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Types of Kitchen Knives and Their Uses

In my post on How to Choose the Best Kitchen Knife, I mentioned that it’s important to own a basic set of knives even if you don’t cook frequently or have a small kitchen. I have a medium sized kitchen and I consider it to be the second most important space after my bedroom.

I started my culinary adventure by buying an inexpensive, basic set of knives (See what knife sets I recommend: Best Stainless Steel Knife Block Set and Best Value for Money Knife Set). Then, I moved on to buy specialist knives as I explore French, Eastern, and Chinese cuisines.

Knife should be a chef’s (or in my case, kitchen-loving homemaker’s) best friend. In this blog post, I’ll share a little bit more on types of kitchen knives and their uses. I’ll focus on 5 most common, often used knives (in order of importance). These are the knives you should readily own. If you don’t, make a note and get them after reading this!

 

Chef’s Knife

A chef’s knife (usually 15-30cm) is a multipurpose knife designed to work with vegetables and meat. It can do different tasks like mince, slice, and chop. You can improve the functionality of this knife by giving it different sharpening along the blade. Most people (including me) use the tip for mincing (which requires very sharp edges) while the middle part of the blade is sharpened for general chop-slice-cut tasks. The last part of the blade (nearest to handle) is given a thick edge for tougher cutting/chopping tasks.

The two most common blade versions are French and German. The French design is triangular, with a long, straight section of blade. This is perfect for slicing food because the knife is meant to be pulled towards you. On the other hand, the German version of chef’s knife has an upward curve design toward tip of the blade. This lets you rock the knife in an “up-down” motion, using a lot of the middle and inner part of blade.

Like what I’ve mentioned in How to Choose the Best Kitchen Knife, you should choose a knife that feels comfortable in your hands. This goes the same for chef’s knife.

Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife 40520, 47520, 45520 Frustration Free Packaging
4986 Reviews
Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife 40520, 47520, 45520 Frustration Free Packaging
  • Multipurpose chef's knife designed for chopping, mincing, slicing, and dicing with razor sharp, laser-tested, tapered knife edge is ground to form an exacting angle, to hold a sharp edge longer and ensure maximum cutting performance and durability
  • Ergonomically designed, non-slip Fibrox Pro handle provides a sure grip and easy handling even when wet, making each knife safer and more efficient
  • "Highly Recommended" for over 20 years by a leading gourmet consumer magazine that features unbiased ratings and reviews of cookware and kitchen equipment
  • Expertly crafted in Switzerland since 1884; designed for professionals who use knives all day, every day; lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship
  • Swiss item #: 5.2063.20 is imprinted on the blade. This is the same exact knife as 40520, 47520, 45520, and 47520.US2. The only difference is how the knife is packaged.

Last update on 2017-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Paring Knife

Regarded as a smaller version of chef’s knife, this knife has a plain edge blade and is perfect for smaller tasks like cutting garnishes. I use it frequently to peel vegetables and fruits and it’s great for trimming meat. It measures from 6-10cm.

- $2.00
Victorinox 4 Inch Swiss Classic Paring Knife, Spear Point
1374 Reviews
Victorinox 4 Inch Swiss Classic Paring Knife, Spear Point
  • Multipurpose straight edge paring knife designed for garnishing, mincing, peeling, slicing and dicing with razor sharp, laser-tested, tapered knife edge, which is ground to form an exacting angle to hold a sharp edge longer and ensure maximum cutting performance and durability
  • The ergonomically designed Swiss Classic handle is inspired by our professional Fibrox Pro line and provides a sure grip and easy handling, even when wet
  • Featuring a short blade for enhanced accuracy and precision, this paring knife is optimally built for jobs where control is essential
  • Expertly crafted in Switzerland since 1884; designed for professionals who use knives all day, every day; lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship
  • Perfect for more intricate jobs such as peeling fruits and vegtables or deveining shrimp but also versatile enough for bigger jobs like chopping and slicing

Last update on 2017-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bread/Serrated Knife

Bread knives are designed to be long and serrated to cut through food with hard/soft makeup like bread. They usually measure from 15-25cm. another version of the bread knife would be the offset serrated knife which allows you to cut all the way through food without touching the board. This useful, unique design makes the offset serrated knife quite popular with chefs.

