The kitchen knife – is it supposed to be a heavy-duty device for meat and bones or a tool to help you deal with fruits and vegetables? Can it be all in one? It seems an ordinary topic, but a kitchen knife is supposed to do so much! Will one do it all or will you need a whole set? Which are the best kitchen knives?
Choosing a kitchen knife can be confusing. These items can be plain different. There are so many tasks in the kitchen and there is no one knife to handle them all. This is why you will need at least a few types of such knives. According to your needs and habits, you will determine how many kitchen knives you should get. Our guide will help you understand the uses of each generic model, distinguish between common brands, types and identify what is needed- in short how to find the best kitchen knives for you.
Before purchasing, you will have to answer yourself the following questions:
- What is your cuisine style? Are you a vegetarian, a vegan? Or you often buy raw meat and cook it at home?
- Do you cook meals from scratch or you buy things that are almost done and only call for light preparation?
- How easily do you deal with food that’s regularly found in your kitchen? Do you struggle peeling, cutting, chopping and so on?
Let us take a look now at the best known types of kitchen knives, at what they’re like and what they can do best. It is important to realize that “any knife will do” is not a helpful approach. No one likes to struggle. Make your kitchen jobs easy by choosing the right knife. Don’t trouble yourself and double or triple the time you spend in the kitchen.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Kitchen Knives Reviews 2022
- 1.1 Kitchen Knife Set
- 1.2 Understanding Particularities
- 1.3 What Brands to Go For?
- 1.4 5 Best Kitchen Knives of 2022
- 1.5 Concluding the Kitchen Knives Story
- 1.6 History of Kitchen Knives
- 1.7 Common Knife Materials
- 1.8 Anatomy of a Kitchen Knife
- 1.9 Types of Kitchen Knives
- 1.10 German vs Japanese design
- 1.11 How to Choose a Kitchen Knife
- 1.12 How to Cut Safely with a Kitchen Knife
- 1.13 Caring for Your Kitchen Knives
- 1.14 Keeping Your Edge
- 1.15 A Cut Above
Best Kitchen Knives Reviews 2022
The Paring Knife
Blade dimension: small, 3 to 4 inches.
(via saebaryo )
The paring knife is seen by many as the best kitchen knife. It is ideal if you deal with a lot of vegetables. The blade ends in a sharp point. Because of their smaller dimensions, these knives allow for great control. They will help you accomplish high precision tasks as well. These are suitable to all the basic utility work.
Paring knives are not all made equal. You can have them with straight or wavy edges, with the basic cook’s knife shape or the bird’s beak shape. When it resembles the latter, it can be used to peel vegetables and fruits. It is also ideal for carving. Note that also a straight blade is good for peeling, so you’re not bound to this curved shape. Thanks to their sharp pointed end, paring knives are also good for discarding the black eyes from a potato or separating meat from bones. These will successfully skin onions or tail vegetables. They will peel oranges and apples and especially cut tomatoes.
Chef’s Knife (Cook’s Knife)
This is the common, generic kitchen knife. The popular one. This is the all-rounder everyone is aiming for. At the wide end, the blade is larger than the handle. The blade is broad overall and curves upwards towards its tip. It has a robust backbone to make the knife more firm. A chef’s knife may come in medium and mini shape. Sizes are between 6 and 12 inches.
The best chef knife is a straight-edges one, because it can be sharpened as needed instead of replaced.
It is good for mincing, cutting, chopping and slicing. Its size will help you achieve high speeds at chopping. Choose a smaller knife if you want it to be more lightweight. Also, if you have small hands pick one with a shorter blade.
The best chef knives have bolsters. These are pieces of metal between the handle and the blade. Their role is to anchor the thumb and stop the knife from slipping. This is a very important feature. Whether it has a full or partial tang is not as important. Another important aspect is to identify a knife with a good balance. It will feel awkward if one of its halves (the blade or the handle) is a lot heavier than the other.
Main feature: very wide and heavy blade.
Not everyone is in need of a cleaver. It is the tool of cooks who prepare raw meat and who have to deal with the bones. This is a big knife with a very wide beveled blade and a thick spine. It can cut through poultry bones. You need strength to operate it. One cannot use this heavy blade for slicing, but for chopping and pounding ingredients.
There are also Chinese cleavers on the market. This particular type features a thinner blade than the regular cleaver. It can deal with meat but cannot split a bone. It has a narrower spine and can be used to tenderize the meat.
The Japanese Kitchen Knife
Main feature: a very sharp edge.
