How Thin to Slice Deli Meat?

The optimal thickness is no more than ¼ inch or around 6 mm.

You can use a deli slicer, meat slicer, or an ordinary blade to slice the meat.  Freeze it first to make it firm for easy slicing.

Cooking deli meat is an art that requires patience and attentiveness.

Also, slicing the meat thin is equally a unique task that requires a creative approach.

It is a key ingredient in sandwiches.

And with everyone taking a sandwich at least once or twice every week, the demand for the meat couldn’t be higher.

There are a lot of ways on how you can slice it easily.

And in this post, I will share with you some of the most optimal methods.

Related: Types of meat you should know about

So, how do you do it without a slicer?

Slicing meat without a slicer is a task that requires a patient approach.

While it is possible to make clean and precise slices without a slicer, this is a task that requires practice.

With the necessary equipment, slicing becomes a simple task.

So, which equipment do you need?

An ultra-sharp knife

Since you do not have a slicer, your tool of choice when it comes to making uniquely thin meat slices will be a sharp knife.

The blade of preference should have a razor-sharp edge and a thin blade profile.

This is so that the blade slides through the meat easily while making clean and consistent slices.

Settle for a stainless steel blade as this high-quality steel is easy to sharpen.

Additionally, it retains its sharpness for long, thereby saving you the trouble of regular re-sharpening.

The knife should be strong and durable, to allow for easy slicing through different foods including frozen meat.

A cutting board

Just like the blade, a cutting board also plays a crucial role when it comes to making the best slices without a slicer.

This board provides you with a platform for slicing while ensuring that you do not cause any damage whatsoever to the blade.

A wooden cutting board provides a unique grip on the whole chunks.

These cutting boards prevent slipping thereby ensuring that the chunk remains in one position for slicing consistency.

Slicing raw meats without a slicer

Slicing raw meat is quite different from slicing already cooked ones.

For raw deli, you will need to prepare the thing for slicing.

Slightly freeze it first will make it easier to slice.

This is because cold meat will move less while slicing.

This, in turn, allows you to achieve thin, even, and uniform slices just like those you would get with a slicer.

Do not freeze it for long sessions as it is hard to slide a knife through rock-solid chunks.

It is advisable to place it into the freezer for a maximum of 30 minutes before you start slicing.

Confirm that your blade of choice is ultra-sharp.

Then, place it on the cutting board and ensure that you understand the direction to use when slicing.

Depending on the type, you will choose between slicing along or against the grain.

Due to the firmness and temperature, achieving thin slices is easy.

Ensure that each of the slices has the same thickness and size as the other slices.

Slicing cooked meats

The technique for slicing cooked meat is the same as that of raw meat.

The only difference is the preparation.

For cooked meat, you do not need to freeze it before slicing.

After cooking, allow it to rest for a few minutes before you start slicing it.

Allowing it to rest preserves the flavor and juiciness.

Also, it allows you to hold it comfortably as it is not too hot.

Ensure that the blade is sharp and that the cutting board is resting on a flat-leveled surface.

Slide the knife along or against the grain depending on the type.

A bonus tip

You need to be alert and extra-careful at all times when using a sharp knife for slicing.

Any slight distraction can lead you to slice off your fingers.

Also, wrap it using aluminum foil to maintain flavor when freezing it.


Slicing meat is an easy task that you can accomplish even without prior experience.

With the right set of tools and the best slicing technique, getting ultra-thin deli slices will be quite easy.

We have highlighted the dos and don’ts to follow when slicing.

Also, it is more fun and exciting to slice manually by hand compared to using a slicer.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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