What Are Quenelles?

Have you wondered what a quenelle is? Some fine-dining establishments will have a quenelle on their menu, but most of us do not know what a quenelle actually is. Some have probably never heard of a quenelle before. 

A quenelle is a smooth, oval-shaped scoop of food. Quenelles are commonly used for ice cream, mousses, and whipped cream in the pastry world. Quenelles can help a pastry chef make the dish look more aesthetically pleasing by elevating the look of the dish.

You will find that quenelles are used when serving desserts, such as ice cream or sorbet. The name “quenelle” is derived from a dish in French cuisine called “quenelles de brochet”. Quenelles de brochet is a mixture that is made when creamed fish is combined with an egg-binding and breadcrumbs. It has a shape that is egg-like, and it is this shape that quenelles are based on.

Shape of Quenelles

Quenelle is a presentation technique. This technique makes three-sided oval shapes using soft foods, like ice cream. These oval shapes are considered to look similar to the shape of a rugby ball. Quenelles are also small in size and tend to be smooth in texture.

How to Make Quenelles

Quenelles are often used to improve the look of a dish in fine-dining restaurants. While it may seem like making quenelles is difficult, it is actually quite easy to make quenelles. 

There are many different methods that you can use to make quenelles. You can go out and buy the cooking tools you may need to make the quenelles, but you can also use utensils that you already have at home.

In order to make quenelles, you need to:

  1. Prepare a glass of hot water. You also want to have a towel placed next to your glass of hot water. It is important to use hot water rather than cool water.
  2. Take an oval-shaped spoon out of your drawer and place it in the glass of hot water.
  3. After a minute or so, take the spoon out of the water and tap it dry on the towel.
  4. Start carving into the soft food you want to use to make the quenelles.
  5. Carve the spoon toward the edge of the container at an upward angle.
  6. Repeat this carving technique until the quenelle forms.
  7. Repeat this process to make more quenelles.


The primary purpose of quenelles is to add to the look of a dish. This makes the dish look more appetising and gives it a sense of elegance. 

This can also add sophistication if you pair a quenelle with wine.


Quenelles are oval-shaped scoops of soft food. The texture is often considered to be very smooth. Quenelles add more sophistication to the dish you are making and can make the dish look elegant.