carrots is easy and fast. Though it won’t make a huge difference in time when you are only peeling one carrot (though it might save you from accidentally dropping it in the trash), if you have a bunch of carrots to prep (say for a stew or stock) it will be a total time save for you. All you need to do is place the carrot with the point side down on a cutting board and lift it up in a 45 degree angle. Start peeling the carrot from the middle, going back and forth up and down the carrot, rotating it as you go, stopping in the middle. Then flip the carrot over and do the other side and you’re done.

Peeling carrots starts with holding the carrot at 45˚ and peeling downward. Photo and technique by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Rotate the carrot and peel upward using the other blade. Photo and technique by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Flip the Carrot and repeat the peeling. Photo and technique by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Until your carrot is completely peeled! Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Because describing this simple task isn’t the easiest to describe (even with the photos above), I’ve also included a video here that shows you exactly what I’m talking about. Now you too can peel carrots like a pro!

I’m sharing recipes and tips I learned from the Le Cordon Bleu Techniques I class all this week. Be sure to come and check them all out!

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin | The Law Student's Wife April 9, 2014 at 6:26 am

WHAT? How am I just seeing this! I will never bake carrot cake the same way again. Great tip!


Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen April 9, 2014 at 6:47 am

I am soooo trying this! I cut up a crapton of veggies at the beginning of every week for snacking purposes, and peeling carrots is my least favorite part of the process.


Christine from Cook the Story April 9, 2014 at 7:21 am

You just added 25.2 seconds onto my day! You’re my hero!


Sarah | The Cyclist's Wife April 9, 2014 at 8:27 am

Whoah! Mind. Blown.


The Suzzzz April 9, 2014 at 8:38 am

At first I thought this was How To Boil Water: Redux…now I feel sheepish…and I want to run to the grocery store after work to get some carrots to try this out on.


Eileen April 9, 2014 at 10:47 am

Such a simple idea, but such a great result! And it lets you save the peels for stock instead of just chucking them too.

But I also have to mention my carrot-peeling method: I don’t do it at all. A quick scrub under running water is my normal routine. Super effective! :)


Irvin April 9, 2014 at 11:58 am

That works too! But I’m old school and peel, especially when I’m making carrot sticks (I make a TON of carrot sticks to snack on). But when I’m snacking on a whole carrot, I don’t bother to peel. I just wash and scrub and bite away.


Pat Sayer Fusco April 9, 2014 at 11:42 am

Yes, you did teach an old dog a new trick.


Irvin April 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Right?! And it wasn’t even a “taught” thing in the class. I saw a fellow classmate struggling with a vegetable (she was peeling over the compost bin and dropped it in) and ANOTHER instructor was walking through the class and saw her do that. He told her how to peel the “proper” way on the cutting board. I just saw it from the corner of my eye…


Keri April 9, 2014 at 11:44 am

Now we are going to look to you for lessons on peeling potatoes and prepping green beans. If carrots can be faster, maybe these chores can be as well!


Irvin April 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Actually you can use the same method with potatoes, but it’s not quite as fast as the carrot (because of the bulkiness of the potato). But it will work and will still be faster than the regular method of peeling in one direction over a trash can.

Sadly no tricks on speeding up prepping of green beans though!


Katie Gibbs April 10, 2014 at 4:16 pm

I have found that the quickest way to prep green beans (and by “prep” I just mean cut the little ends off, although I think that some people also pull the “string” out, so this does NOT accomplish that…) is to put the green beans on the cutting board, roughly lined up (side-by-side, not end-to-end), then take the knife (a long-bladed chef’s knife) and sort of “push” them so that their ends are lined up. Then take the knife and chop off the ends of the beans. Then I push them from the other end, lining up the still-uncut ends, and use the knife to chop off all THOSE ends. Does that make sense?


Miss Kim @ behgopa April 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Haha is that you in the photos and video? Looks like you are learning a lot in the class!


Irvin April 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm

It is. I set the camera on a pile of books and did those photos and video with the timer!


Miss Kim @ behgopa April 9, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Oh cool! You sound a lot like how I imagined hehe. You know how some people sound nothing like the way you pictured them to sound when you finally do hear their voice (if that makes any sense)? I hope you post more videos. It’s pretty cool!


Liren April 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Who knew? I’ve been doing it all wrong, too!


