How to Garnish

Drinks with lemons and limes igorr1/iStock/Thinkstock
Drinks with lemons and limes igorr1/iStock/Thinkstock


Dazzle your guests with a stunning candied lemon rosebud accenting a luscious cheesecake. Wow your family with a delicate tomato rose topping off a platter of creamy fettuccine.

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Garnish Recipes

We've included some recipes that pair perfectly with garnishes. We've placed them on each page so you can click to the recipes that complement your new garnishing techniques.

Entice little ones with a plate trimmed with fun gelatin cutouts and colorful carrot flowers -- the list of eye-catching garnishes is endless.

In this article, we'll show you how to add excitement to any food with eleven sections of creative garnishes. With easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and clear how-to photos, you'll soon progress from a basic radish fan to an impressive chocolate lead with ease.
  • Tools for Garnishing

    Whether you're building a house or creating a garnish, you need the right tools to do the job well. While the techniques for garnishing are fairly easy, it is a lot of work with smaller items.  Just as you wouldn't use a jackhammer when a simple hammer would do, you wouldn't want to use a stirring spoon when a melon ball is more applicable to the job. In this section, we'll talk about which tools you should keep on hand to garnish well.
  • Citrus Garnishes

    Take lemons and make lemonade, or create beautiful decorations for your table. You can dress up anything edible -- from a simple glass of water to a glazed pork main entree. Not only is citrus colorful, it also smells nice and is easy to work with. In this section, we'll teach you how to create citrus knots, scored citrus slices, citrus loops, and candied citrus peels.

  • Fans, Flowers, and Butterfly Garnishes

    These garnishes are really creative. Transform a regular lemon or lime into a butterfly that will flitter along your dinner plate. Give the beautiful butterfly a flowery place to land by creating cherry flowers. Or, get even more creative with sugared flowers and fruit. There are always strawberry fans to cool off your shortcake or frosty beverages. Learn how to make these fun fruity garnishes in this section.

  • Chocolate Garnishes

    Chocolate is irresistible. What's not to love? It tastes great, tricks the brain into releasing chemicals that make you happy, and it's beautiful on the plate. Garnishing with chocolate takes a little bit of work, but it's well-worth the effort. Chocolate curls, cutouts, and chocolate-dipped fruits and nuts are only the beginning. We'll show you how to melt and pipe dark chocolate and white chocolate, as well as how to make white chocolate curls and cutouts.

  • Bell Pepper Garnishes

    Bell peppers are delicious vegetables. Many of the most bell peppers come in the stoplight colors of red, yellow, and green. When shopping for bell peppers, choose peppers that are evenly shaped and without blemishes to get the right results. In this section, we'll teach you how to make bell pepper rings, baskets, triangles, and cups.

  • Carrot Garnishes

    Bugs Bunny was famous for eating carrots. Carrots have been proven to be good for your eyes. They can also improve what your eyes see, especially with these great carrot garnishes. Learn how to turn a regular root into a variety of popular flowers. You can also curl carrots and make carrot stars. You can even use a tiny bit of caviar in one of the garnishes. Find out which one in this section.

  • Cucumber and Zucchini Garnishes

    Cucumbers and zucchinis are versatile. Their deep green colors add a lot of panache to everyday meals. Keep their outer green peel on the strips you peel -- this line of color looks really good on the plate. Most cucumber and zucchini garnishes can be used interchangeably. Learn how to make cucumber and zucchini twists, ribbons, and flowers in this section.

  • Vegetable Garnishes

    Keep veggies in a bunch by tying them together. Garnishes aren't just fun to look at -- they're also practical. Vegetable ties are great for buffet meals so guests can easily pick up as many carrots as they want. In this section, we'll show you how to make different kinds of vegetable garnishes. The vegetables and techniques vary: from radish fans to julienne carrots and turnips, so you'll want to read it to know how to do a little of everything.

  • Fruit Basket Garnishes

    Most people go straight to the watermelon's juicy red interior and immediately discard the shell. The same is true of pineapple. It's pretty common to scoop out the tangy yellow fruit and toss the spiky shell. The garnishes in this section recycle the outer casings for both fruit, turning them into delightful baskets and boats. Learn how to make fruit basket garnishes in this section.

  • Dairy Garnishes

    Dairy garnishes are fun and surprising. Yes, we've all been to nice hotel breakfasts that played host to butter pats carved into pretty shapes. We'll teach you how to make butter shapes in this section. You'll also learn some more unexpected uses for dairy. Most people eat hard cooked eggs, but we'll show you how to turn them into charming egg chicken garnishes. We'll also teach you how to pipe cream cheese in this section.

  • Bacon Garnishes

    Breakfast wouldn't be the great meal of the day without bacon. Bacon curls give you the power to dress up even the quickest breakfast side dish. With these easy step-by-step instructions, we'll show you how to transform blasé bacon slices into brilliant bacon garnishes.
You want to complement the flavor and style of food with delightful garnishes that add color and panache to any meal, but it's best if you have the right tools. We'll discuss tools for garnishing in the next section.