Mandolin slicers for dummies!
October 12, 2010 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find the mandolin slicer to end all mandolin slicers! Bonus points if you can find me one under $100.

I'm in the market for a new mandolin slicer, my old Oxo one just didn't cut it (literally). I'd not sure exactly what to look for in a new slicer, but I'm willing to spend a bit more if it means I'm getting a better product. I know that I want a slicer with an adjustable blade. I also think I would prefer one that's not handheld, I think the ones with a stand would be more practical. Please help! If you want to throw in a recipe to make with my new slicer, I'd be much obliged!
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Oxo ones, while looking very fancy and being very adjustable, are known to suck. I wish I'd known that before buying one on an impulse, but reviews around the web lead me to believe you can buy a cheap mandoline slicer and it'll cut much better.
posted by mikeh at 7:21 AM on October 12, 2010


The keyword you're looking for is Benriner. Japanese, comes in several sizes. The largest is usually under $50.
posted by clockwork at 7:25 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I saw this Benriner Japanese Mandoline Slicer one referenced on a few cooks' and authors' lists. So far I've used it a few times and have been happy, but I'd never used one before so I don't have anything to compare it to. My cooking friend suggested using a chainmail oyster glove to make a mandoline experience more enjoyable, and I can see how that would be a good idea.
posted by Yoshimi Battles at 7:29 AM on October 12, 2010


Some decent info here. Apparantly Cooks Illustrated recommended the Oxo at some point; that thread has some people disagreeing with them and suggesting a few alternatives.
posted by reptile at 7:30 AM on October 12, 2010


I used the Kyocera ceramic mandolins, they were cheap, and incredibly sharp (they stayed that way). There were a bit on the small side, but could handle most anything that I threw at them, just watch your fingers.
posted by BobbyDigital at 7:30 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


One piece of anti-vice: do not be swayed by Bron. I got one at a yard sale after lusting after it for years. They are built like tanks, but they are too huge and heavy and clunky to see much use in the home kitchen. I'd so with cheap, light plastic and ceramic ANY day.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:40 AM on October 12, 2010


We have the Benriner and it's very nice.

Also, I agree with the need for hand protection. I have a nasty scar on my middle finger on my right hand (a knuckle) where I had an unfortunate accident with a ripple cutter blade on a different mandoline slicer.

I will admit that part of what caused the accident was my own stupidity, but the gripping tool that that mandoline used was woefully inadequate for the root vegetable I was trying to slice and so that's how I got stupid. Chainmail gloves would be cool! As it was, I got a scar instead.
posted by kalessin at 8:05 AM on October 12, 2010


Not at all within your budget, but I recommend de Buyer. I have one and love it. You'll never have to buy another and it's absolutely the safest mandoline I've ever used.
posted by dobbs at 8:19 AM on October 12, 2010


I agree with Mikeh - stay away from the OXO. I dropped $55 on one, and it does suck.
posted by Alpenglow at 8:20 AM on October 12, 2010


Yes, to the Benriner. It's cheap, completely adjustable, and if you watch closely on cooking shows, apparently the pick for a majority of tv chefs. The main reason you don't see it for sale in the US is that it's also very dangerous, and that finger guard is useless. My suggestion is that you learn to slice with the palm of your hand, if possible: It could save you a fingertip.
posted by Gilbert at 8:29 AM on October 12, 2010


Benriner with a glove. The other mandolines just did not hit that sweet spot of money to function. I would have gone ceramic kyocera but it was not quite large enough.

The Benriner stows away nice in a a standard kitchen drawer and the blades are easy to load. I wish it had better height adjustment but you know, its all good.
posted by jadepearl at 8:29 AM on October 12, 2010


My suggestion is that you learn to slice with the palm of your hand, if possible: It could save you a fingertip.

This is key. I have never really used a mandolin slicer per se but my mother would grate a variety of vegetables, both hard (potatoes, carrots) and soft (onions, garlic, tomatoes) as an alternative to pounding them or chopping them for Indian curries and she made me do this. Getting that last bit of slippery onion can be a pain and that's the only time i've nicked a finger, even with the most unsafe, slippery flat graters.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 8:43 AM on October 12, 2010


I have a Bronwyn, which I received as a birthday present. I love it to pieces, but as julthumbscrew notes, it's heavy, and there's a bit of a learning curve in keeping it stable. For cheap + light + sharp, I'd definitely go with the Benriner. It's the business.
posted by bakerina at 8:44 AM on October 12, 2010


Arrrrgh. Stupid autocorrect! BRON. Not Bronwyn.
posted by bakerina at 8:46 AM on October 12, 2010


I bought this one, and I love it. Reviews were deservedly good on Amazon.

I also bought these gloves. They have already saved my fingers repeatedly.
posted by bearwife at 8:57 AM on October 12, 2010


Nthing Benriner. And yeah, the finger-guard is woefully inadequate. I need to get a glove...
posted by Lexica at 9:03 AM on October 12, 2010


I concur that the OXO version is completely useless.
posted by elvissa at 10:26 AM on October 12, 2010


Which OXO version? I like the v-shaped one just fine. I did try the other (more expensive) one and it was, as all have pointed out, completely useless.
posted by trox at 11:01 AM on October 12, 2010


Also, now that I'm thinking of it, Williams Sonoma is selling cheap-but-good peelers and the reason this is relevant is that the orange one is a mandoline on the cheap. A lot of Asian street food stands seem to use this kind of solution instead of the mandoline because it's more portable and easier to clean.

I don't think that it would be a great choice for all of your mandoline needs, but it might be a go-to for certain kinds of projects.
posted by kalessin at 11:05 AM on October 12, 2010


We have the Benriner, paid maybe 20 bucks for it. We love it.
posted by rocketman at 1:44 PM on October 12, 2010


I have a super-expensive, completely exquisite French steel mandoline that was a gift. I never use it. It just takes too much work to clean and set up and it's heavy.

But I got this $40 Swissmar V-slicer and am extremely happy with it. It's light, it's sharp. I use it all the time and just throw it in the dishwasher.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:56 PM on October 12, 2010


We have a "Super" Benriner. It's fantastic. And as an added bonus the documentation it comes with is written in hilarious Engrish.
posted by damonism at 7:12 PM on October 12, 2010


Having sharpened the blade on the oxo, I find that it cuts like a champ, at least for the straight blade. Julienne and waffle cuts are a little weak, but adjustable slices work great.

Sharpen, and get a kevlar glove. No need to buy a new one.
posted by piro at 8:07 PM on October 14, 2010


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