Cooking Basics: How to Cut and Clean a Leek

Leeks are pretty dirty and usually filled with sand. Here are tips on how to clean and cut a leek to prepare for a meal.

Leeks on a counter
Leeks on the counter

If you’ve never cooked with leeks before, first of all, why haven’t you?? Just kidding! If you haven’t cooked with them before, you may be wondering how on earth do you clean them and cut them. Its exterior may be a bit put off-ish with its hard leaves towards the top. Truthfully, they add depth to a dish. Leeks can be such a dirty vegetable since they are frequently grown in sandy soil. Therefore thoroughly cleaning them is really important before cooking.  You can use them for all sorts of different dishes like soups, risotto, pasta, and on pizza.

In addition to this guide on cutting and cleaning leeks, I’ve also put together a small FAQ.


What are leeks?

Leeks are part of the allium family, along with onions, chives, shallots, garlic, scallions, and ramps. Their flavor is not as pronounced in comparison to onions. They have a sweet, mild onion flavor.

Are leeks good for you?

Yes, leeks are low in calories, but high in vitamins and minerals. They’re high in vitamin A, which helps with vision, immune function, and reproduction (to name a few);  vitamin K1, which helps with blood clotting and heart health; vitamin C (immune system, iron absorption, collagen production), manganese (helps with PMS and promotes thyroid health), and small amounts of copper, vitamin B6, iron, and folate.

What part of the leek do you eat?

The white and light green parts of the leek are mostly eaten.

What do leeks taste like?

Leeks have a sweet, mild onion taste. They’re not as strong and pungent as onions are.

When do leeks grow?

Leeks are grown in cooler weather, and even in the winter. They’re harvested throughout the summer up until late fall.

Can leeks be roasted in the oven?

Yes, leeks can be roasted in the oven and cooked all sorts of ways.

Can leeks be eaten raw?

Yes, leeks can be eaten raw.

What Tools You Need

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Bowl 

How to Cut and Clean a Leek

  1. Before cutting the leek up, begin by rinsing it under cool water.
  2. On a clean cutting surface, first cut slightly above the roots, as you would an onion.

Cutting the roots off a leek
Cutting the roots off a leek

3. Next, cut off the dark green leaves. You can either store the dark green portion for another time by freezing them. We don’t throw ours away. If they’re not needed for later, we compost ours.

4. After removing the dark green leaves, cut the leak in half lengthwise. If you see any dirt or sand at this point, feel free to rinse the leek under cool water.

Cutting the leek in half lengthwise
Cutting the leek in half lengthwise

5. Next, cut the leeks into half moons.

Cutting leeks into half moons

6. Fill a bowl with cool water. Put the chopped up leek into the bowl. Allow the leeks to sit in the water for a bit and toss them around. This will help loosen and get rid of any other dirt or sand.

Your leek is now ready to cook up!

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