I am not someone that can say I enjoy cooking. I cook because I like to eat and no one else is going to do it for me.
Rarely do I cook for a large number of people, but I admire those that do. Cooking for a lot of people requires a lot of thought, planning, and preparation.
Food prep is vital to making sure you have everything you need when you are ready to cook. Food slicers are a helpful tool to have in your kitchen because they ensure you slice all of your food in uniform pieces.
There are many types of food slicers to help you create consistency in your food. Check out this article to find out more.
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What to Look For in a Food Slicer
When deciding which food slicer to use, there are some points to consider to ensure you are using the right tool for your needs.
The first thing to consider is what type of food you are slicing and cooking. The food you are making dictates which slicer is the best one for your needs.
You also must consider how easy it is to use the slicer. You want a slicer that makes your job easier. If it is too heavy or difficult to use, it will be no help to you at all.
You want to consider how quickly the slicer can get the work done and what kind of features come with each slicer. Some food slicers are large and take up a fair amount of space in your kitchen. You want to make sure you have room for the slicer and that you are able to move it around your kitchen.
1. Manual Meat Slicer
A manual meat slicer is one that you have to use manual action to slice your food. You have to move the carriage, or the slicer blade, to cut the food. This slicer does not have any type of electricity.
This manual slicer uses your own muscle. If you are slicing a small amount of food, this may be a great option. If you have to do a large amount of meat slicing, this may not be the best option. It may become difficult or tiring after a while.
While this is called a meat slicer, it can cut more than just a meat slice.
2. Electric Meat Slicer
An electric meat slicer may be also referred to as an automatic meat slicer. This automatic slicer is a huge time saver. It has a motor that operates on electricity to move the carriage for you.
This prevents you from having to do any significant work. Most electric meat slicers have one speed and provide you the ability to switch to manual slicing.
This ability to change gives you the best of both options. An electric meat slicer has a tray where the food sits, and it moves back and forth, so you do not have to hold the food you want to slice. This allows you to slice large amounts of food at one time.
a. Entry Level Electric Meat Slicer
This meat slicer is intended to slice small amounts of food for a short period of time. You can only operate it for one to two hours each day, but for only 10 minutes at a time.
It will not be able to slice food for longer than that amount of time. These slicers have a simple design but give you the ability to slice safely.
It does not include all of the safety features you will find on higher end models. Entry level models may be manual or electric, depending on the type of slicer. This type of food slicer is not intended for frozen meat.
It may not work well for slicing cheese. You will find the cutting blade size varies in size from 9 inches to 12 inches. The average cost of this electric slicer is under $100.
b. Mid-Range Level Electric Meat Slicer
This slicer is typically going to cost more than $100 but provides you the perfect balance between cost and functionality. This slicer has a broader range of features along with the increase in price. This meat slicer allows you to slice cheese.
This slicer can be used for as much as 30 to 45 minutes at one time. This extended time gives you the ability to cut more food much faster. It is much faster than an entry level model.
3. Commercial Meat Slicer
A commercial meat slicer is what you will find in professional kitchens and delis. A commercial slicer is not typically one you would find in someone’s home, but that does not mean you could not buy one for your home.
These slicers are more expensive. This slicer machine helps you slice a large amount of cheese and meat. A commercial food slicer helps you slice a high volume of food quickly while maintaining consistent thickness and size.
There are many options available in the commercial meat slicer category that offer distinct specifications and features.
4. Deli Slicer
A deli slicer is a term that is used interchangeably with the terms meat slicer and food slicer. These slicers are used in professional settings to slice high amounts of deli meat and cheese at a fast rate.
They have different size motors, which dictates what type of food they can slice. Some slicers cut meat but not cheese, while others can slice cheese.
It is important that you use your deli slicer only as the manufacturer recommends. A deli slicer has a blade guard to protect your hands from being cut while slicing food. You want to make sure that your hands are protected from the slicing blade at all times to ensure your safety.
