Learn how to cut jicama with this simple step-by-step guide. Starchy root vegetable sticks make for a healthy snack, or thinner slices work great for salad and slaws.
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Jicama isn’t exactly the most eye-catching vegetable at your local market. However, this humble legume, native to Mexico and Central America, can be used in various recipes. Its texture is a cross between a raw potato, turnip, and pear. And it has a crisp starchy taste with a hint of sweetness that adds dimension to any dish. You can eat it raw or even baked. Plus, it’s available year-round.
It may seem intimidating to prepare at first, with the round shape and thick outer beige skin. But don’t worry. My easy-to-follow steps will make the cutting process simple. Once peeled, you can cut them into sticks for a snack or fries, strips, cubes, shreds for side dishes, or even thin circles for low-carb wraps.
Jicama can be tricky due to its thick skin and dense flesh. It’s essential to use a steady cutting board and a sharp knife. So, take your time!
Step 1: Wash and dry
Rinse the root vegetable under cool water, scrubbing to remove any dirt or debris. Dry well with a kitchen towel before cutting to prevent slipping.
Step 2: Cut a flat base
Use a sharp knife to cut the top and bottom end. This process allows the round vegetable to sit flat on the cutting board, making it easier to peel.
Step 3: Peel
Use a sharp knife to peel the jicama, as vegetable peelers may not work as efficiently to remove the large areas of the thick skin. Starting from top to bottom, run the knife under the skin, trying to keep as much flesh intact as possible. Then, turn to peel around the entire circumference.
Flip over to remove any remaining skin. Alternatively, the skin is thick and papery, so that it could be peeled off by hand. To do this, use the knife to cut about 1-inch of skin down, then use fingers to pull the rest off towards the opposite end. If needed, use a paring knife or peeler to remove small areas of skin left on the surface.
Step 4: Cut into pieces (4-ways)
Method 1: Slices
Place the jicama with the widest side down on the cutting board. Then cut lengthwise into pieces of your desired width (⅛, ¼, ½, ¾, 1-inch thick). You can also use a mandoline to cut them even thinner.
Method 2: Strips
Stack a few of the sliced pieces on top of each other and cut them into strips.
Method 3: Cubes
If desired, turn the stack of strips and cut them again into cubes.
Method 4: Shreds
Cut the jicama in half lengthwise, then cut into quarters. Use the flat side of each piece to shred with a box or hand grater. I find that grating brings a lot of moisture to the surface. Use your hand to squeeze out some before adding it to dishes. This process prevents diluting the flavor of any dressings or sauces.
Most major grocery stores, Latin, and Asian markets carry jicama year-round. They look similar to a turnip. Oval, with or without the thin root end intact. They can weigh on average 1 to 5 pounds. The skin should be brownish tan in color, relatively smooth, with only a few blemishes or cracks. It should feel firm when lightly pressed.
Store in a cool and dry area until ready to cut, about 2 to 3 weeks. Once you cut jicama, place it in an airtight container or wrap large pieces in foil to prevent it from drying out. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week at 32ºF (0ºC) or below, avoid freezing. After that period, yellow discoloration and drying can occur [Source].
Ways to use jicama
- Shred for coleslaw or spring rolls
- It’s an excellent substitute for water chestnuts
- Chop into small pieces for mango salsa
- Cut into small cubes for fruit salad
- Serve sticks with lime juice and chili powder as a snack
- Roast to make jicama fries or chips
- Julienne strips for a crunchy salad
- Brine slices or strips to make a pickled condiment
A good low-carb option
The white pulp is the only edible portion. Stay away from the skin, seed, stems, and leaves. The crisp pulp is low in calories and high in fiber with a low glycemic index to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. It’s a good swap for other starchy tubers like potatoes.
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How to Cut Jicama
- 1 jicama
- Rinse the jicama under cool water to remove any dirt, then dry thouroughly.
- Using a sharp knife, remove the top and bottom ends.
- Starting from top to bottom, run the knife under the skin, keeping as much flesh intact as possible. Continue to turn and peel until all the skin is removed. Flip to the other side to remove the remaining peel. Alternatively, use the knife to peel about 1-inch of skin, then use fingers to pull the rest off. Use a paring knife or peeler to remove any small areas left on the surface.
- Slices: Place the jicama with the widest side down on the cutting board. Cut down lengthwise into pieces of desired widths for each slice. For skinny slices, use a mandoline.
- Strips: Stack a few of the sliced on top of each other and cut them into strips.
- Cubes: If desired, with the stack of strips, turn and cut the pieces into cubes.
- Alternatively, to shred jicama, cut the entire bulb in half lengthwise, then cut into quarters. Use the flat side of each piece to shred with a box or hand grater. Squeeze out any excess moisture if needed before adding to a dish.
- Storing: Unpeeled jicama can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 to 3 weeks. Store peeled and cut pieces in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Wrap any large cut pieces in foil and refrigerate for 1 week.
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