How to Clean Leeks: A Step-by-Step Guide

Leeks are a delicious vegetable, but they're grown in sandy soil, so they need a good cleaning before you use them in recipes.
Related To:

Follow these steps to make cleaning leeks a cinch.

Step 1: Trim the Roots

Step 1: Trim the Roots

Step 1: Trim the Roots
Leeks are a lot like onions or scallions, but they have their own unique flavor. Trim the root end and remove the dark tops.

Step 2: Prepping Leeks

Step 2: Prepping Leeks

Step 2: Prepping Leeks
Typically, you should use the light part of the leek for cooking, but you can also try the dark end for stocks. If your recipe calls for large pieces or asks you to cut matchsticks, here's how you clean them.

Step 3: Cut Into Sections

Step 3: Cut Into Sections

Step 3: Cut Into Sections
Cut the leeks into sections about 4 inches long.

Step 4: Cut in Half

Step 4: Cut in Half

Step 4: Cut in Half
Slice the leeks in half lengthwise.

Step 5: Rinse

Step 5: Rinse

Step 5: Rinse
Fill a baking dish or bowl with water and add the leeks. The leeks will float and the dirt will fall to the bottom. Check the layers for any hidden dirt.
Tip: A baking dish works well because it's flat.

Step 6: Slice the Clean Leeks

Step 6: Slice the Clean Leeks

Step 6: Slice the Clean Leeks
Slice the leeks according to the recipe.

Step 7: Or Clean After You Cut Them

Step 7: Or Clean After You Cut Them

Step 7: Or Clean After You Cut Them
You can also clean the leeks after you cut them. Simply slice and rinse. Set them on a paper towel to drain. Tip: You can store leeks in a damp paper towel in the fridge for two or three days.

Step 8: That's It!

Step 8: That's It!

Step 8: That's It!
Now they're ready to add their subtle flavor to your braise, saute or roast. Watch our how-to video for more.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Clean and Store Mushrooms: A Step-by-Step Guide

Use these tips to add earthy richness to your favorite dishes.

How to Glaze Vegetables: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this guide to make gorgeous glazed vegetables, then watch our how-to video.

How to Handle Chiles: A Step-by-Step Guide

Get tips for cooking with and preparing fresh and dried chiles.

How to Slice, Dice and Mince Onions: A Step-by-Step Guide

There's no need to cry over cutting up onions — these simple steps from Food Network will help you slice, dice and mince onions more quickly and evenly.

How to Caramelize Onions: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this guide to make rich, sweet caramelized onions, then watch our how-to video.

How to Choose, Ripen and Store Avocados: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these easy tips for avocado perfection.

Tomato Guide

Tips for choosing and using the right tomato varieties, plus how to make fresh tomato sauce

50 Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

You won't run short on side dishes this year...or next.

Winning Pickle Recipe

A Texas reader's twist on chips and dip came out on top in our pickle-themed contest.

Gluten-Free Times Three Shopping List

Here's what you'll need to make the recipes from this episode of Rachael Ray's 3 in the Bag.

Get Cooking