5. Mandoline Slicer
A mandoline slicer, sometimes you will see is spelled like mandolin, is a slicing device that is a flat surface with an incredibly sharp blade. It allows you to slice fruits and vegetables quickly.
You slide the food across the blade, and it creates a perfectly uniform slice. You can hold the food at different angles to change the type of cut it has. There are some mandolines that will even chop and dice.
A mandoline can be a dangerous way to slice food because you are holding the food as you move it across the blade. Many mandolines provide a holder that allows you to keep the food in place without your hand coming into contact with the blade. You may want to consider a cut resistant glove to protect your hands from getting hurt.
A mandoline has the ability to make julienne cuts and have special attachments that can make a crinkle cut vegetable. They also include a diagonal blade to make your vegetables look fancy.
a. Adjustable Mandoline Slicer
The adjustable mandolins slicer has two platforms that are parallel. One does not move and hold the slicing blade. The other platform is one you can adjust manually to change the thickness of each slice.
You can make adjustments based on your needs at the time. This type of mandoline allows you to make a paper thin slice or up to an inch thick slice.
b. Platform Mandoline Slicer
The platform insert mandoline also allows you to change the thickness of your slice, but you do not have as much control over the adjustment. Instead of turning a knob to make an adjustment, you change the platform. The platform mandoline comes with plates that you insert to change the type and thickness of the slice you are making.
c. Flat Board Mandoline Slicer
The flat board mandoline slicer is the most basic of all the mandolines. This slicer does not offer as much function or versatility as the other mandolines. This type of mandoline is ideal when you want to slice all of your food at the same thickness.
6. Spiral Slicer
A spiral slicer is better known as a spiralizer. A spiralizer is a slicer that has fine blades which are able to slice raw fruits and vegetables in a noodle shape. You can think of a pencil sharpener.
You put the vegetable in, turn the crank, and noodles come out on the other side. Using the spiralizer is a fast and efficient way to slice your vegetables into a different type of shape. This machine is a great way to prompt yourself to eat more vegetables.
A hand-held spiralizer is a small slicer that fits in your hand. If you plan to use soft vegetables like zucchini, this is an ideal option. They are affordable, compact, and can be stored easily.
They are a great place to start if you have never used one and are not sure you will get much use from it. It will not handle harder vegetables well. The hand-held models may be harder to clean and may be tiring to use if you need a large amount of noodles.
The countertop version typically has suction cup feet to stick to your counters. The suction cups help to secure the slicer and give you the leverage you need. The countertop version is perfect if you want to slice a large amount of food quickly and efficiently.
It has a lever you turn and the ability to make different sizes and types of noodles. These versions take up a little more space and are more expensive.
This version does offer blades that are interchangeable to give you more variety. It can also slice just about any type of vegetable or fruit.
7. Fruit Slicer
A fruit slicer allows you to slice and core fruit in one motion. It is ideal for slicing pears, apples, and other fruits. This tool helps you slice fruit for pies, snacks, and tarts.
These slicers have a stainless steel blade or a carbon steel blade to slice through fruit easily and create wedges. This slicer makes eight wedges with each cut. It can even cut vegetables.
The slicer has ergonomic handles that are strong and gives you leverage when slicing through the fruit. This slicer is dishwasher safe for fast and easy clean up.
8. Apple Slicer / Peeler
Traditionally when you think of an apple peeler, you think of a machine that removes the peels from potatoes, apples, cucumbers, and pears. However, the best apple peeler not only removes the skin but also slices and cores the apples.
These peelers have options to switch to manual or automatic. Most apple peelers are durable and have parts that will last a lifetime. Apple peelers are easy to use and have many different options.
9. Vegetable Slicer
A vegetable slicer is a combination of many devices all in one that can slice, dice, or chop vegetables. It can easily and quickly cut through all types of cheese, fruit, and vegetables. Many of these slicers have seven different blades to allow you to slice your food in the least amount of time.
