There’s only one thing slightly difficult about cutting carrots: Some cuts, like julienne and brunoise, can be tricky with small- to medium-size carrots. So before you even begin, consider how you will need to cut your carrots and shop accordingly. Seek the largest carrots you can for (counterintuitively) the smallest cuts. Otherwise, just about any carrot aside from snack packs of baby carrots will work.
To Trim and Peel
Using a vegetable peeler (preferably Y-peeler, which we find works best), peel carrots all around.
Using a knife, trim off the top and bottom ends.
To Cut Rounds
Using a sharp knife, simply crosscut each carrot into rounds of whatever thickness is desired. This is a good option for salads and simple carrots side dishes (for side dishes, it’s best to cut the rounds thicker so the carrots don’t snap in half easily once cooked).
To Cut Sticks/Batons
For carrot sticks/batons, which are great for dips and crudités platters, cut the peeled carrot into roughly 3- or 4-inch lengthwise segments, then halve the carrots. The carrot halves can then be cut lengthwise into whatever size sticks you want. If using very large, thick carrots, instead of halving and then cutting into sticks, cut them into thick lengthwise planks first, then cut those planks lengthwise into sticks.
To Rough-Cut or Dice
For rough-cut carrots to be used in stocks and to flavor soups and stews, smaller carrots can simply be left whole and cut crosswise into large chunks. Large carrots should be split in half or quartered lengthwise first, then crosscut into large chunks.
For smaller dice, cut the carrot lengthwise into roughly 1/4-inch sticks, then crosscut those sticks into 1/4-inch dice.
To Cut Matchsticks/Julienne
Carrot matchsticks, or julienne, can be cut by first dividing each peeled whole carrot into 3- to 5-inch lengths. Then cut off one thin slice of each carrot segment lengthwise; this will create a flat side that can then be used as a stable base for the subsequent cuts without the carrot rolling around on you.
With the carrot sitting on its new flat side, cut it lengthwise into thin, even planks; the thinness of the planks will determine the thinness of your matchsticks.
Cut each plank lengthwise into matchsticks of your desired thickness.
To Cut Brunoise
Follow the instructions above for creating matchsticks/julienne. Then line up a small pile of matchsticks and crosscut them to form a very tiny, uniform dice (brunoise).