If it’s Japanese, you know it’s going to be somewhat different. Counted among the best kitchen knives, the Sashimi is traditionally Japanese and can cut through a whole range of ingredients. It helps you prepare food easily and quickly. Its edge is super sharp. The blade is regularly the hollow-ground type. Be careful and don’t use it for chopping or other high-impact tasks. When using force, it loses its edge quickly. Prefer it for slicing and dicing. It handles ingredients from fruit and vegetables to meat.
There is also a Japanese version of the chef’s knife. It is known as the Santoku. Its very wide blade will slice meat but also chop vegetables. Because its spine is really narrow, it will make thin cuts. You may even use the blade width to crush garlic cloves. The Santoku is great for all ingredients.
Main feature: a very stiff blade.
You can use this to cut meat, including poultry and fish. Boning knives come in many shapes, so be aware of these. A wide one is the best for pork, but also works with chicken meat. Narrow blade models easily cut through cartilage and can chop well. A curved blade boning knife is the best when you want to improve the cutting angle and cut well around the bone, like really close to it.
Main features: 4-6 inches long, serrated edge.
To cut steaks and chicken, you need a heavy-duty knife, yet not a massive one. The best steak knives are usually the ones with a serrated edge. Its blade measures 4-6 inches in length. Thickness varies. Once the sharpness wears off, you will have to replace the knife. Avoid placing it in the dishwasher, because it damages the edge much sooner. We made a list of some of the steak knives you won’t go wrong with:
Best Steak Knives
- Wusthof Gourmet/Classic (especially the Wusthof Classic Ikom Steak Knives): Durable, sturdy,compact steak knives with very thin yet sharp blades. Forged in German high carbon steel this knife features recessed bloster so as to sharpen the full length of the cutting edge. Expensive
- Shun Steak Knives: Elegant, balanced and well-angled edge. Forged in High carbon steel with razor sharp edge and dishwasher safe as well. Shun offers limited lifetime warranty. Expensive
- Schmidt Brothers : Offers relatively inexpensive models of steak knives. Features stainless steel blades.
- Chicago Cuttlery SteakHouse Knives : Cheap yet popular steak knives. Serrated edge with high carbon steel, full tang blades.
- Laguiole en Aubrac: French made, highly rated steak knives that has serrated and non serrated models. Mirror polished razor sharp blades made form stain less steel. Expensive
Kitchen Knife Set
If you’re going for a set, take your time to look for one that contains only knives you know you will be using. Here’s what to look for:
– a paring knife,
– a chef’s knife,
– a bread (serrated) knife,
– a utility knife.
Sets can have very different numbers of kitchen knives, from just the basics to more than 15. Big sets contain many specialized knives and other similar tools. Ultimately, your purchase will also be influenced by price.
Here are some suggestions – the best big/small sets, cheap or more expensive sets.
Best Kitchen Knife Set
- Old Hickory 5 Piece Cutlery Set –cheap; wooden handles. Types of knives it includes: small paring, big paring, butcher’s, boning and slicing.
- Cangshan X Series German Steel Forged Knife Block Set – affordable, with sleek yet ergonomic handles. Includes: includes 8-inch chef’s, 7-inch Santoku, 8-inch bread, 5-inch serrated utility, 3.5-inch paring, and block
- Boker Gorm 7 Piece Kitchen Block Set – on the expensive side; black micarta handles; features all important knife sizes; stainless steel blades; excellent control through design and material.
- Wusthof Classic 11-Piece Block Knife Set– high precision; blade forged through laser technology. Includes: 3-1/2-Inch parer, four 4-1/2-Inch steak knives, 6-Inch utility, an 8-Inch bread knife and 8-Inch cooks knife; Honing steel, shears and storage block.
|Old Hickory Cutlery Knife Set||Buy Now|
|Cangshan X Series 59915 6-Piece German Steel Forged Knife Block Set||Buy Now|
|BOKER Gorm Block Set, Black||Buy Now|
|Wusthof Classic 11-Piece Block Knife Set||Buy Now|
- A straight edge is good for cutting raw meat, for slicing fish but also for cutting vegetables. It is easy to sharpen, which is a great advantage. It required frequent sharpening. It can also lose its edge pretty fast if it’s not made of something durable. If the blade is not too big, it can make really precise cuts.
- A serrated edge or a wavy one cuts bread well – it’s great with products that are soft but have a crust or skin. You can use it to cut vegetables, fruits or sausages for example.
- A Granton edge has grooves on its side. It is good for slicing juicy or fatty foods. It cuts meat without shredding it.