The removable blade options include a spiral blade, ribbon blade, straight cut, cheese grater, julienne blade, large dicer, and small dicer. These blades are sharp as a razor helping you to cut all your food evenly. This slicer has a tray to catch the food you slice.
The food tray prevents you from making a mess all over the kitchen. The base is non-skid, so it does not move all around your countertop.
10. Potato Slicer
A potato slicer has a box where you place the potato, and it comes with a handle. The handle is long, which makes it simple and easy to push the potato through the blade. You can easily slice through potatoes and create French fries and potato chips.
These potato slicers are stainless steel, so you do not have to worry about the slicer rusting. It is easy to clean by running it underwater and using a brush if needed. Some slicers come with different blades so that you can have different cuts of French fries.
11. Tomato Slicer
A tomato slicer is intended to cut the most delicate fruit of a tomato. One version of the tomato slicer is one where there is a pusher that moves the tomato through to the blade.
The pusher has a curve to it, so the pressure is gradually applied to the tomato instead of all the stress all at one time. This food pusher helps to slice the tomato quickly and efficiently without crushing it. This slicer can also slice mushrooms, organs, and strawberries.
Another type of tomato slicer is similar to an apple slicer. There is a bottom piece that cradles the tomato and a top layer that holds the blade. There are handles on either side of the slicer to give you the perfect amount of leverage, so you can push the slicer down at one time for an even slice that does not crush the tomato.
Another type of tomato slicer is one that has tongs. The tongs hold the tomato gently between two metal pieces. The tongs have slots in them that a knife can move through.
When a knife moves through the spaces, it slices the tomatoes. You have to make each cut independently, one at a time. This type of slicer may take more time and may create an enormous mess.
12. Onion Slicer
An onion slicer is one that intends to slice firm vegetables and fruit, which includes onions. This slicer has a pusher that is curved that applies pressure evenly on the onion instead of at only one place on the onion. Some models of onion slicer cut the onion into pieces, while other models cut the onion into a blooming style.
This style keeps the bottom of the onion together while separating the top of the onion into long and narrow pieces. There are many different fruits and vegetables that can be cut with this slicer.
You can cut celery, cucumbers, peppers, cabbage, olives, and pickles. You can also cut lemons, limes, oranges, pears, bananas, and strawberries.
13. Lettuce Cutter
A lettuce cutter can cut through an entire head of lettuce at one time. It can also cut through other fruits and vegetables. A lettuce cutter cuts through the whole head of lettuce without crushing the lettuce.
Your lettuce stays crisper because the blade does not bruise the lettuce. This cutter has an oversized cutting area to cut most heads of lettuce.
If the lettuce is especially large, you may need to cut it in half. All you have to do is push down the handle, and the chopper is lowered onto the lettuce.
The cutter slices the lettuce into 1 inch by 1 inch precise cuts. This slicer can even cut cucumbers, peppers, cantaloupes, cabbage, and chicken breasts.
14. Egg Slicer
An egg slicer is a tool that is used to cut eggs that have been hard-boiled. The slicer cuts the egg into uniform slices. Most egg slicers are made of stainless steel or aluminum.
Egg slicers have wire blades that cut through the egg when you push down on the top piece. The bottom of the slicer has a pocket where the egg sits. An egg slicer creates individual slicers.
You can slice through the egg once and then turn it 45 degrees and cut it again to have eggs for eggs salad. This type of slicer can only cut through one egg at a time, which can be time-consuming if you have a large number of eggs that you want to slice. This egg slicer is a great option if you only have a few eggs that you want to slice.
15. Salad Shooter
A salad shooter is an easy and fast way to slice, shred, and cut vegetables, cheese, fruit, and many more foods. You can easily slice the food directly to your plate or bowl.
You do not need any extra bowls to hold the food you are cutting. This machine can create chips of any type of food. This machine is an electric food slicer, so you have to plug it in.
