How to Use a Kitchen Knife

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Do you have knives in your kitchen? Do you use them appropriately? There are many types of kitchen knives each having different uses in the kitchen. If you don’t use the knives properly and for their specific purpose, they’ll become dull and unusable.

Therefore, it’s important to choose the right kitchen knife, handle it properly and know how to maintain it. If you’re starting to cook for yourself, you need to learn how to properly handle knives. Knife skills add to your general experience and comfort levels when preparing food.

Read on to find out how to use a kitchen knife like a pro.

Select the Right Kitchen Knife

One of the most important aspects of knowing how to use a kitchen knife is selecting the right one for the job. Not all knives are created equal, and each type has a specific purpose. Consider investing in some of the most popular types of kitchen knives, including a kitchen utility knife, a paring knife, a Santoku knife, and a chef’s knife.

Some kitchen knives come in sets, which can be helpful if you’re just starting out. However, it’s also important to ensure you select knives that feel good in your hand and are the right size for your needs.

Use a Chef’s Knife for Chopping, Mincing, and Dicing

A chef’s knife is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, including chopping, mincing, and dicing. When using a chef’s knife, hold the handle with your dominant hand and place your index finger on top of the blade. Use your other hand to guide the food as you chop it. 

Chef’s knives are sometimes called kitchen knives and are heavy-duty blades. Kitchen knives can be made from ceramic, steel, or polycarbonate blends in a variety of styles. Western-style kitchen knives tend to be broader and more chopping oriented, while Japanese-style kitchen knives are sleeker and typically stronger steel.

Use a Paring Knife for Peeling Fruits and Vegetables

A paring knife is a small, sharp knife that is perfect for peeling fruits and vegetables. Paring knives are extremely common kitchen implements, usually quite small and used for peeling and slicing, but cannot be used for chopping or any other major knife skills in the kitchen. To use a paring knife, hold it in your dominant hand and guide it with your other hand as you peel or slice food.

Paring Knife
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Use Bread Knife for Slicing Bread

A bread knife is a kitchen knife with a long, serrated blade used to slice bread. Bread knives have a serrated edge which helps to prevent the bread from squishing as you cut it. Serrated knives are useful for slicing bread.

Bread Knife
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A serrated knife is also excellent for carving roasted meat joints and other items, making it a great addition to the kitchen. To use a bread knife, hold the bread in one hand and the knife in the other. Slice through the bread using a sawing motion.

Use Utility Knife for Slicing Fruits and Vegetables

A utility knife is a kitchen knife with a medium-sized blade used to slice fruits and vegetables. The utility knife is smaller than a chef’s knife but larger than a paring knife. To use a utility knife, hold the fruit or vegetable in one hand and the knife in the other. Slice through the food using a sawing motion.

Utility Knife
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Select Knives With Good Weight and Balance

When choosing a kitchen knife, selecting one with good weight and balance is important. The weight of the knife should be evenly distributed from the handle to the tip of the blade. The knife should feel comfortable in your hand and not too heavy or too light. Check by trying to balance the knife on your finger, just at the top of the handle. It should feel dense in your hand, so you can let the knife do the work for you.

Learn to Hold the Knife Correctly

Cutting with a kitchen knife is much like cutting with any other type of knife. The most important thing is to hold the knife correctly. You should grip the handle of the knife firmly in your hand and hold it close to the blade. This will give you more control over the knife and help you to avoid accidents.

When you pick up a kitchen knife, your index finger should be on the outside of the blade, and your other three fingers should be on the inside. The blade should be resting against your first knuckle. This is called the pinch grip, and it is the most common way to hold a kitchen knife.

If you are holding the knife correctly, then the cutting edge of the blade should be facing away from your fingers. You should also make sure that your thumb is not in the way of the blade.

Learn to Chop Properly

One of the most important things to learn when using a kitchen knife is how to chop properly. While there are a few different styles of chopping food, there are a few guidelines that you can easily follow. When chopping, you should hold the food item that you are cutting in one hand and the knife in the other. The blade should be pointing downwards, and you should use a chopping motion to cut through the food.

If you are chopping vegetables, then you should use a slicing motion instead of a chopping motion. This will help to ensure that the vegetables are cut evenly.

