Knives are the most important tool in a chef’s kit, and they can be used for pretty much any food prep task from chopping onions and butchering a cut of beef to opening oysters and slicing bread. But, there are different types of kitchen knives that are designed for various purposes. Not all knives are created equal. Using the right knife for the right job doesn’t just improve the quality of your cuts; it’s also a safety measure. If you understand what knives to use for different tasks, you’ll prevent injuries and save yourself time and effort in the kitchen. This article aims to introduce the most popular types of kitchen knives and the tasks they’re designed to handle in the kitchen. You will learn what to and to not include in your knife set. Confused? Don’t be, here’s a rundown of different types of knives and their uses to make the hustle easy in the kitchen. Read on and find out whether you’ve been using the right one.
Also called a cook’s knife, this is the most important blade in your kitchen. The chef’s knife typically has a broad blade tapering upward to a point, allowing it to rock back and forth for fast mincing. It can be anywhere between 6 and 12 inches long— the size is often chosen with consideration to how big the cook’s hands are. You can also check a detailed guide on best chef knives under $100
Mincing, cutting meat, and chopping vegetables.
The curved blade of a chef knife allows it rock back and forwards on a chopping board, which makes it the perfect tool for chopping and dicing lots of vegetables at once. It is useful for cutting thicker or harder foods, like potatoes, onions, or parsnips.
A paring knife has a short, slim, evenly sized blade with a pointed tip. It tends to be light, to allow for easy handling during delicate work.
Peeling, deveining, garnishing, slicing, and mincing.
The small but mighty paring knife is used to cut, chop and slice fruits and vegetables, but they can also be used for a multitude of other kitchen tasks. Despite their small size, paring knives will make light work of harder foods, like potatoes, while still being maneuverable enough to carry out delicate tasks like peeling, trimming, and removing seeds from fruit and veg.
A boning knife is a slim blade with a very sharp edge, usually tapering upwards to a fine pointed tip. It’s fairly short (usually only around 6 inches) and is usually rigidly constructed, although more flexible blades are available for delicate meat.
A boning knife is the best knife for cutting meat bones and trimming cartilage to create the perfect joint or cut before cooking. The pointed tip and slim blade make it a great choice for cutting around the bone without ruining the surrounding flesh. The strong, rigid blade can also be used to cut through cartilage. When de-boning pork or beef, a slightly harder knife is best, while a more flexible blade will suit poultry.
A bread knife has a long, evenly sized blade, with a sharp serrated edge — like a saw.
This sort of knife is designed for use on softer items.
The long blade and sharp serrated edge of a bread knife makes it the perfect tool for sawing through all sorts of different breads, including crusty bread, baguettes, bagels and bread rolls. This is because the grooved edge allows the chef to cut through softer textures without crushing them out of shape. Bread knives can also be used to slice cakes with soft, fluffy textures, as they can cut through them without knocking the air
out of the sponge or damaging the overall shape.
A carving knife is a long, slim knife, tapering to a sharp point. Sometimes called a slicing knife, a carving knife is one of the longest kitchen knives in the kitchen. Its narrow width means that it produces less drag as it cuts through food, allowing it to create cleaner, more uniform slices.
When it comes to serving meats like poultry, pork, lamb or beef, a carving knife is the best tool for the job, as it will produce thin, neat, evenly sized slices. It can also be used to tackle larger fruits and vegetables, such as melons or courgettes, which can be tough to slice through using smaller or broader knives. The long, thin blades are also ideal for cutting cakes, as they’re long enough to cut perfect slices in one smooth cutting motion.
Cleavers — also called butcher knives — have a flat, rectangular-shaped blade. They come in a variety of sizes, depending on their intended use. They’re one of the broadest, heaviest knives, and sometimes feature a hole near the spine of the blade so they can be hung up when not in use.
Splitting meat, dicing vegetables, cutting bones
A cleaver is used to chop up raw meat, either as part of the butchery process or to divide it into smaller portions before cooking. The large, heavy design means that it can even cut through bone, making it one of the best knives for raw meat prep. Given its bulky size, this sort of knife is generally only used on raw meat, rather than cooked food.
Utility knives are a mix between slicing and paring knives. They feature scalloped edges and blades that are slightly longer than standard paring knives. A sharp utility knife is very efficient for slicing fruits and vegetables, and they’re an ideal tool for food prep.
Slicing tomatoes or bagels, cutting lettuces and cabbages. A utility knife is good for chopping smaller foods and vegetables, like shallots. It shares many of the qualities of a chef knife, but it can be a useful tool when working with smaller food items.
Originally called santoku bocho knives, meaning ‘three uses’ —are great for precise cutting, dicing and mincing. One of the most popular types of kitchen knives in their native Japan, santoku knives have long, slightly tapered blades with a drop point to allow for more precise, intricate cutting work. They usually have dimpling along the blade to prevent food from sticking to the metal.
The sharp, straight edges and drop-point tips of santoku knives make them an effective tool for cutting fish. They’re particularly useful when preparing sushi or other raw fish, as the dimpling on the flat side of the blade helps to stop delicate items from sticking to the metal.