You can slice all the ingredients you need in just one minute. You can change the size and the shape of the cut you want. A salad shooter has two different types of blades that allow you to cut various shapes.
You can cut thick and thin chips. All of the parts of the salad shooter are removable and are dishwasher safe (except for the motor) for quick and easy clean up.
The salad shooter is durable and resists corrosion. You can chop nuts, grate chocolate, make bread crumbs, and slice vegetables.
Brief History of Food Slicer
Food slicers have been part of food preparation for a long time. There was a time early on when only those that were skilled with meat, such as a butcher, would cut meat.
There was a time when this required a great deal of skill. The first food slicer was for meat, and the first one dates back to around 1909.
This slicer was created as a means for slicing more food much faster and with efficiency. By the twentieth century, food slicers became more prevalent in kitchens in the US.
Sliced meat was becoming more popular for meals and snacks. After the second world war, sliced meat became part of lunches for kids and adults as lunch bags and lunch boxes became more popular.
What Are Other Names for a Food Slicer?
A food slicer may also be called a deli slicer, a meat slicer, a slicing machine, or sometimes it is just simply called a slicer. It is used mainly at butcher shops and delis to slice meat, cheese, and other foods.
How Do You Use a Food Slicer?
A food slicer is fairly easy to use, but it is important that you follow some key instructions to ensure you do not hurt yourself or break the machine. You should always wash your hands before handling any type of food.
You want to consider wearing cut resistant gloves to protect your hands. Always make sure the machine is in manual mode before you start.
Then you want to lift the pusher arm. It is usually weighted, so it may be heavier than you think. You can place your food on the food carriage.
Put the plate that holds the food in place and make sure it is sitting against the food. Now, turn the machine on and move the carriage forward and backward.
Once you have sliced a piece of the food, you can check the thickness to make sure it is perfect. If not, you can adjust the thickness. Once you have verified the thickness, turn the machine to automatic mode.
Once you are finished cutting your food, take the food off the machine and turn it off. Do not forget to clean your machine.
How Do I Choose the Right Food Slicer?
When you want to select a food slicer, it is important to understand your needs. Some food slicers are for specific types of foods. Once you know what food you plan to slice, you can narrow down which options are best for you.
You want to select a food slicer that has stainless steel blades. You need to determine how large you want your slicing blade.
You need to make sure you have the space for the food slicer you want. They get heavy and large quickly.
Next, you want to make sure the food slicer has proper safety features. You want to make sure your food slicer is easy to clean and sanitize.
How Much Does a Food Slicer Cost?
Food slicers can become expensive quickly. There are commercial models that cost thousands of dollars. You can find a model that is perfect for your home kitchen between $50 and $100.
There are also hand-held food slicers that slice and cut specific foods that are incredibly affordable and may cost less than $15 depending on the type and model.
Can I Slice Bread with a Food Slicer?
Yes, you can slice bread with a food slicer. Most meat slicers can slice just about any food.
If you want to cut bread, verify that the particular food slicer you have or want is capable of slicing through bread before you make a purchase.
Can I Cut Frozen or Raw Meat with a Food Slicer?
It is not a good idea to cut frozen meat with a food slicer. Frozen meat is usually hard, and it could damage the blade if you attempt to cut it, unless you have a food slicer that is intended to cut frozen meat.
These are heavy-duty slicers and may not be a model you want in your home kitchen. You should let the meat thaw before cutting it.
You can cut raw meat with a food slicer, but you want to make sure the meat is firm. If the meat is flexible, it may be difficult to cut with the slicer.
How Do I Clean and Maintain a Food Slicer?
You should wipe down your food slicer after every use. Any time you handle the blade of your food slicer, do so cautiously. Remove the blade face plate by unscrewing the nut on the back of your meat slicing machine.
You should carefully remove all the pieces of food that sit in front of the blade. Then wash, rinse, and sanitize all the parts of the machine that you can reach.
You can use a degreasing spray or a cleaning solution made of soap. Allow all the parts to air dry.