The Types of Must-Have Kitchen Knives and Their Uses
There are probably more than a dozen different kinds of kitchen knives, some versatile, others dedicated for one specific use. Here are some Must-Have Blades in Your Kitchen.
The chef’s knife also called a cook’s knife, this is the most important blade in your kitchen.
The chef’s knife typically has a broad blade tapering upward to a point, allowing it to rock back and forth for fast mincing. It can be anywhere between 6 and 12 inches long— the size is often chosen with consideration to how big the cook’s hands are.
A chef’s knife can be forged or stamped, although the best kitchen knives are usually forged. Because it has to endure frequent use, it usually comes with a full tang— the bottom part of its blade extends to the whole length and width of the knife handle. This ensures better stability and durability than a partial tang.
The chef’s knife can be used for almost every cutting task in the kitchen, from cutting chicken to chopping carrots. That is why it is the must-have item in every kitchen knife set collection. Check out Cookidea’s Chef knife collections.
The Santoku knife is a Japanese version of the Western-style chef’s knife. It’s slightly shorter and thinner, and is used in place of the chef’s knife by some cooks, especially those who prefer a smaller, lighter blade.
Santoku means “three virtues”, which are slicing, dicing, and mincing. This knife is an all-rounder and can do almost everything a typical chef’s knife can.
Due to a flat blade, it doesn’t rock on the cutting board. This makes it less suited for when you want to mince herbs, but a better choice for skinny slices of veggies.
The Santoku is sometimes made with a hollow edge. The dimples along the blade allow it to cut through meat, fish, and other soft and tough materials without the food sticking to it and reducing the speed and the precision of the cut. Shop our santoku knife here.
Measuring between 4 and 7 inches in length, the utility knife is usually used for cutting food that is too small for a chef’s knife.
It’s not great for chopping or slicing large items, but the narrow blade and small tip allows it to handle tasks such as thinner slicing, trimming, and filleting even better than a chef’s knife.
Though shears are not technically a type of knives, they can be used in place of a knife. Kitchen shears are a pair of scissors with thick and strong blades to handle various food materials. They are useful for snipping herbs, sectioning chicken, preparing shrimp, octopus, and many other cutting tasks. For many home cooks, they are a favorite for slicing pizza.
Some shears designed specifically for fast cutting of green onion or other herbs may have more than one blade. However, the blades on those shears are usually thin and weak. They also take more effort to sharpen than ordinary shears, which themselves are already picky about what type of knife sharpeners work on them.
Bread knives are used for cutting bread, cakes, and sometimes meat, poultry, and seafood. They are designed in a way that allows you to saw through the bread without pushing down or squishing it.
Made to cut large chunks of food, the bread knife belongs to the longer spectrum of kitchen knives. It can be between 7 and 10 inches long. Its blade is narrow and straight (i.e. having no belly), and is always serrated, with big “teeth” along it.