You will notice that kitchen knife handles are made of a variety of materials. The most common are wood, plastic and metal. If you must handle a lot of kitchen work and you usually deal with heat, your hands may easily sweat. In fact, it is hard to avoid moisture in the kitchen. Firstly, we advise that you choose something that feels comfortable in your hand. Also, metal and plastic do not go well with humidity. To have a better grip and feel more comfortable, pick knives that have a wooden or a rubber handle.
Other features of the handle: You may feel tempted to buy intricate, ornate knives. Resist the temptation. If it has any intricacies – like carvings – it will be difficult to clean it. Reside will stick to it and bacteria will grow. Also, be mindful of the metal rivets. While these are excellent elements to secure the tang inside the handle, you don’t want them to stick out. These must be smooth and integrate perfectly into the handle.
What Brands to Go For?
Are there big differences between the makers?
As with most products, there are great ones, and there are cheap imitations as well. There are brands with a history, which won’t let you down. For some you will have to pay more, but will last you “a lifetime”.
- Victorinox – These professional knives are now improved and come with more features. They have a full tang, rivets, great balance and ideal weight. The Swiss manufacturer is also the knife provider of the army. Its kitchen cutlery is as remarkable as the famous multifunctional Swiss Army pocket knives. All items come with a lifetime warranty.
- Korin Giutou – This refers to a chef’s knife made by the Japanese. It is fabricated of high-carbon steel. It is extremely comfortable to handle. Makes perfect slices. Very sharp, ideal for precise cutting.
- Richmond – This manufacturer makes sharp and thin blades which keep their edge. Light knives with good grip. Particularly good for herbs and vegetables. Usually these knives have rosewood handles, which make them pricier.
- Shun – The Japanese company is one of the masters. It makes blades in Damascus style. These blades have 16 covers of high carbon stainless steel. It is called the VG-10 super steel.
- Wusthof – A German company, this one has a solid reputation in the industry. It makes heavy, thick knives, which are highly resistant. Chefs tend to choose these. The blades are easy to sharpen.
5 Best Kitchen Knives of 2022
1. Victorinox 8″ Forged Chef Knife
This knife by Victorinox is an essential in any kitchen. With having special features which include a POM handle, high carbon stainless steel blade, and polyoxyethylene handle curve, this knife is a must-have. The Victorinox Forged Kitchen Knife has a specialized curved blade and pointy tip helps with being able to cut vegetables, meat, and other ingredients with great speed and agility. The pointy tip also aids when doing activities such as skinning meat and and rinds.
- POM Handle
- Stainless Steel
- Curved Blade
- Pointy Tip
- Good for Speed
2. Misono Fruit Knife
The Misono fruit knife is a great knife to have in your kitchen. It is not only rust resistant, but it also has a moybdenum blade which can be resharpened which helps it stand out among the other fruit knives that do not normally carry this characteristic. This special fruit knife is one that will last a lifetime and will always stay in pristine shape.
- Able to be Resharpened
- Sharp Blade
3. Richmond Laser AS Petty
Looking for a knife that is not for the faint of heart? Check out the Richmond Laser AS Petty. This knife is specially made by blacksmiths in Japan to ensure its sharpness and quality. The Richmond Laser can cut through everything that your kitchen has to offer with a corrosion resistant exterior. The 150 mm knife comes with a maple handle which adds both style and excellent grip to this already superb knife.
- Corrosion Resistant
- Extremely Sharp
4. Shun Kaji 7″ Cleaver
This high-end cleaver is produces exclusively for Shun. It combines new technology in today’s knives with the old tradition and techniques of centuries before. It is a 65 layered blade and is inspired of the making of the samurai sword. The handle is especially great because it is moisture resistant and is made for good gripping and control. The Shun Kaji Cleaver is made for being able to cut meat and other ingredients and transfer them to a pot efficiently. The incredible design and quality is what lands it in the Top 5 Knives of 2018.
- Moisture Resistant Handle
5. Wusthof 8″ Extra Wide Cook’s Knife
The Wusthof 8″ Extra Wide Cook’s Knife that is crafted in Germany is made out of high-carbon stainless steel and excel in chopping, mincing, slicing, and dicing. It does it all! The wide blade of this knife makes it easier to scrape food and bring it to wherever it is wanted. This multi-purposed knife has a POM handle which fits comfortably in your hand and has an easily maintained laser cut blade. This knife’s versatility and quality will make it the only knife you will want to use in your kitchen.
