How-To & Diy

How to Prep Radishes

June  5, 2013

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: How to prepare a radish for any occasion.

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A great man once said, "Radishes are like people. You can find big ones and small ones, sweet ones and bitter ones, white ones, black ones, purple ones and red ones"...and there's where the analogy begins to break down. 

Still, these petite roots are almost as diverse as humans. The Cherry Belle, stocked in supermarkets, has bright-red skin and a white interior; the Snow Belle is all-white; the French Breakfast is red and long with a white cap at the end; the Easter Egg is a hybrid of different skin colors. And that's only the beginning. 

More: Can't get enough radishes? Here's a full week's worth of radish recipes.

No matter what type of radish you're eyeing, whether at the super- or farmer's market, be sure to avoid any that are cracked, blemished, soft, or dull. Buy radishes that are smooth, plump, and firm with leaves that are green and fresh. You can find radishes at the store year-round, but they are at their best from April to July. 

The first step to enjoying a crunchy, peppery radish is to trim off its leaves. (But don't throw them away! Radish greens sautéed with oil or bacon fat are delicious on their own -- and even better as a garnish.) 

Once you've given the radish a haircut, it's time to dig into the bulb. Use a sharp knife to cut it in half, lengthwise. 

From here, if you're looking for a substantial amount of radish, halve it lengthwise again to get chunky quarters. Brown them in butter and mint, douse them in anchovy sauce, or enjoy them on their own with butter and salt.

If a recipe calls for sliced radishes, simply use your knife to cut the radish halves into thin semi-circles. These will add texture and color to salads and relishes without overpowering the flavors of the primary ingredients.

If you want to put in a little extra effort to get super-thin radish circles, leave the whole radish bulb intact and take out your mandoline. With an eye on your fingers and a good grip on the radish, slide it over the blade. Thin, fancy radish slices can dress up any salad. Slice the circles into dainty matchsticks when you're feeling particularly ambitious.

After you've got radish preparation down pat, you'll be creating beautiful snacks and salads in no time. How about radish escarole salad with anchovy vinaigrette or radish pecan grain salad? Or if all the chopping is just too overwhelming for today, simply grab a radish and take a bite. No special prep necessary.

Then again, if radishes have gotten you excited, why not take your skills to the next level and learn to carve a radish rose?

What are your favorite ways to use radishes?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Rowena Low
    Rowena Low
  • Marg
  • melle
  • AntoniaJames
  • happymontycooks
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Rowena L. November 19, 2015
How long can you have sliced radish on a platter before it starts to oxidize and brown? Do you have to give them a quick acid dip before serving? Thanks!
Marg May 29, 2014
My favorite way to eat radishes is steamed or fried. To steam them, add about 2 tblsp of water to a bowl, add radishes (cut a strip of the skin off around the middle of radish first), cover and microwave for 6 minutes. Or quarter them, melt a bit of butter and fry them for about 10 minutes.
melle June 10, 2013
radishes are delicious, but what i really want to know is: where'd you get that ring? it's lovely!
AntoniaJames June 5, 2013
I carved thousands (really, or at least it seemed like that) of radish roses for my mother for the crudites plates that graced every end table and other available surface at every one of her dinner parties. Though my mother did not serve dips, I've found in my adult life that the radish roses from the crudites plates become crowd-favorite vehicles for anything dip-able, due to their crevices. In recent years, I've been putting out room temperature butter in large ramekins for this purpose. My guests just love radish roses . . . . ;o)
happymontycooks June 5, 2013
From "Every Grain of Rice" and "Japanese Farm Food": Smack or slice the radish. Salt them and let them sit for about 30 mins to release water. Drain. Make a dressing of soy sauce/miso, ginger/garlic, sesame oil, and (optionally) some chili powder. Pour over drained radishes. I also like to blanch the greens and mix it up with the dressing.
Mitwocents June 5, 2013
Sandwich. Fresh bread thin sliced. Dab so butter spread thin, followed by thin sliced radishes and salt and pepper. My grandparents ate these in the spring for health, but their taste fantastic. Do not use old radishes as the taste is too strong...