Cooking Techniques · The Vintage Kitchen

Ten Uses for Your Kitchen Scissors

Vertical illustration of vegetables and meat. Top to bottom: celery, raw beef steak, cabbage, red bell pepper.

Almost everyone has a pair of kitchen scissors in the drawer. Some knife sets come with them. Maybe we always believed kitchen scissors were a must-have for any well-equipped kitchen. But do you use them? I’m guessing that you don’t. Or at least, that you don’t use those kitchen scissors to their fullest. These ten uses for your kitchen scissors take them out of the drawer and into your working arsenal.

And why don’t you use your kitchen scissors? I’ll tell you why I don’t use mine. I don’t think about it. I grab a knife, and a cutting board, and I set myself to a task. Even though, if I thought about it, said task would work better if I used the kitchen scissors. 

Using your kitchen scissors offers several advantages. First of all, they are easy to clean. Some pairs even come apart for even easier cleanup. Using the scissors saves washing both a knife and a cutting board. Also, you can snip the food right into wherever it needs to go. Scissors make working with small amounts of food less frustrating. And finally, you can determine the size and shape of the food more easily with scissors than you sometimes can with a knife.

With all that said, be careful! Anything with a point can cut, and some kitchen shears are sharper than others. I have one pair that barely has a point at all. This pair finds plastic bags difficult. I also have these, a pair of Henkels scissors that will cut through almost anything I need them to, kitchen-wise.

Ten Uses for Your Scissors

Horizontal illustration of vegetables. Left to right: celery leaves, a potato, turnip, beef steak, part of a cabbage.

Here are ten uses for your kitchen scissors. Although these ideas are from a vintage periodical, they still work for today’s cook. Whether you cook in a vintage kitchen or not.

  1. Shredding lettuce. If you are eating the lettuce right away, it’s not going to turn brown if you cut it with your scissors. You don’t have to tear it. Really. 
  2. Shredding parsley. You know all those recipes that call for 2 tablespoons of parsley? Using your kitchen scissors to snip it is the quickest way to get there.
  3. Dicing or cutting green peppers. Green peppers can be slippery. Especially when they are damp from rinsing. Use your kitchen scissors to cut those peppers into shape.
  4. Clipping the bad parts from greens or cabbage. It never fails that you get that one leaf that only has that one small spot. Right in the center. Your scissors make short work of it.
  5. Cutting raisins or nuts. You know when you need pecan pieces and you only have whole pecans? Try using the kitchen scissors to reduce them to the size you need. When the 1920s says “nuts” it means pecans or walnuts. Attempting to cut peanuts with kitchen shears will not only prove to be an exercise in frustration, it may also be dangerous. Stick to the flat nuts for safety.
  6. Dicing bacon slices. If you need crumbled or diced bacon for a dish, start out that way by cutting the slices with your kitchen scissors. Or use your scissors to cut the slices after they are cooked and cooled.
  7. Cutting candied orange peel, cherries, or citron for baking or decorating desserts.
  8. Cutting leftover meats. A nice pair of kitchen scissors makes short work of chicken salad prep.
  9. Snipping green onions. Often a recipe will call for only the white part –– or only the green part –– of a green onion. Scissors make this easy, and you can make those sections as long or as short as you like.
  10. Cutting potatoes and vegetables. Kitchen scissors can open a baked potato, trim green beans, and cut asparagus. I definitely wouldn’t try to cut one of our modern whopper-sized potatoes raw with a pair of kitchen scissors, but if the potatoes are boiled and you need to dice them, go for it. 

How do you use your kitchen shears? If you have a method not listed here, drop me a comment. I’d love to know more reasons for pulling the kitchen scissors from the drawer.