- Sharp Blade
- POM Handle
- Low Maintenence
Concluding the Kitchen Knives Story
Now you know what the basic types of knives are good for, what features to focus on and which brands to look for. You only have to determine your budget and identify your needs. Also, take into consideration some of your physical features, like the size of your hands or how easily your palms sweat. These aspects will help you further with determining the exact type of kitchen knife to buy. Once you get the perfect piece or pieces, you will be inspired to unleash your talent in the kitchen. You will prepare meals faster and with more enthusiasm.
Our list of best kitchen knives are just a scratch to the surface. There is so many good kitchen knives out there. Drop a comment and let us know what do you think of this articleHumanity would not be where it is today if not for our tools. And the knife was undoubtedly one of the more essential tools early humans created. Think about it: Could you cook dinner without a kitchen knife? Breakfast? No, you could not. Interestingly, kitchen knives as we know them have only been around for a short time. From multipurpose designs to highly specialized blades, you are sure to find the right knife for your cooking task.
History of Kitchen KnivesIn 2009, a group of paleoanthropologists uncovered stone knives nearly half a million years old! That’s right: That means an entirely different species of humans were using these blades, long before homo sapiens came around. These prehistoric knives were essentially rocks with a sharpened edge. Since then, though, we’ve improved on these early knife designs. Eventually, bronze replaced stone as the tool material of choice.
Bronze Age knivesBronze Age knives had a significant advantage over their stone-age predecessors: they were more durable. Unfortunately, they also dulled easier than stone knives. The solution: Sharpening. Sharpening started with stone tools. However, scientists believe that the Bronze age is when sharpening became more critical. However, when humans discovered iron, knife technology was about to leap forward.
Iron Age knivesJust as bronze had an advantage over stone, iron had an advantage over bronze. Here’s why: Iron was strong, durable, and could hold an edge. However, adding carbon to the mix created steel. Steel changed everything. Credit for the first true steel goes to metal workers in India. They would trade their wootz steel all over the world, from Roman territories in Europe and westward to China. Did you know? Fabled Damascus blades started from wootz steel ingots imported from India!
The road to kitchen knivesThe knowledge on how to make steel eventually made it to Europe. Here’s what we found out: Solingen, Germany is also known as the “City of Blades.” Its unique geography gave it a unique advantage for producing, and trading, world-class knives. The city of Solingen still produces some of the best German-made cutlery in the world. Of course, the Germans were not the only ones to create high-quality kitchen knives. The Meiji Restoration began in mid 19th century Japan. This period saw the end of the shogunate era and the end of the samurai. Japanese swordsmiths found that swords were no longer in demand. Rather than let the Meiji Restoration be the end of their craft, enterprising swordsmiths turned the skills to knife making instead. The town of Seki in Japan has been making samurai swords for over seven centuries. Like Solingen, the city still produces world-class knives, famous all over the world. Did you know? Every year, the town of Seki, Japan holds a Cutlery Festival. The 2022 festival featured an entire kilometer of master swordsmiths showcasing their craft.
Modern kitchen knivesKitchen knives as we know them today owe their design to the 20th-century advancements in stainless steel. In fact: In the 21st century, we have a vast selection of kitchen knives to choose from. Though many popular designs and brands come from Europe and Asia, there are great knife brands from all over the world. While stainless steel blades are still typical, Damascus steel and ceramic blades are also very popular.
Looking to the future of kitchen knivesKitchen knives have come a long way since prehistoric times. No, really: But what does the future have in store for kitchen knives? That’s anyone’s guess. Could we be looking at possible smart kitchen knives that will relay information about our food as we cut it? Or maybe we’ll have LASER knives to cut our food with? Just think: you can cut it AND cook it at the same time! What a time saver!
Common Knife MaterialsModern kitchen knives are made from several different materials. However, most blades are made of some type of steel.
Stainless steelStainless steel is by far the most common material used for kitchen knives. This comes as no surprise when you think about the properties of stainless steel. Compared to mild steel, stainless steel is:
- More attractive
- More resistant to corrosion
- Lower maintenance
Damascus steelDamascus steel blades were prized in antiquity for their legendary sharpness. Did you know? Damascus steel is the inspiration for Valyrian steel in Game of Thrones We know that Syrian metallurgists crafted Damascus blades from the wootz steel ingots they imported from India. To the wootz steel, they mixed in composites that gave in their blades the outstanding sharpness. Sadly, the mix of what they put into it has been lost to history. Luckily, the technique remains. Guess what? Thanks to this, you can find modern Damascus steel blades on weapons as well as kitchen knives. One of the hallmarks of Damascus steel is the intricate, wavy patterns on the blade. Not only that: Modern Damascus steel uses a variety of different steel and metals, welded together to create a composite. This technique creates a distinctive pattern. Did you know? Sometimes Damascus steel is called “pattern weld” for its forging technique. Remember when I said that stainless steel is a shoo-in for attractiveness? Well, Damascus steel gives it a run for its money! Since Damascus steel blades are a composite of different steels of varying hardness, the metal wears at different rates. What happens is: In high-quality Damascus steel blades, this creates micro serrations that keep the edge extra sharp.