Belinda @zomppa April 9, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Well there you go!! No excuse for no carrots!


Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen April 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I am such a nerd. I can’t wait to try this.


Laura @ My Friend's Bakery April 9, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I’ve been doing it all wrong too! Such a simple thing and yet you have to go to culinary school to learn it! Thanks for the sharing the great tip!


Debbie D April 10, 2014 at 2:52 am

Used to peel a carrot that way until I peeled my finger tips! OUCH! Went back to the other way of doing it.


Irvin April 10, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Ouch! I haven’t had an issue with it, and I’ve actually nicked myself the other way a few times (I mentioned I was clumsy right?). But whatever method you’re comfortable with works!


Katie Gibbs April 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm

What’s funny to me about this is that I *clearly* remember being about 7 years old, attending a summer camp, and learning *always* to peel AWAY from your hand/fingers, never TOWARD. I am 45 now, and I can still picture that lesson clearly. So I always peel away. However, I just hold the carrot at a 45° angle on a cutting board next to the sink, which holds a compost container, and quickly peel away from the hand that holds the carrot while rotating it. I think it’s just as fast.


Joanie @ Zagleft April 10, 2014 at 4:31 am

Wow! I’ve been doing it wrong all this time. They peel so quickly this way – it makes sense. I’m loving all these tips this week – thank you.


Barbara @ Barbara Bakes April 10, 2014 at 4:58 am

I’m definitely trying this out next time I peel a carrot. Who knew!


Robin @ Simply Southern Baking April 10, 2014 at 6:57 am

Oh my! I’ve been peeling carrots with one side of the blade for all these years. Thanks for the tip…I’ll do this next time!


Melissa Lee April 10, 2014 at 7:30 am

I learned this in culinary school too. Sadly I forgot all about it because I don’t ever peel carrots. Lol! Deconstructing a chicken was a learning curve for especially the thighs. I still hate it.


Laura April 10, 2014 at 7:43 am

I’m in the no-peel camp. Scrub and go.


Mary April 10, 2014 at 8:01 am

Does that mean you can do the same thing to potatos??


Mary April 10, 2014 at 8:02 am

Oh, well I could have answered my own question if I’d read all of the comments! VERY cool. Definately following this blog from now on.


michelle April 10, 2014 at 8:08 am

Really? I never peel toward my fingers. Yikes.


Irvin April 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm

It’s true that the peeler could slip, but since I start the peeling in the middle of the carrot, it’s unlikely that it will slip high enough to cut me. And honestly, I tend to hold the peeler fairly firmly as I peel so I have a lot of control over it. I’ve never had an issues!


Sarah April 10, 2014 at 8:18 am

I always thought the double blade was so that lefties could peel things too! I’m a lefty so I notice things like that.


Lori @ RecipeGirl April 10, 2014 at 9:20 am

You’re awesome- I’ve never really thought much about peeling carrots, but I totally have one of those peelers and have never done it that way. Will do so from now on!!!


Patrick April 10, 2014 at 9:21 am

Michelle, thanks gor the video. This is another one you should share. How to peel a garlic clove in 10 seconds


Irvin April 10, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I’ve done that method before but with varying success. It’s a big messy too, as the garlic oil gets on the bowls and the garlic peel sticks to it. I usually just use the flat of the knife and smash the garlic. But if you have two or three heads of garlic or you want peeled garlic cloves that aren’t smashed, it’s a good method!


Faraqh April 11, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Where can I one?


Faraqh April 11, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Where can get one?


Chelsea April 12, 2014 at 8:26 am

As so often is the case with things like this, now I’m wondering why I never wondered about the two blades before! Thanks for the tip, Irvin, my mind is totally blown.
Carrot peels never go straight into the garbage at my house – my dog loves carrots, and seeing her snacking on the carrot peels, sticking out like little whiskers while she chomps away, is hilarious.


ChefDave April 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm

A pro makes longer strokes and does not have to reverse the carrot. Two second saved.


Sandymg May 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Thanks, must say I’ve not bothered with the 2nd blade, just assumed it was for left handers! However, I shove a bamboo skewer in the end (where the greenery would be) and peel that way, very effective. Particularly useful if you’re using the kind of peeler that juliennes as well for salads.


A May 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm

This is terrific. I’ll be snacking on many more carrots with hummus dip.


Hillary July 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Okay, that is officially COOL!


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