If you love spending time in the kitchen, then chances are, you’ve got several knives in your kitchen drawer, but do you know the proper way to use each one? Can you tell the difference between a utility knife and a chef’s knife?Even with all the latest techy kitchen appliances to choose from these days, the kitchen knife remains one of the most important items found in any kitchen. If you do plenty of cooking, then a high-quality kitchen knife is a must.Using the best Japanese knife or Western knife that’s the right weight and perfectly balanced will ensure that you’re chopping will be safer and much faster.
Key Takeaway: There are so many knives to choose from, each of which is designed for a special type of cutting task. Knowing which type of knife you need can make all the difference in terms of production and presentation. By learning about the different knife options available you’ll be able to find the right knife for the job.
So, if you think it’s time to upgrade, you can take a look at the following guide on the different types of kitchen knives and find the perfect all-purpose, utility, or boning knife, that can do wonders for your productivity in the kitchen.
Read on to learn how each type of knife can improve your slicing and dicing skills while also saving you plenty of time in the kitchen.
Aside from a chef’s knife, the steak knife is one of the most common knives you’ll find in any kitchen. This type of kitchen knife will usually have a four-inch blade and a solid, thick handle. These knives are designed to withstand heavy use and often come equipped with a full-tang and triple riveted blades. These blades are either serrated or straight. Some models will have rounded tips, while others will have pointed tips. These knives are usually sold in sets or four to six and are mainly used to cut up tough meat at the dinner table.
The Traditional Chef’s Knife
In any kitchen knife set, in every professional kitchen, you’ll find the chef’s knife. These knives are larger than slicing and paring knives and much heavier. Equipped with heftier handles and longer blades, these knives are made to handle high volumes of food and tough materials. They’re the type of knife you can really rely on for pretty much any task in the kitchen. And they’re often the type of knife you really want to splurge on since it’s one that you’ll use more often than any other knife in your slicing and dicing arsenal.
The chef’s knife is large, heavy, intimidating, and designed for daily use. The knife’s gentle curves allow cooks to effortlessly slice through veggies, fruits, and meat. These knives often have a ten-inch blade, which makes them perfect for cutting up a whole chicken, slicing through a watermelon, or slicing apples. A good chef’s knife will have some heft to it and come equipped with a durable, strong handle. Because of its large size, the chef’s knife can be uncomfortable to use for longer periods of time, unless you buy a model that features an ergonomic handle.
These knives are true multitaskers, but because they can be so heavy, they aren’t really recommended for high volume cutting. The traditional Gyuto Japanese knife if similar to a chef’s knife, but it’s much lighter, despite the fact that it features a blade that’s comparable in size and durability.
You can click here to learn more about Gyuto knives in our ultimate Japanese knife guide.
A bread knife is used for slicing bread and other types of baked goods. So, why do you need a special knife to cut bread? If you use a chef’s knife to slice a loaf of bread, the odds are you’ll end up squishing or tearing the loaf. A bread knife has a long, thin blade that measures in at eight to twelve inches in length. These knives are able to easily slice through a variety of baked goods without crushing the bread, thanks to the blade’s serrated edge. However, the distance and depth of the serrations can differ from one bread knife to the next. Some bread knives will have the teeth spaced at a few millimeters, while another bread knife will feature scalloped, soft serrations.
A slicing knife is somewhat similar to a bread knife when it comes to the height and length of the blade. However, they differ in the fact that instead of a serrated blade, the blade is straight. They also have a pointed tip instead of a rounded tip. This type of kitchen knife is the perfect choice for slicing meats such as roasts, ham, chicken, turkey, or even meatloaf. These knives are more commonly used for plate preparation for large dinners, but they can also be used to cut up delicate produce such as peaches or tomatoes.
The utility knife is considered one of the most versatile types of kitchen knives. These knives are built to take the place of other types of kitchen knives, including the chef’s knife and slicing knife. However, even though this type of knife is considered very versatile, it tends to falter when it comes to precision.
Not every knife can cut through large raw roasts or handle tougher materials, but the boning knife can do it all. This type of kitchen knife isn’t as commonly used as a chef’s knife or utility knife, and it’s often left alone in the kitchen drawer, unused, simply because most people don’t know what it’s for.
In a professional capacity, the boning knife is commonly used by butchers. The knife’s flexible, thinner blade will allow users to expertly slice through even the thickest cuts of meat, allowing them to cut close to the bone, minimizing waste. In a home kitchen, the boning knife can be used to remove bones from fish or chicken breasts, or it can also work to easily fillet a variety of other types of meat including different cuts of steak.
The paring knife is easy to maneuver, thanks to its compact size. The paring knife actually comes in a few different styles including the bird’s beak, sheep’s foot, and spear tip. In general, the paring knife is designed for delicate, complicated tasks involving fruits and veggies. The spear tip style paring knife is perfect for slicing apples, strawberries, and pears, while the sheep’s foot paring knife is perfect for julienning. When it comes to peeling, the bird’s beak is the champ. A high-quality paring knife will have some heft to it, allowing you to control and guide the blade easily.
If you normally eat clean and love cutting up fresh fruits and veggies, then your kitchen just isn’t complete without a good Japanese paring knife.
Single Knives and Knife Sets
Instead of buying knives individually, many people often purchase their kitchen knives in sets. Mainly this is done to save money, but most home cooks often buy an entire set even though they’re after one particular knife.
If you’re searching for a new chef’s knife or utility knife, in the long run, you can actually save more if you shell out more cash per knife than if you spent more than you had to on a low-quality knife set.
If you’re in need of a serious upgrade in the kitchen, then we recommend the Kamikoto Kanpeki knife set, which comes with a chef’s knife, slicing knife, and a utility knife.
But if you just need a new chef’s knife, take a look at the Shun DM0707 classic chef’s knife. While this knife comes with a hefty price tag, it will easily outlast any lower priced chef’s knife, and it can also hold an edge longer, which means you’ll no longer have to sharpen your knife before each use. It’s also a great knife for slicing sushi rolls. Click here to learn more sushi making tips.