Caring for Damascus steelHere’s what you should know: Like carbon steel, Damascus steel blades do require more upkeep than stainless steel. Always wash and dry your Damascus steel kitchen knife immediately after use. Oiling the blade lightly will help keep moisture off of it, keeping it safe from corrosion.
Carbon SteelPart of what gives stainless steel its corrosion resistance is the inclusion of chromium in its chemical mix. While stainless steel undoubtedly has plenty of advantages, it also has one disadvantage: it is softer than carbon steel. Of course: This is where carbon steel has the advantage. Its hardness means it keeps an edge better than stainless. For seasoned cooks, being able to have a reliably sharp edge on your favorite knife is everything.
Patina mattersWhy? Because it develops a patina. The patina is a type of oxidation called magnetite. The magnetite type of oxidation protects against corrosion, aka rust.
Caring for carbon steelUnlike stainless steel, carbon steel blades require a significant amount of care to ensure that they stay in good shape. Remember: any moisture left on the blade can cause it to rust. Keep your carbon steel in good shape by washing, cutting, and drying your blade as soon as you are done with your cutting tasks. Before putting your blade in storage, carefully wipe it down and oil it. For best results, use food-safe mineral oil as these will not go rancid.
CeramicRight now, you may be wondering: A ceramic knife? Yes! Ceramic knives are indeed made of ceramic, though a different type than, say, your coffee mug. The advantage of ceramic knives is that they are sharper and lighter than steel knives. Also, like stainless steel, ceramic blades are relatively low maintenance. Unfortunately, ceramic does have its downsides. For one, it’s more brittle. You do have to be careful about chipping or breakage if you were to drop your knife. Another disadvantage is that ceramic blades are hard to sharpen. When it does need sharpening, you are best off taking it to a professional.
Handle materialsLike the blade, the handle materials differ between knives. The most common handle materials are wood and polycarbonate. Wood Wood is the classic material for kitchen knife handles. It comes in all types of grains and finishes and is endlessly versatile. Wood handles can come in two types of finishes: Stabilized and not stabilized. What does that mean? A stabilized wooden handle is resin treated. This seals the pores in the wood, making them less susceptible to warping. Unstabilized wood is not treated with resin. This allows the wood to retain more of its natural beauty. Unfortunately, unstabilized wood is more susceptible to water and warping. The main problem with wood handles is that they require upkeep. Without proper maintenance, a wooden handle, stabilized or not, can rot. Dos and Don’ts of Wooden Handle Knife Care
- DO wash and dry the knife by hand after every use
- DO NOT put a kitchen knife in the dishwasher
- DO keep the knife out of direct sunlight
- DO NOT soak the knife in water
- DO oil the knife handle regularly
Anatomy of a Kitchen KnifeAll kitchen knives have two basic parts: the blade and the handle. Both of these basic parts have distinct features. Knife graphic: CC BY-SA 3.0, by Fred the Oyster, via Wikimedia, altered by author, all rights reserved
BladeThe blade is the part of the knife you cut with. A kitchen knife blade is often made of metal but can also be made of ceramic and other materials. (More on that later!)
TipThe tip of the knife is the very end of the blade. On some kitchen knives, like a chef’s knife or a santoku, this tip may be pointed. On other kitchen knives, the tip may be blunt.
HeelOn a kitchen knife, the heel is the part of the blade right before the handle.
BellyThe belly of the knife is the part of the blade between the tip and the heel. The shape of the belly differs between different types of knives. For example: A chef’s knife often has a curved belly. This makes it easy to rock the knife back and forth on the cutting board. Other knife styles may have little to no curve. A boning knife has little to no curve.
SpineThe spine is the top of the blade, opposite of the cutting edge. The spine on a kitchen knife helps balance the knife. Some kitchen knives may have a larger, heavier spine. A heavier spine on a kitchen knife can add to its weight, making it better for heavier cutting jobs, such as chopping hard vegetables and bones. Others kitchen knives may have a thinner spine. This thinner spine makes the knife more maneuverable than a thicker spined knife.
