Whether you’re preparing a turkey dinner for the family or slicing up some strawberries, knowing which knife to use for every occasion is crucial to mastering your triumph in the kitchen.
Getting equipped with the essential kitchen knives is key to success in your preparation, there are many types of knives available on the market but if you’re ever in the kitchen, having doubts, thinking, “What knives do I need?” then this article is just what you need to read today.
4 Kitchen Knives That’ll Take Your Cooking To The Next Level
If you’re wanting to really master your skills and take your cooking to the next level, it all starts with having the right tool. It’s also important to know how to care for your kitchen knives, as this will ensure that they last.
In the following post, we have listed 4 essential kitchen knives that should be in every kitchen knife set.
What knives do chefs use? Well, this is the answer. Of all the must have knives this is the one you really must have in your kitchen, and it is the chef knife.
A classic, this is the essential starting point for all your cooking needs. Coming in at 8-10 inches, it may seem intimidating at first, but it is the ultimate tool for your cooking needs.
The long edge adds versatility, making it easy to go from mincing a clove of garlic, to slicing a large tomato. When using a larger blade, you’re able to depend on the blade, rather than your own strength to do the work.
This also makes it much safer to work with, a little practice with this one and you won’t know how you managed without it. It gives you leverage and is much easier to slice through the thicker vegetables and ingredients more safely as you don’t have to use a lot of pressure. It is also designed to be used with a rocking motion and along with all your veg, it is ideal for chopping herbs.
When Should You Use It?
The simple answer is… Almost always.
My experience as a prep cook has taught me the importance and dependability it. You can use it on at least 80% of your tasks (though I use it on closer to 90% of mine).
You can use it on slicing fruits, vegetables, meat, fish. It’s an incredible tool for dicing up your ingredients in a heartbeat.
Turn a whole sprig of parsley, or cilantro into a beautiful herbal array in a matter of seconds. It’s important to note that there are some tasks that it should not be used for.
Don’t Use On…
- Butchering poultry
- Carving Meat
- Removing the skin of large vegetables
The width of the blade allows for broad use, but there are certain tasks that will require a thinner (or shorter) blade which I will go into further down.
How Much Should it Cost?
Because you will be using this one the most, I would recommend setting aside a larger part of your budget for it above all other must have kitchen knives.
If you’re wanting to make a small investment into high-quality, that will last for years, then you would probably be looking to spend about $100 on one.
Unlike many of the other appliances or household utensils you will purchase, as many of these can break down or wear out, a high-quality knife can last for decades, and a top quality one can last a lifetime. So they really are worth making an investment in.
Choose a blade that is full tang. This is a blade with one piece of metal that also runs up through the complete handle and has 2 handle pieces connected on the end with a pin.
I would not recommend going with a half tang blade. This is a blade that extends the full length but thins out near the handle, or extends halfway to the handle.
A full tang is more durable, sturdy, more balanced, and will last longer than a half-tang. A higher-quality that you could buy is a forged design but this does rely on your budget. It is extremely durable and made of steel, forged, heated, and then pounded by a hammer into a perfect shape. There are no extra parts. The thing is a single piece of steel.
This one is your everyday tool. First, before any other, master this and you will not regret it.
The second of the essential knives you’ll need to master is the paring knife. No, it’s not “pear-ing” though you can obviously use it to cut pears.
This is the perfect little sidekick to the chef’s knife. When you need some work done with a bit more detail, and fine-tuning, this is the knife.
It’s a mini, but very powerful, a little version of the chef knife and will be less expensive.
The average size of the blade is 3.5 inches long which makes it perfect for the smaller ingredients.
When Should You Use It?
This is ideal for slicing up the smaller of your ingredients. It’s also great for hulling strawberries (removing the green stem), mincing garlic, or peeling various vegetables or fruits.
Don’t Use It On…
- Celery Root
It isn’t heavy enough to be able to handle the harder vegetables, as you would have to increase your pressure or grip.
If you find that you’re putting a lot of pressure on any of your knives, there’s one of two things wrong:
The blade is too dull and needs a good sharpening or it’s the wrong knife.
It can be dangerous applying extra pressure, as this can cause the blade to slip suddenly and potentially lead to an unnecessary cut, any blunt blade is a dangerous blade. It is so important to keep your essential knives sharp and honed.
How Much Does It Cost?
It is the smallest in the kitchen which means…It costs less money! I would recommend spending around $20 for a decent one. Again it depends on your budget but buy the highest quality that you can afford.
You should avoid choosing a ceramic one. Choose a metal blade for a longer lifespan and more durability.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This one is for bread! And you’re absolutely right. But…
Did you know that the serrated knife was made for so much more than just bread?
There are a variety of tasks in the kitchen that you will be handled with much more ease (and much quicker) by checking out everything it can be used for below.
When Should You Use One?
This is one of the handiest tools in your kitchen. The length can vary and the length you require depends on what you will be using it most for, it’s very useful for slicing fruits and vegetables with waxy exteriors.
It’s most ideal for tomatoes, watermelons, peppers, citrus, and pineapples.
Pro baking tip: Serrated knives are also ideal for cutting your cake layers.
And of course… they are good for bread too. But you already knew that.
They should always be used in a sawing motion. Let the blade do the work. Don’t force the knife down with pressure (especially with bread) as it can compromise what you are cutting.
Instead, slowly rock the knife back and forth, allowing the teeth to grip the surface and make its way through to the bottom.
Don’t Use It On…
- Fresh Herbs
How Much Does It Cost?
I would recommend that spending about $40 on a durable one is about right.
As with the chef and paring knife, buying a high-quality steel blade is worth the investment as it means it will last for years.
The serrated knife is usually the knife that lasts the longest as it is used less frequently, and less forcefully.
Don’t forget, make sure you consider the size of the teeth. You will want teeth that are not too small (inefficient for “sawing” your items) and not too big (which will shred the interior of a loaf of bread).
4. Boning Knife
This is pretty self-explanatory for what it does, though it does require a bit more practice to really master it.
It is a thin, specifically shaped knife made exactly for what the name implies… taking the meat off the bones.
It’s a 5-6” blade on average which makes it versatile in cutting up and boning nearly any meat, fish, or poultry you are cooking for the day.
While most knives for kitchen are made to cut straight, this is made to move along the bone. It’s flexible, durable, and can move with the meat you are working with which makes it perfect for ribs and joints.
It should never be used to cut through the bones but only around the bones. The ideal one can bend perfectly to cut the meat from the bone while at the same time carry the strength to slice through any cartilage or joints.
When Should You Use One?
You can use it for most tasks related to red meat, fish, and poultry.
It is the best in the kitchen if you need to strip the meat off the bones. It is also perfect for cutting through any tendons, joints, and cartilage.
You can also use them to remove the skin from a piece of salmon.
Don’t Use it On…
Anything that’s not meat;
How Much Do They Cost?
To get a good one to add to your tool belt in the kitchen, I would recommend spending about $30. If you think you’ll be working with a lot of meat (especially those that still have the bones in), it is better to invest a bit more.
A tip for the boning knife: If you practice enough, you can actually save yourself a ton of money by buying “non-boneless” meats and boning them yourself from now on. It would make it well worth spending a bit extra on higher-quality.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and now know the knives every kitchen needs, along with types of knives and what they do, happy prepping and cooking.