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.
The 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!
5 Different Types of Kitchen Knives
1. 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 a chef’s knife. Here’s what I’d recommend: Best Chef’s Knife.
2. 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 6-10cm. Maybe you’d like to check out my review of Best Paring Knife.
3. 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. Here’s my review on Best Bread Knife.
4. 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.
5. 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). Learn more about the Best Boning Knife in my review.
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!