BolsterThe bolster is a guard piece, next to the heel. This piece keeps your hand from slipping too far down the handle onto the blade. Bolsters are normally found only on forged blades. Stamped blades do not have bolsters.
EdgeThe edge is the sharpened part of the blade. Most kitchen knives have only one sharpened edge though there are some double-edged kitchen knives. Did you know? An oyster knife is an example of a double-edged kitchen knife. There are a variety of different types of edges available on kitchen knives.
Straight edgeThe straight-edge blade is the most common type of edge on kitchen knives. Also called a “flat ground,” the blade is ground in a straight line to form the cutting edge.
Serrated edgeA serrated edge on a kitchen knife can also be called a wavy or scalloped edge. This is due to its unique shape, which has teeth on the blade edge. So, what should you use it for? Serrated-edged kitchen knives are especially helpful when slicing through soft foods like bread and fruit.
Granton edgeA Granton edge combines a straight cutting edge with hollow sections that run along the blade sides. These hollow edges create air pockets, keeping the food from sticking to the blade. What does it cut? Granton edge knives are ideal for cutting thin slices of cooked meats.
Hollow ground edgeHollow edge blades grind the edge from the blade’s midpoint, forming a concave side. The resulting blade is very thin and very sharp but also brittle. In fact: This makes for a blade that is ideal for very precise cutting tasks like preparing sushi or peeling fruits.
HandleAlso known as the “scales,” the handle is the part of the knife you hold. Some kitchen knives have unibody construction. In these knives, the blade and the handle are stamped from a single piece of metal.
Handle materialsA knife handle may be made of a variety of different materials. What kind? Common handle materials include wood, stainless steel, or polycarbonate.
TangThe tang is the part of the blade that goes into the handle. Full tang knives are knives where the blade extends into the full length of the handle. Also, you should know: Since the blade extends through the length of the handle, full tang knives generally have a better weight and balance. Conversely, a partial tang is where the blade only extends into a portion of the handle.
Handle fastenersA handle fastener is what holds the tang to the handle. Keep in mind: Some handles are held on with rivets. Other handles may be held on with screws. A handle may also be affixed to a tang with an adhesive, like epoxy.
ButtThe butt is the end of the knife handle.
Types of Kitchen KnivesWhen it comes to kitchen knives, there are a lot of different ones you can choose from. No, really: Whether you want a knife that can do it all or have a specific use in mind, there is a knife for that.
Where in the world?When you go shopping for a knife, you’ll probably notice there are two main categories:
- German or European-style
- Japanese or Asian-style
German vs Japanese designGerman and Japanese knives have several key differences between them, construction-wise. Steel German: Softer steel but holds an edge better Japanese: Harder steel but more brittle Edges German: Thicker edge, double-beveled Japanese: Thinner edge, single or double-beveled Construction German: Full tang construction Japanese: Partial tang, tapered in the handle Functionality German: More multipurpose knives Japanese: More precision cutting knives
German / Euro-style kitchen knivesThese are the typical types of knives used in a Western / European-style kitchen. Chef’s knife A chef’s knife, also known as a cook’s knife, is the ultimate kitchen multitasker. Remember: Most chef’s knives range in size between 6-inches to 12-inches, though 8-inches to 10-inches tend to be the most popular. The chef’s knife has a relatively large, wide blade with a sharp point and a curved belly. It is meant to be used in a rocking type of motion. A chef’s knife can handle a variety of different cutting tasks in the kitchen including slicing, mincing, and chopping. The wide blade makes it easy to transfer cut food between work surfaces, like from a chopping board into a pan. Carving knife This type of knife is primarily meant for cutting thin slices of large cuts of roasted meat. Mmmm…meat. Compared to a chef’s knife, a carving knife is longer with a straighter belly and a thinner profile. Boning knife A boning knife is a specialty knife, meant for cutting meat away from the bone. That’s not all: There are a variety of different boning knives available. These knives come in lengths between 3-inches and 8-inches. Compared to a chef’s knife, boning knives are typically shorter with thinner blades. Some may feature flexible blades that allow you to get in close to the bones. Others may have stiffer, more hefty blades to allow you to separate joints. Bread knife A bread knife is typically longer and thinner than a chef’s knife, ranging in length from between 7-inches and 10-inches long. What else? Bread knives typically have a serrated edge. This serrated edge makes it ideal for cutting through crusts without tearing or crushing the softer crumb underneath. Butcher Knife A butcher knife is a specialty knife. Here are the facts: Butcher knives are typically longer, thinner, and sturdier than chef’s knives. They also feature a slightly curved blade that allows the butcher to section and trim large portions of meat. Other specialty knives, similar to a butcher knife include the breaking knife and cimeter. Paring knife A paring knife is a small, multi-purpose knife. They come in several different styles with either a straight or curved edge to the blade. Paring knives are useful for handling small foods and making precision cuts.
