how to slice meat thin

How to Slice Meat Thin: A Guide With Tips and Tricks

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If you don’t have a meat slicer machine, you’ll ask yourself how to slice meat thin and how the heck you’re supposed to achieve it with your basic kitchen knife. Or, if you have the right knife, you may be wondering what is the right slicing technique to slice the meat without losing a finger in the process.

Butchers and ‘meat masters’ can make producing uniform slices of meat look like child’s play, but it really isn’t.

Table of Contents

The Problem

Anyone who has ever tried to cut raw meat will tell you it can be one of the most frustrating and difficult tasks you could do in a kitchen. It is very difficult to get a good grip on the meat, and that can become dangerous when you’ve got a sharp object in the other hand. Sure, a deli slicer would do wonders, but how many of us actually have one of those just lying around?

Why Do People Like Thinly Sliced Meat So Much?

Convenience – Instead of taking hours for a big piece of meat to cook properly, a sliced piece of lamb or pork will allow a much quicker cook time..

Aesthetic – Many people appreciate thinly sliced meat more for some reason. Perhaps they like to think it looks good, tastes good, and is healthier than a big chunk of meat on a plate. Personally, give me the huge chunk anytime but that is just my Neanderthal side showing through.

Demand – Thin slices of meat are called for in many recipes – it’s especially popular with Japanese recipes such as Sukiyaki and Okonomiyaki.

How To Slice Meat Thin

Our best tips here will help you a lot, but it won’t be enough to actually cut your meat. You will need some equipment:

What Will You Need To Cut Meat Nice And Thin?

  • A sharp chef’s knife – Never use a dull knife because you’re more likely to have an accident with it than a sharp knife.
  • A fridge or freezer – The reason for this will become obvious in just a mo
  • A metal tray and freezer bag(s) – Another thing that will become clear after you read further.
  • Meat – This is pretty self-explanatory, really, hopefully.
  • Delicious recipe – What else will you be doing with the meat once it has been cut?




Knife vs. Machine

Obviously, you can buy a manual or electric slicer for home use that can usually get you the best results. If not, when shopping for the meat, you could ask an employee in the meat section to slice it for you. Unfortunately, fewer groceries or supermarkets seem to offer this service.

There is also an option to buy an already sliced product, but the sizes and thickness may vary.

However, if you don’t own a professional slicer machine and you prefer freshly sliced meat, then it is not too difficult to do it by hand.

The right technique with the sharpest knife will make a huge difference.


Choosing The Knife

Luckily, there are plenty of knives available on the market. When looking to slice a boneless steak or larger cuts of meat, it is best to invest in carving and slicing knives as these two are designed for this purpose.

These knives often come with long blades and pointed tips to ensure clean cuts of the product. They are usually anywhere between eight to 14 inches in length. These long blades are necessary to ensure a consistent thickness of each slice of that chunk of lamb leg, pork belly or top round of roast beef.


What To Look For In A Knife



For starters, it is highly recommended to purchase one that has an ergonomic handle. This is advisable as slicing meats with an uncomfortable grip may affect the quality of the cut.

Triple-Riveted Design

A knife with a triple-riveted design is more stable which makes it safer, more comfortable and generally more durable.

Finger Points Or Guard

Other features of the handle may also include textured finger points and finger guard to keep your fingers safe and remain connected to your hands.



Stainless Steel

It is best to go for a knife with a high-quality stainless steel blade. Overall it is the best material for knives, particularly the carving and slicing ones, won’t rust or discolor and sharpens easily with a sharpening stone.

For a cutting board, your knife will last longer if you use wooden boards as opposed to marble or granite.


A Carbon Steel knife is a great option as it would probably stay sharper for a long time, is harder, but it will need a lot of maintenance and care.

Protective Cover

A protective sheath often comes with the knife. Having a cover for the item will ensure longer life and less rusting.

How To Slice Raw Meat Thin

There’s a trick to cutting meat into thin slices, and, once you know it, you’ll be able to cut like a pro and impress all of your friends.

The Secret?

Your freezer. Cold meat is much easier to slice than thawed meat will ever be. For better results, you just need to let it chill long enough before slicing.

The Method Everyone Swears By

We’re finally getting to the reason you’re reading this – how to slice meat thin, the easiest way..

Here’s how…

Partially Freeze The Meat

  1. There are two different ways of freezing the meat that you’ll be cutting. You can place it on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the freezer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes. You can be extra efficient as you will have enough time to do the kind of prep work required for your recipe – chopping veggies, getting the rice on the stove, etc.
  2. The other way is to put it in a large freezer bag, remove all the air, and close it tightly, making sure it’s sealed. Then, you will place the meat on a metal tray (most kitchens have a baking tray of some sort that can be used for this purpose) so the cold can be transferred quicker. Put the meat in the freezer and leave it for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on how fatty and how large the meat is.

Just remember that you don’t want completely frozen meat, just chilled enough to be ok with you cutting it into thin slices – pun intended.

Note: These two methods suggest different times in the freezer. You can choose which option is the best way for you, or try both and find the one you like most. Part of the fun of making food is learning new ways to do things.

Slice The Meat

Once your meat comes out of the freezer, you will notice that it has firmed up nicely, which will make it a lot easier to handle and cut. At this point, you should have no issues getting the desired thinness that you need.

It is recommended that you cut your slices no thicker than a quarter-inch – the thinner you can get it, the better.

That’s it, our entire process. 

Don’t Forget To Play It Safe

Your newly acquired skill of cutting meat thinly may leave you feeling rather arrogant (after all, you’re human), but be careful not to forget about your safety. Do not get over-excited about being able to cut meat the way you see it done on TV or in restaurants and get carried away. Such excitement could lead to very preventable injuries.


Of course, you also need a recipe that calls for thinly sliced meat. Otherwise, why are you going to all of this trouble? Most importantly, have fun – preparing food is a chore for many, but it doesn’t have to be. Making food can be fun and should be enjoyed.


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