This post is a brief tutorial on how to clean and prepare leeks for cooking. They often have dirt tucked in between the layers and need to be cleaned before adding them to recipes.

I’m going to walk you through how to quickly and easily clean them. Then I will jump into how to prepare and cut them.

Our tomato gnocchi with spinach and leeks is one of my favorite dinner recipes of all time. So you’ve gotta know how to clean them before you can make that heaven sent recipe!

A photo of a womans hands cleaning leeks under a running faucet

How to Clean Leeks

  • Rinse the leeks and remove any visible dirt on the outside.
  • The slice the leek lengthwise about a third of the way into the pale green stem section (see photo).

A photo of a leek sitting on the counter.

  • Then peel back the layers and run them under running water (see next photo).

A photo of a woman's hands cleaning leeks under a running faucet.

  • Slice off the dark green end of the leek. They are very tough and don’t really soften unless you cook them for a long time. I like to use mine to make stock.
  • Slice the root end off the leek.

A photo of two leeks sitting side by side on a wooden cutting board. The top of one of the leeks has been cut off and a knife is laying on the cutting board next to them.

  • Cut the leeks either into rings crosswise or julienne them lengthwise. It really just depends on how you are going to use the leeks. For our tomato gnocchi with leeks recipe, I like to cut them into rings as shown in the photo below.

A photo of all the ingredients for creamy sun dried tomatoe gnocchi all prepped sitting on a wooden cutting board.

  • If you are still seeing dirt when slicing, you can place the sliced pieces of leek into a bowl full of cold water.
  • Massage the leek pieces. This will remove dirt which will settle at the bottom.
  • Scoop the pieces out with your hands or a slotted spoon.

What are Leeks?

Leeks are a vegetable that are in the onion family. They have a more mild flavor thank onions and are slightly sweet. They are grown down in the dirt and should be cleaned before adding to an recipe.


Now that you know how to clean and prepare leeks, you can use them all the time in your cooking. It is such an underutilized vegetable in my opinion! They are so yummy!


Recipes That Use Leeks