Japanese-style kitchen knivesTwo features distinguish traditional Japanese style knives from Western knives. The first is: The bevel. Japanese knives are traditionally single beveled, meaning that they are only sharpened on one side of the blade. This single-bevel makes the knife extremely sharp, perfect for precision work like cutting sushi or decorative vegetables. Modern Japanese knives may also be double-beveled. Double-beveled knives are sharpened on both sides. Most Japanese knife designs are quite straight with little to no curve in the blade. This is because Japanese knives are meant to be used in a pulling, straight type of motion. Did you know? Single-beveled knives are sharpened at a 15 to 17-degree angle. Double-beveled knives are sharpened at a 30-degree angle The yanagiba 柳刃包丁is the quintessential sushi knife. It has a long, thin blade that can range from approximately 9-inches to 14-inches long. Did you know? The word yanagi means “willow” in Japanese? While most chefs use the yanagiba for sushi, it is also great for cutting meat and other ingredients. Takobiki タコ引 is based on the yanagiba. It is longer and thinner, designed for the long, straight cuts favored for sashimi. Also: The fugubiki ふぐ引き is also based on the yanagiba. This knife is specifically designed to butcher the deadly fugu or pufferfish.
Deba 出刃A deba 出刃 is a Japanese knife used primarily for cutting fillets as well as beheading fish. These knives are typically available in lengths ranging between 6-inches and 8-inches long. While these knives can be used for many purposes aside from filleting fish, they are not heavy enough to chop through bone.
Usuba 薄刃Usuba 薄刃 is the traditional Japanese knife used for making precise cuts on vegetables. A kamagata usuba is has a pointed tip. A regular usuba does not have a pointed tip. This clip shows a Japanese chef demonstrating a technique called katsuramuki using an usuba knife. What does that mean? In this technique, a chef cuts a continuous, paper-thin sheet from Japanese daikon radish. A nakiri is another Japanese vegetable knife. It is similar to the usuba except it is thinner and longer, meant for cutting greens. Nakiri knives are generally between 6-inches to 8-inches long and usually feature a double-beveled edge.
Gyuto 牛刀A Japanese gyuto 牛刀 is the rough equivalent to a Western chef’s knife in size as well as usage. The major difference between a gyuto and a European chef’s knife is that the Japanese blade is thinner. Is that all?? No. The name literally means “beef knife” and as such, it is particularly adept at cutting meat. A gyuto typically comes in a range of 8-inches to 10-inches long. It may be single or double beveled.
Santoku 三徳包丁Old Santoku Knives, CC BY-SA 3.0, by David Ingham, via Wikimedia The santoku 三徳包丁 knife is a multi-purpose life. Like the gyuto, it is similar in use to a Western knife. Santoku knives are usually double-beveled.
Chinese cleaver 菜刀While Japanese knives are popular in Western kitchens, they are by no means the only type of Asian knife style out there. When it comes to versatility, the Chinese cleaver (菜刀 Càidāo) is the ultimate multitasker. Stay with me: Need to slice and dice? Or maybe crush and mince? A Chinese cleaver has all that covered. The wide blade on a Chinese cleaver makes it easy to move food from place to place, such as from a cutting board to a bowl. There are two main types of Chinese cleaver: As the name suggests, a chopper is adept at chopping food. It is a heavy cleaver, with much of its weight in the heel of the knife. This is great: Especially for cleaving through large cuts of meat, bones, and hard vegetables like squashes. The slicer is thinner and weighs less than the chopper, with the majority of its weight in the front edge of the blade.
How to Choose a Kitchen KnifeAll right, I admit: The sheer number of different knives out there is overwhelming. So the question is: How do you choose the right kitchen knife for you?
