Cooking Tips
Hasselbacking Transforms the Look and Flavor of Your Food
Those accordion-like slices don't only look great. They also stylishly season every layer.
02-02-2022
Caren White

Remember a few years ago when hasselback recipes were everywhere? Their accordion-like layers may have made them an Instagram staple, but hasselbacking should never be relegated to a passing trend.  

With its crispy, tender slices, sometimes sandwiching herby cheese or buttery breadcrumbs, hasselbacking does more than just look pretty. If you want a dinner centerpiece or side dish with impressive looks and flavor, look no further.

From left: Crispy Baked Potato Fans, Hasselback Eggplant with Garlic-Yogurt Sauce, Hasselback Tomatoes.

Why Hasselbacking Works

Hasselbacking turns gratin on its side. It adds more textural contrast to modest ingredients like potatoes and eggplant. Slicing exposes more surface area to increase browning, and more browning means more caramelized flavor and crispy texture.

It also allows steam to escape during cooking, which results in a tender, creamy interior. Even better, you can pack the space between slices with cheese, breadcrumbs, or a flavor-packed mixture like muhammara.

The Best Ingredients to Hasselback

You can hasselback just about anything, but these three vegetables are tried and true favorites.

Potatoes

Potatoes—sliced thinly, usually not all the way through, and roasted until tender—are probably what you think of when you think of hasselbacking. 

This showstopping Hasselback Potato Casserole, developed by Cook’s Country senior editor Matthew Fairman, falls somewhere between a true hasselback and gratin. It slices the potatoes all the way through, then stacks the potato coins on their sides and fills the valleys between them with cheese and bacon. (For this dish, we recommend a mandoline for uniform slices.)

Test Kitchen Tip: Russets potatoes’ starchy flesh and fluffy texture make them the best choice for hasselback potato recipes.

Eggplant

Eggplant was made to hasselback. Its spongy texture absorbs the flavors of aleppo and piquillo peppers with ease for a delicious Hasselback Eggplant with Garlic-Yogurt Sauce, and leaving the skin on helps maintain structure from oven to table. And the sauce reaches all of the eggplant slices’ nooks and crannies.

Test Kitchen Tip: To keep the eggplant intact and avoid slicing all the way through, lay chopsticks on either side of the eggplant. Your knife will hit the chopsticks before it hits the cutting board.

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Tomatoes

Softer foods can be hasselbacked as well. We added an herbed Gruyere and breadcrumb mixture to our Hasselback Tomatoes. Just five minutes under the broiler produced a stellar side that was slightly soft but not mushy. 

Test Kitchen Tip: To slice smoothly through tomatoes, use a serrated knife. And since tomatoes are softer and more delicate than other hasselbacked ingredients, broiling is the best way to go.