Learn to Guide the Food Properly 

One of the most important things to learn when using a kitchen knife is how to guide the food properly. This means that you should not try to chop the food in one swift motion. Instead, you should use a back and forth chopping motion. This will help to ensure that the food is chopped evenly.

Use the Correct Cutting Board

Another important tip for using a kitchen knife is to make sure that you are using the correct cutting board. This means that you should use a cutting board that is made out of a material that will not dull your knife. You should also make sure that the cutting board is large enough so that you can comfortably chop the food.

A cutting board is an essential tool in the kitchen, and it’s important to choose one that will protect your knives. Avoid using glass or ceramic cutting boards, as they can dull your knives. Instead, opt for a wooden or plastic cutting board. If you’re using a wooden cutting board, make sure to oil it regularly to prevent it from drying out and cracking.

Learn to Top and Tail

Top and tailing is an important skill to learn when using a kitchen knife. This means cutting the top and bottom off of fruits and vegetables. This ensures that the food will cook evenly and prevents it from drying out.

When chopping vegetables, always use a sharp knife. A dull knife will crush the vegetables instead of slicing them cleanly. This not only makes it harder to chop the vegetables, but it can also be dangerous.

If you’re using a knife to cut meat, make sure that the blade is sharp and that you’re using a cutting board that won’t slip. Always cut away from your body and keep your fingers away from the blade.

Clean Your Knives With Dish Soap and Warm Water After Use

It’s important to clean your knives after each use. Dish soap and warm water will remove any food particles that may be stuck to the blade. The longer a knife remains wet and dirty, the more blade and quality of steel deteriorates. It’s important to keep it clean and dry between uses. 

Wash your knives using hot soapy water. Don’t toss your big kitchen knife into the bottom of a wash basin. Avoid washing your kitchen knives in a dishwasher, especially if the middle handle is made of wood or other material that can become waterlogged. Once you’re finished cleaning, dry the knife with a clean towel. This will help prevent rust and corrosion.

Hone Your Blades Regularly

Over time, even the best kitchen knives will lose their edge. Regular honing with a steel or diamond rod will help keep the blades sharp and performing their best. A honing rod is not the same as a sharpening stone. Sharpening stones are used to remove metal from the blade to create a new edge. Honing rods don’t remove any metal but rather realign the microscopic teeth on the blade so that they’re once again sharp.

How often you need to hone your knives will depend on how often you use them and what you use them for. A good rule of thumb is to hone your knives every time you use them. If you notice that your knife is starting to feel dull or isn’t performing as well as it used to, it’s time to give it a quick hone.

To use a honing rod, start by finding the angle you need to hold the rod at. This will vary depending on the type of knife you’re using but is typically between 20 and 30 degrees.

Sharpen Your Knives Once a Year (or as Needed)

Sharpening your knives is a bit different than honing them. Where honing realigns the microscopic teeth on the blade, sharpening actually removes metal from the blade to create a new, sharp edge. A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Therefore, you need to sharpen your knife on a whetstone at an angle of between 20 and 23 degrees.

While you don’t need to sharpen your knives as often as you hone them, it’s still important to do it on a regular basis. Depending on how often you use your knives, you’ll likely need to sharpen them once or twice a year. Note that dull knives are still sharp enough to cut your finger, making them a lot more dangerous.

FAQs on How to Use Kitchen Knives

What is the proper way to handle a kitchen knife?

The proper way to handle a knife is to hold it as if you’re going to shake hands with the handle. Your index finger should be on the outside of the blade, on the flat side, and your other three fingers should be gripping the inside of the blade. Your thumb should be on the back of the blade, resting against your index finger.

What is the best way to cut with a kitchen knife?

When cutting with a kitchen knife, it’s important to use a slicing motion rather than a chopping motion. This will help you avoid damaging the blade, and it will also help you get a cleaner cut. To slice, hold the food item in one hand and the knife in the other. Place your index finger on the outside of the blade, and then use your other fingers to grip the food item. Slowly push the blade through the food using a sawing motion.

Final Thought on How to Use Kitchen Knives

Kitchen knives are a very important aspect of every home. Using kitchen knives is an important skill, whether you’re a professional chef or just someone who likes to cook at home. With a little practice, you’ll be able to use your knives like a pro in no time.


Heather Hardy

Heather Hardy

Heather is a professional writer with a background in real estate and home renovation. She enjoys research and contributing to DIY publications and loves to review home products and appliances.

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