What tasks do you need to do?Think about what kind of tasks you need to do in the kitchen. For your average (or not-so-average) home cook, you will need to slice, dice, and chop your food. Are you still overwhelmed by the number of knives you have to choose from? Well, I have some good news! You only really need three different knives to do most of what you need to do in the kitchen. The Only Three Knives You Need
- Chef’s knife
- Paring knife
- Bread knife
How much maintenance are you willing to do?Be honest: Do you really want to spend a lot of time taking care of your knives? Remember: different knife materials need different levels of care. Carbon steel and Damascus steel need more care than stainless steel. Likewise, a wooden handle also needs more care than a polycarbonate handle. While that carbon steel, wooden-handled chef’s knife may look appealing, remember you will need to care for it like a baby. (Okay, not quite, but it does need a lot of care!) If you are not ready for quite that much responsibility, stick with a stainless steel blade and a polycarbonate handle for a low-maintenance option.
How much work are you going to do with it?Think about how much cutting you anticipate you will be doing with your knife. Keep thinking: You want whatever knife you choose to not only be durable but also comfortable in your hand. That’s it. If you anticipate doing a lot of slicing and dicing, you will want a knife that won’t be too heavy.
How to Cut Safely with a Kitchen KnifeNewsflash: Kitchen knives are sharp. Really sharp. And of course, you want them to be sharp. But you also need to be safe while you are using them. Here are three quick ways to make sure you are cutting safely with your kitchen knives.
Use a stable cutting surface.Always use a cutting board or other stable, flat surface to do your cutting. If you are using a cutting board on a slippery surface, put a non-slip grip underneath it. Need a quick non-slip grip? Use a damp towel!
Use a firm gripDon’t be afraid of your knife! Grip it firmly. A loose grip is a recipe for disaster
Curl your fingersIf you like your fingers (and who doesn’t?) you will want to pay attention to this. When you are holding on to the food on the board, curl your fingers under, like a claw. Keeping your fingers outstretched is a good way to cut them off. And no one wants that! Additionally, make sure that you are not raising the knife above your knuckles. This helps to keep your fingers safe.
Watch your motionBonus: study techniques
Caring for Your Kitchen KnivesOnce you’ve chosen the best knife (or knife set) for you, it’s time you learn to take care of them. Here are a few simple tips to care for your new knives.
Just say no to the dishwasherIf you learn just ONE thing from all this, let it be this: NEVER PUT YOUR KNIVES IN THE DISHWASHER. I’ll repeat myself because it’s THAT important: Knives never go in the dishwasher. Yes: Even the low-maintenance, stainless steel bladed, polycarbonate handled knives. Dishwashers use very hot water, harsh detergents, and strong sprays of water to get your dishes clean. While this is great for your dishes it is NOT great for your knives. All that hot, soapy water is a great way to ruin the edges on your blades. It can also warp your blade handles. Even polycarbonate handles aren’t safe from the dishwasher. The hot water can still warp the rivets or the adhesive that holds the handle to the tang.
General care directionsSo how should you care for your knives? Start off by cleaning your kitchen knives with mild dishwashing soap and warm water. Then, dry it off immediately using a paper towel or a dishtowel. If you have a wooden handle, be sure to dry the wooden handle thoroughly. If you have a carbon steel or Damascus steel blade, oiling your blade will keep it from rusting while you store it between uses.
Keeping Your EdgeAfter buying a great knife, you want to keep it sharp! Even if you buy the best knife in the world, it will dull over time. It’s just a fact of life. But a dull knife is a dangerous knife. Learn to hone and sharpen your kitchen knives to keep them in top shape and safe!
Honing versus sharpeningPeople often confuse honing with sharpening. These tasks seem similar but vary in important ways. Here’s how: Honing is a process where you bring the existing edge back into alignment. This can realign a slightly dull blade but won’t make a dull blade sharp. Sharpening takes steel off of the knife to re-establish a worn-down edge.
Types of sharpenersIf you need to sharpen your kitchen knives, there are a few different types of sharpeners you can try. A whetstone is a flat stone that you can use to sharpen your knife. Whetstones are relatively cheap but they take some practice to use correctly. A manual knife sharpener allows you to pull a knife through it at the correct angle to sharpen. Manual sharpeners are relatively inexpensive and often have several grades of abrasives. The downside is: Manual sharpeners cannot repair extensive damage. Like the manual sharpener, an electric sharpener lets you pull a knife through to sharpen. These can repair extensive damage to a knife. However: Electric sharpeners can be expensive. If you have a knife with a bolster, it may not fit through the sharpener.
A Cut AboveFrom prehistoric times to the modern-day, kitchen knives and their predecessors have helped to keep humanity fed. While there are a lot of different knives out there to choose from, it is not hard to find the right knife for you. Whether you choose to start out with a chef’s knife or you’re looking to collect a whole drawer full of top-quality knives, there is something out there that will suit your needs.
Last update on 2022-03-05 at 18:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API