This guide to kitchen knife types is dedicated to all amateur cooks who want to get a closer look at the tools they usually use to prepare their delicacies. Or maybe you just bought a set of knives and realized that you don’t know exactly what the knives are for a little peculiar shape.
In any case, understanding how to choose and use the different tools and knowing the types of knife blades can open up a completely new world for you. So take one of your tools and… Start reading!
Basic kitchen knives
This section presents all the most common and frequently used types of knives, those that no-cook, amateur or professional, can do without. For all types of knives, you will find a description of the wide variety of tasks they must perform each day in all dishes.
Remember, however, that to always get the most out of your set, it is not enough to choose high-quality products, but it is necessary to know how to keep them at maximum efficiency with proper care. And… Be careful not to cut yourself!
Also known as the chef’s knife, it has a long and wide blade with a straight edge. It is wider at the base and narrows to the finely amitted tip.
What’s the use of a chef’s knife?
It is an excellent versatile tool and proves to be one of the most versatile knives, perfect for slicing every day. Its curved blade allows you to swing it back and forth on a cutting board, making it the ideal tool to cut many vegetables quickly.
The large area of its base allows this knife to withstand higher pressure during harder work, useful for thicker or harder foods, such as potatoes and onions.
Its shape is similar to that of a chef’s knife, but it is smaller and thinner. Some multifunction knives also have a sharp tip that gradually shrinks to allow for more complex work.
What is the use of a multifunction knife?
It turns out to be the perfect tool for chopping small foods and vegetables, such as shallots. It shares many qualities of a chef’s knife but can be a useful tool when working with smaller foods, as it allows you to do a more accurate cutting job.
So when your cook’s knife is a little too big for a certain task, it is recommended to use a tool of this type, which you can also find with a carbon steel blade.
Its blade is short, thin, regular in size and with a sharp tip. It tends to be light, which makes it easier to use during precision work.
What’s the use of a kitchen knife?
The kitchen knife is small but effective and is used to cut, slice and mince fruits and vegetables, but it can also be used for many other cooking tasks.
Despite its small size, it can easily tackle the cutting tasks of harder foods such as potatoes. Simultaneously, it is practical enough to perform delicate tasks such as peeling, cutting and removing seeds from fruits and vegetables.
It is immediately noticed for its long, regular-sized blade, a sharp, serrated blade. This type of knife is ideal for cutting softer foods.
What’s the use of a bread knife?
The long, sharp, serrated edge of a bread knife makes it the perfect tool to cut all kinds of different pieces of bread, including crispy bread, chopsticks, bagels and sandwiches. This is because the grooved edge allows the head to cut softer textures without crushing or distorting them.
Bread knives can also be used to slice cakes with a soft and fluffy texture, as they can cut them without the sponge cake losing air or damaging the shape. If you don’t have a cake spatula, you can use this tool to even out your cakes’ surface before putting them in the oven.
The best meat knives
From huge beef to delicate lamb joints, from pork to poultry, meat often requires careful preparation using specialized tools. Therefore, every meat lover should know how to use a boning knife or cleaver. Below are the different types of meat knives, to be used also depending on the dishes you want to prepare.
Knife to burn
It is a long, thin and tapered knife with a sharp tip. Its reduced width allows it to produce less resistance by cutting food, allowing you to create cleaner, more even slices.
What’s the use of a cutting knife?
When it comes to serving meats such as poultry, pork, lamb or beef, it’s the best tool to do the job, as it allows you to create thin, clean slices of equal size.
It can also be used to cut large fruits and vegetables, such as melons or pumpkins. The long, thin knife blade is also ideal for slicing cakes regularly.
Butcher’s cup or knife
The cleavers, also called butcher knives, have a flat rectangular blade. They are available in various sizes, depending on the task they are called upon to perform. They are one of the largest and heaviest knives and sometimes have a hole near the back of the blade to hang when not in use.
What’s the use of a cleaver?
This utensil is used to chop raw meat as part of the slaughter process or divide the cut into smaller portions before cooking. Its large and heavy size allows you to cut the bone, making it one of the best knives for preparing raw meat.
The large, flat and heavy surface of the cleavers can also be useful for crushing garlic cloves or ginger on a cutting board.
A very sharp edge characterises its fine bladelly tapered upwards to form a sharp tip. It is quite short (usually about 15 centimetres) and is usually built rigidly, although more flexible blades can be found for delicate pieces of meat.
What’s the use of a deboning knife?
The sharp tip and thin blade make it ideal for cutting the bone without damaging the meat around. And thanks to the sturdy and rigid blade, it can also be used to cut cartilage.
If you need to bone pork or beef, it is best to use a slightly more robust knife, while a more flexible blade is suitable for poultry. Deboned knives are designed to be lightweight and handy, so you can count on them if you want a practical and easy-to-use tool.
The best fish knives
A fish knife can be used to thread, flake and remove bones. Whether you want to slice and dice your sushi and sashimi or make a roasted trout, you can easily find different types of fish knives on the market that will facilitate the process.
It is a long and thin knife with a flexible blade. It has a very sharp edge and a finely pointed tip that allows you to pierce the skin and remove the edges’ delicate work. Similar to a boning knife, it has a thinner and more flexible blade.
What’s the use of a thread knife?
The thin, flexible blade of the threading knife is perfect for removing the bones without damaging the fish’s delicate flesh.
They differ from other knives in that they are often used to cut food horizontally rather than vertically: this allows the chefs to cut the spine of the whole fish and create perfect fillets. The filleting knives are perfect for all kinds of work involving fish, so they are perfect for trying many new recipes.