- $32.32
Victorinox Swiss Army 10.25 Inch Fibrox Pro Curved Bread Knife with Serrated Edge
1092 Reviews
Victorinox Swiss Army 10.25 Inch Fibrox Pro Curved Bread Knife with Serrated Edge
  • Serrated edge allows you to easily slice through everything from crispy breads and sandwiches, to melons and delicate fruits and vegetables without squashing tender interiors
  • Curved blade allows you to comfortably slice with a rocking motion and offers plenty of knuckle clearance for ease of cutting
  • "Recommended" by a leading gourmet consumer magazine that features unbiased ratings and reviews of cookware and kitchen equipment
  • Expertly crafted in Switzerland since 1884; designed for professionals who use knives all day, every day; lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship
  • Please NOTE that this item ships with the international item number 5.2933.26 on the blade and not 40547, 45547, 47547.US2, or 47547 but is the same 10.25" Fibrox Pro Bread Knife

Last update on 2017-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Utility Knife

A utility knife is of medium length (10-18cm) and can be used to do many different cutting tasks. As the name suggests, it is suitable for varied uses though it may be too thin/short for heavy-duty tasks. You can either get a plain-edge or serrated blade. They can be used to prepare ingredients for sandwiches.

- $1.00
Mercer Culinary Genesis 5-Inch Forged Utility Knife
807 Reviews
Mercer Culinary Genesis 5-Inch Forged Utility Knife
  • Ergonomic Santoprene handle offers superior comfort and a non-slip grip, even with wet hands. Will not break down from exposure to kitchen oils and is able to withstand hot and cold temperatures.
  • Bolster strengthens the knife, adds durability, and provides excellent balance for better handling when cutting food. Available in short bolster.
  • High-carbon, no-stain German cutlery steel resists rust, corrosion, and discoloration. Precision forged construction for better strength and durability.
  • Taper-ground edge allows for added stability, easy honing, long lasting sharpness, and increased efficiency when cutting and chopping.
  • Tang provides excellent balance

Last update on 2017-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Boning Knife

Perfect for bone removal, it is used to separate meat from bones. This is a knife that you can add to your collection and it usually comes in knife sets. It’s 5-6 inches in length and I use the curved version (there is also a straight version of boning knife).

Victorinox Swiss Army 6 Inch Fibrox Pro Boning Knife with Flexible Blade
1180 Reviews
Victorinox Swiss Army 6 Inch Fibrox Pro Boning Knife with Flexible Blade
  • With a thin blade and enhanced flexibility, this knife offers superior control using its "S" shaped edge that's perfect for separating meat, poultry, or fish from the bone
  • The National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) approved Fibrox Pro handle is designed to minimize wrist tension and provide superior grip while the high-carbon stainless steel blade is conically ground to form an exacting angle to maximize sharpness
  • "Highly Recommended" by a leading gourmet consumer magazine that features unbiased ratings and reviews of cookware and kitchen equipment
  • Expertly crafted in Switzerland since 1884; designed for professionals who use knives all day, every day; lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship
  • Please NOTE that this item ships with the International item number 5.6413.15 on the blade and not 47513, 47513.US2, or 40513, but is the same 6" Fibrox Pro Boning Knife with Flexible Blade

Last update on 2017-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When I first started cooking, I was fascinated that each knife is designed for a special task. What I’ve mentioned here are basic explanations on 5 most popular types of knives. I’d like to tell you more about specialty knives but maybe I’ll leave that to another post. I hope you enjoyed reading about the different types of knives!

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