A knife is a cook's best friend and, like any good friend, there are many different types to choose from. While some might think that any old knife can get the job done, having the right tool for the job at hand makes all the difference in the world and can make cooking a much more enjoyable experience.
With many different types of kitchen knives available on the market, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for you. Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular types of kitchen knives and their uses:
A chef's knife is a versatile all-purpose knife that can be used for a variety of tasks, including chopping, slicing, and mincing. These magic chef knives typically have a wide blade and a rounded tip, making it ideal for a variety of different chopping techniques. Among the other types of knives, the chef's knife is the jack of all trades.
Chef knives are always available in nearly every commercial kitchen. Chef knives have a wide blade that tapers to a point. In addition, chef knives also come in several different sizes, although the most popular sizes are between 8-12 inches. Everyone, from amateur cooks to master chefs, uses a chef's knife for complex functions such as mincing, chopping, and slicing.
A paring knife is a small, sharp knife that is primarily used for peeling and slicing fruits and vegetables. This type of knife typically has a short, curved blade that makes it easy to maneuver around small fruit and vegetable pieces. Paring knives are also often used for other tasks such as removing seeds from fruits, deveining shrimp, and trimming meats.
Paring knives have blades that range between 2 1/4 and 4 1/2, and there are a number of different styles of paring knives. Paring knives are also an inexpensive addition to your selection of kitchen knives and come in very handy when you don't want to break out a full cutting board with your chef's knife.
A boning knife is a long, slender knife that is designed for removing the bones from poultry, fish, and meat. This type of knife typically has a sharp, pointed tip that allows the user to easily pierce through flesh and get right down to the bone.
Boning knives have blades that range between 5 and 7 inches long, making them a bit longer than paring knives but still shorter than chef's knives. These knives are a bit more expensive than paring knives, but they are worth the investment if you do a lot of cooking with poultry, fish, or meat.
A Santoku knife is a Japanese-style chef's knife that is becoming increasingly popular in Western kitchens. Santoku knives are similar to chef's knives in terms of their size and shape, but they have a few key differences.
Santoku knives have a much thinner blade than chef's knives, making them ideal for slicing and dicing vegetables. They also have a shorter bolster (the part of the blade where it meets the handle), making it easier to sharpen.
Finally, Santoku knives often have a Granton edge, which is a series of small scallops on the blade that prevent food from sticking to it. There's still much more you can expect from santoku knives as well as Japanese knives. You can use it for just anything you would use your chef's knife since they're great all-purpose knives.
A carving knife is a long, thin knife that is used to carve meat off the bone. It has a sharp point and a relatively straight edge. Sometimes called a slicing knife, a carving knife is one of the longest kitchen knives in the kitchen.
This type of knife is often used in conjunction with a fork, as the fork can be used to hold the meat in place while the carving knife slides through it. Carving knives are also great for slicing vegetables, as their long, thin blades can make precise cuts. If you're looking for the best knife for serving your meat, pork, beef, or lamb, a carving knife is a great option.
Cleaver or Butcher Knife
Cleavers, also known as butcher knives, have a flat, rectangular-shaped blade. Cleavers or butcher knives come in various sizes depending on the size of the animal you're butchering. While a smaller cleaver can be used for chickens, a larger one is better suited for larger animals such as pigs or cows.
Cleavers are also great for cutting through bone, as their large blades can easily handle the tough task. If you do a lot of home cooking and entertaining, a butcher knife is a great option to have on hand.
Utility knives have a thinner, more versatile blade than either a chef's knife or a carving knife. They can be used for a variety of tasks in the kitchen, such as slicing fruits and vegetables, cutting meat, or even opening packages.
While utility knives are not as specialized as other types of kitchen knives, they are still an important tool to have in your kitchen. Utility knives are smaller than chef's knives but are not as petite as paring knives. A serrated utility knife also comes in handy for slicing sandwiches.
Kitchen shears are a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, such as cutting meat, poultry, and seafood. Kitchen shears can also be used to snip herbs, trim vegetables, or open packages. Kitchen shears usually have two blades that are joined at the handles. You can also use kitchen shears to cut canned and jarred goods.