Salmon knives have a very long and flexible blade with a double edge and are designed to thread the larger fish. They make it easy to remove the skin, and many models also have recesses on the blade’s side.
What’s a salmon knife for?
It is used to slice, thread and remove the skin of large fish, such as salmon. It is thin enough to be slid between the skin and meat without damaging the delicate fish, allowing the chef to create clean and precise fillets. Thanks to these features, it minimizes waste.
Many salmon knives also have dimples or indentations along the blade’s surface, which reduces resistance when cutting and helps prevent raw fish from sticking to the metal.
Santoku knives – originally called santoku both knives, meaning “three uses” – are perfect for cutting, cutting, and chopping precision. Well known in their native Japan, santoku knives have long, slightly tapered blades with a drop-off point to allow for more precise and complex cutting work.
What’s the use of a santoku knife?
The sharp, straight edges and dripping tips of santoku knives make it an effective tool for cutting fish. They are instrumental when making sushi or other raw fish types, as dimples on the blade’s flat side help prevent delicate objects from sticking to the metal. The large and wide blade can also be used to collect and transport chopped food after cutting.
Their usefulness is not limited only to fish, as they are also effective in slicing vegetables. They are truly versatile that represent an effective alternative to a chef or multifunction knives.
The best vegetable knives
Although many chefs use a chef’s knife or multifunction to prepare vegetables, if you like to slice and prepare vegetable dishes, it may be worth investing in specially designed knives.
These tools are carefully designed to help you cut many vegetables quickly, easily and safely. They can also help you chop and dice your favourite vegetables more finely and present them creatively.
Sometimes called Japanese vegetable knives, nakiri knives look like smaller, thinner versions of a meat cleaver. They have a wide, rectangular shape and almost always have a hollow edge, which is very sharp.
What’s the use of a nakiri knife?
These tools are perfect for chopping vegetables. Thanks to their square shape and straight edge, you can use them to cut on the cutting board without having to rotate the blade back and forth: you’ll have to lower the blade with a single cutting motion. This makes nakiri knives one of the best tools for large vegetables that are often difficult to cut, such as sweet potatoes or squash.
The deep, flat blade makes it an excellent choice for shredding cabbage or lettuce. The sharp edge can create skinny and regular slices, so it is perfect for decorating your dishes with vegetables.
Lightweight and handy, it has a rounded blade, usually about 15 cm long, with a sharp edge.
What’s a tomato knife for?
Tomato knives are designed to cut and slice tomatoes, which require a specialized cutting tool because of their delicate skin and soft, fleshy flesh. The toothed edge cuts the skin cleanly without crushing the soft interior, allowing the chef to create sharp, even slices or segments. Many tools have plastic or textured rubber handle to make them easier to grip when cutting.
Its blade is short, rigid and slightly curved. It usually has a straight edge and extremely sharp.
What’s the use of a peeling knife?
It is mainly used to peel vegetables, potatoes and fruits, and is also sharp enough to cut hard skins easily. It has a rigid blade and a sturdy, ergonomic handle, which help prevent the knife from slipping during peeling work.
The best table knives
This section’s tools are all designed to make it easier to cut food during lunch and dinner. So if you’re a steak lover or want to make the most of a seafood platter, these tools are a must in your cutlery drawer.
This is the standard type of knife you can use every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is usually built of stainless steel and is often designed with a slightly toothed edge to facilitate the cutting of harder food.
It has a curved edge and a sharp tip. This allows the diner to easily cut cooked meat of a certain texture, such as a steak. It is also effective for cutting burgers and other meat-based foods.
Its blade is wide and flat, while the edge is sharp and curved: this shape makes it easier to remove the skin from the cooked fish. There is often a sharp tip to help remove the bones.
Designed with a soft, bevelled edge, it has a wide blade that allows you to spread the butter without scratching the crumbs or accidentally cutting the bread. It’s perfect for buttering scones, muffins or sandwiches, so it’s a must for any afternoon tea lover.
Where to buy kitchen knives?
A cute question we could answer … Anywhere! From the specialized cutlery to the homewares shop, there are really many places where you can buy kitchen knives from the local supermarket to the large shopping mall.
In any case, however, one must settle for a rather limited choice. So why not take a look at the online sales proposal. Sites like Amazon Knifepark and Rigosanmarino offer an unlimited range!
What are the most common kitchen knives?
There are only three essential knives that cannot be missed in the basic equipment: a chef’s knife, a versatile knife and a serrated knife.
What is the most versatile kitchen knife?
The chef’s knife is, without a doubt, the most used and most versatile tool. You can use it to slice, chop or bone small pieces of meat. On the market, it is also found with a high carbon steel blade.
What are the best brands of knives?
You can find many good Italian brands, but not only. In the overall offer, Sanelli, Victorinox, Wusthof, Zwilling, Global, Aicok, Fiskars stand out, to name a few.
What is the difference between a santoku knife and a chef’s knife?
A santoku knife is a type of chef’s knife, but it differs from traditional European-style knives for its shape and style. Santoku knives are generally more suited to precision cutting, where excellent cuts are needed.
Most kitchen cutting jobs can be done with a good chef’s knife. That said, a blade designed specifically for a specific purpose can make it easier and more accurate to cut.
Good knives will encourage you to prepare your dishes with confidence and creativity. Knowing the most popular types of kitchen knives and their specific application areas can help you understand what to include and avoid adding to your personal set.