Whether you’re a professional chef or just a parent cooking for your family, if you’re serious about cooking, it’s important to have a good range of knives. There are many different kinds of knives out there that specialize in different ways. Here, we’ll show you the essential knives that you should have in your kitchen, as well as some more specialized ones. Let’s get started!
The Chef’s Knife is the main knife in your kitchen. It has a standard knife shape with the blade curving up towards the end, making it easier to cut by rocking the blade back and forth against the board. This knife is very versatile, being able to take almost any task in the kitchen and does a decent job of cutting just about any type of ingredient. Some of the downsides to using a chef knife can be that it dulls out faster than specialized knives and requires frequent sharpening.
Another must-have in your kitchen toolset is the utility knife. This knife is significantly smaller than the average knife and has a thinner blade. It’s used mainly for cutting individual fruits and vegetables. Compared to a chef’s knife, the utility knife is much sharper, making it a great tool for cutting through hard fruit skins, dicing through cabbage, and handing pretty much any vegetable preparation.
The Santoku Knife is the Japanese version of the Chef’s Knife and it was made to be good at three tasks: slicing, mincing, and dicing. It has a similar appearance, but is shorter and has a flat, non-curved blade. The blade is also lighter which makes it easier to cut through with more precision.
Another important part of your kitchen toolset is the kitchen shears. The kitchen shears differ from normal scissors by being much lighter and easier to make rapid cuts. The blade is lightweight and the handle is usually rubber for added grip. However, due to being lightweight, the blade is much weaker and harder to sharpen than normal scissors.
The paring knife is one of the most versatile knives in your kitchen. The paring knife is usually very short, about 3-5 inches, and one of its features is the pointed tip. With this shape, the paring knife is used for cutting vegetables, slicing cheese, and trimming excess fat from meats.
The knives mentioned above are great for multiple uses. However, if you find yourself preparing a type of ingredient often or are interested in improving certain cuts, then having a specialized knife can help in many ways. These knives are made for much more specific tasks and can make a tremendous difference in your cooking.
If you’re interested in making your own sushi at home, you definitely need the Yanagiba. This knife is specifically made for cutting raw fish in one motion. The Yanagiba knife ranges between 7 to 12 inches and the blade is flat on one side, for a sharper angle and to prevent food from sticking on. The best Yanagiba knives are incredibly sharp and are usually custom made from Japan in order to obtain the level of sharpness.
The boning knife is like a paring knife but made for meat. It’s short and has a pointed tip just like the paring knife, but has a narrower curve to make it easier to cut through tough ingredients. It’s also thicker and made with stronger material. The boning knife was designed to remove meat from bones and to make detailed cuts on raw meat.
If you find yourself preparing big chunks of meat, you’ll need to have a cleaver in your kitchen. Cleavers are easily the biggest knife in your kitchen and are made for heavy-duty meat chops. It has a wide blade for extra support when cutting through thick things like bone. With the weight and durability, it’s also great for cutting up vegetables and crushing garlic.
Most loaves of bread are sold pre-cut, but some are left whole to preserve the quality. If you’re buying whole loaf bread or baking it yourself, you’ll need a bread knife to prepare it. Using an ordinary knife won’t do since it has a hard time cutting the loaf smoothly from start to finish. The bread knife is long and has teeth to rip through the soft fibers with ease and make a clean cut.