A boning knife is a sharp, slender knife that's used to remove the bones from meat and poultry. Boning knives are available in different sizes, so you can choose one that's appropriate for the task at hand. A 5-inch boning knife is suitable for smaller jobs, such as removing the skin from chicken breasts, while a 6-inch or 7-inch knife is better for larger tasks, such as carving a turkey.
A filet knife is a long, thin knife that's used to remove the bones from fish. Filet knives are available in different sizes, so you can choose one that's appropriate for the task at hand. A 6-inch filet knife is suitable for smaller jobs, such as removing the bones from a trout, while an 8-inch or 10-inch knife is better for larger tasks, such as removing the bones from a salmon. Filet knife also features flexible blades, making them capable of sliding under the skin and cleanly separating it from the fish's flesh.
A bread knife has a serrated edge that's designed to slice through bread without crushing it. Bread knives are available in different sizes, so you can choose one that's appropriate for the loaf of bread you're slicing. Measuring between 6 and 10 inches long, the bread knife's serrated edge makes it perfect for slicing bread without crushing it.
There are a few different types of cheese knives, each designed for a specific type of cheese. A hard cheese knife has a thick blade that's able to slice through even the hardest of cheeses. A soft cheese knife has a thinner blade that's better suited for slicing softer cheeses. And finally, a crumbly cheese knife has a serrated blade that's perfect for slicing crumbly cheeses.
A steak knife is a sharp, serrated knife that's specifically designed for cutting meat. Steak knives typically have a 4- to 6-inch blade and are usually made from stainless steel. Steak knives are less for cooking and more for eating. They're sturdy and sharp so that you can enjoy your steak without having to worry about the knife slipping or breaking.
Every good knife collection needs a knife sharpener, and there are a few different types to choose from. A handheld sharpener is the most basic type, and it's what most people think of when they think of a knife sharpener. A handheld sharpener has two abrasive surfaces – one coarse and one fine – that you run your knife through to sharpen it.
The blade edge is held at an angle, then drawn down the stone until it becomes sharper. This gives a home cook more control over the sharpening process, and more knives can be sharpened like a chef's knife, meat cleaver, paring knife, and kitchen shears.
A peeling knife has a slightly curved blade that is used to remove the skin from fruits and vegetables. The curved blade lets you get close to the fruit or vegetable without actually touching it, so you can peel it without taking off any of the edible flesh. Peeling knives also have a rigid blade and sturdy, ergonomic handles, which help prevent the knife from slipping out of your hand while you're peeling.
Nakiri knives are Japanese-style vegetable knives that have rectangular blades. The blade is designed for chopping vegetables quickly and easily, without having to worry about the knife slipping or missing your target. Nakiri knives also have a blunt tip, which makes them safe to use around delicate fruits and vegetables.
Forged vs. Stamped Knives
When it comes to kitchen knives, there are two main types of construction: forged and stamped.
Forged knives are made from a single piece of steel that is heated and then shaped into the blade. Forged knives are usually heavier and thicker than stamped knives, and they have a more seamless construction. Because of this, forged knives tend to be more durable and less likely to break or chip.
Stamped knives are made from a single piece of steel that is heated and then stamped into shape. Stamped knives are usually lighter and thinner than forged knives, and they have a more modular construction. Because of this, stamped knives are less durable and more likely to break or chip.
FAQs on the Types of Kitchen Knives
What is the big kitchen knife called?
The cleaver is the big knife often seen in Chinese cuisine. It is used to hack through bone and thick cuts of meat.
What is the small kitchen knife called?
The paring knife is a small knife often used for peeling and other delicate tasks.
Final Thoughts on the Types of Kitchen Knives
There's no home without a kitchen, and there's no kitchen that doesn't need a good set of knives. With so many popular types of kitchen knives available, it's important to choose the right ones for your needs. Consider the material, the blade shape, the handle, and the price when deciding. And don't forget to keep them sharp.