A good knife is, without a doubt, a chef's greatest tool.
A professional chef may have a handful of knives to choose from, but for an amateur, it may be hard to figure out what knife is for what task, and which ones are essential.
In this post, we're going to break down the most common kitchen knives and their uses.
Let's get started!
The Chefs Knife
This basic knife is a staple in just about every kitchen, professional and residential alike. The chef's knife has a unique rounded blade shape that makes it great for cutting using a rocking motion.
A chef's knife can vary in length from 6 inches to about 12 inches, where the larger length translates into faster slicing.
Almost all chef's knives are unserrated, but some brands offer a serrated version as well.
This knife is a jack of all trades and can be used for just about every cutting job in the kitchen. It can cut vegetables, meats, tofu, and more. It's a must-have essential for any aspiring chef.
As its name suggests, a boning knife is primarily used for separating meat from the bone. These long, thin knives are thicker than a filet knife and are used for just about everything but fish (which the filet knife is for.)
A boning knife can have a variety of blade lengths and widths and are most popular for more detailed work that the chef's knife is too large to handle.
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This unique looking Japanese version of the chef's knife is ideal for slicing, dicing, and mincing.
Typically, a Santoku Knife is thinner and shorter than a chef's knife, with a flatter build. The flat design of the Santoku makes it a bad choice for cutting using a rocking technique, but great for slicing long, skinny slices of vegetables.
The edge of this knife often has hollow sections carved out, which makes it easier to cut through meat quickly, and with more precision.
This knife can be used in place of a chef's knife almost all of the time, except when you want to use a rocking motion to dice vegetables or herbs.
Utility Knife or Paring Knife
The last essential type of kitchen knife on this list is the utility knife, sometimes called a paring knife. This short knife is generally only 4-7 inches long and can be thought of like a mini chef's knife.
A paring knife can do a lot of the same jobs but excels at getting into tighter spaces that might be awkward with a chef's knife.
A paring knife often come with a scalloped edge, which gives it flexibility in cutting. It can be used for everything from meat, to preparing salads and sandwiches.
Bread knives are pretty self explanatory. Unlike paring knives, bread knives have a singular purpose: to cut bread. Sure, you can use these knives on things other than bread, but the serrated edges and length make them ideal for slicing bread.
Which Kitchen Knife is Best?
When it comes to choosing the best knife, be it a bread knife, steak knives or any of the others listed here, the honest answer is a sharp one. With the right cutting skills, you can make do with just about any properly sharpened knife.
With that being said, the #1 essential type of kitchen knife you need is a chef's knife. Many other knives are just a variation of this staple. With a high quality, super sharp chefs knife, you can tackle just about any culinary project with ease.
The Importance of Keeping Your Knife Sharp
Not only is a dull knife inefficient, but it's also dangerous. The more effort you have to put in with your hand and arm, the less control you have over your tool.
If you're going to invest in a quality knife, make sure you also invest in a quality knife sharpener.
There are a variety of different types of knife sharpeners you can buy, but they all ultimately accomplish the same goal.
What's your go-to type of kitchen knife? Let us know what your favorite type of kitchen knife is in the comments section below!