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Do you ever dream of being able to whip up a masterpiece in the kitchen? Have you seen all the Rachael Rays and Cat Coras rocking up the kitchen on TV and think to yourself… “If only I could do that”? Well, as dedicated chefs, they all started with 1 thing: A passion for creating gourmet meals.
The one thing that separates someone like them from the average cook in the kitchen is… Knowledge. These ladies know the how-to on getting it done in the kitchen.
They know that having the right tools to get the job done is critical to their success. There are 4 essential knives for any kitchen, but it’s not unusual for them to have over a dozen different types of knives in the kitchen to be able to whip up any recipe.
Once you learn the different knife styles and know exactly what they’re used for, you’ll be able to craft the most beautiful, aromatic (and appetizing) meals.
10 Different Types Of Kitchen Knives And What They’re Used For
If you’re willing to invest in your ability to cook, it will serve you for your entire life…but remember… When you begin to advance in your ability to cook up a delicious meal any day of the week, your friends and family will never want to leave your home when you’re in the kitchen. Seriously. But if you think you can handle that, keep reading.
Using a knife that’s been crafted specifically for each task in the kitchen will make your life a whole lot easier. It will save you a ton of time (and a ton of frustration) when you’re able to use the right one for the right job. It will make preparing the finished meal a simple task when you start with the one of the correct knife styles, it is as important as learning how to care for your knives.
Most people (even if they aren’t avid cooks) have three types of kitchen knives on average. So if you consider yourself determined, and are looking to invest in a brand new kitchen set, you can learn to use a bigger array of styles that will make your life in the kitchen much easier.
1. The Chef
This is your bread and butter…though it should not be used to butter your bread. The chef is your ultimate tool. It is 8-10 inches long, with a broad blade, the best way to use this blade is decided by whatever job needs to be done and it’s designed to rock back and forth on the cutting board and is one of the large kitchen knife types.
Before moving on to any others, you really need to master this one, as you will find that you will be using it for over 80% of your tasks so it is crucial to practice. It is used for anything from chopping vegetables, slicing tomatoes, and probably the best knife for cutting meat.
2. The Paring
Once you have your Chef knife skills on point, you’re going to want to grab onto your Paring knife. This is the ultimate sidekick to your Chef. It’s essentially the Robin to your Batman.
Where it’s challenging to cut smaller vegetables and do the more intricate cutting, this definitely comes in handy. It’s perfect for cutting anything too small for the Chef and adding extra detail to your cuisine.
3. The Serrated
The Serrated knife is for your bread, or so most people think but, did you know you can use it for a variety of other tasks? Ideally, you can use it to cut cakes, meat, seafood, and poultry.
Remember, when using this, don’t apply too much pressure downwards, but rather use a sawing motion to cut through your ingredients. It’s designed with little alligator-like teeth so you can saw through bread or other items without squishing them.
4. The Boning
If you plan on cutting any meats, then you’re going to love this meat knife. The Boning knife, as the name suggests, it’s the perfect little tool for trimming the meat off the bone. It’s thin and flexible and is made for gliding right along the bone.
It’s also great for cutting through joints and cartilage. Vegetarians can use it too – a smaller Boning knife can be used instead of a Paring knife for peeling and trimming your vegetables.
5. The Santoku
The Santoku knife is the Japanese chef’s choice. In Japanese, Santoku means “three virtues”. These three virtues are referring to slicing, dicing, and mincing.
It’s a flat blade and isn’t meant to rock back and forth, unlike the Chef. The blade is thinner and shorter but can be used as a replacement if you are wanting something a bit lighter but still large.
6. The Kitchen Shears
It’s not a knife… They aren’t scissors… They’re shears. These shears are perfect for snipping up your herbs and cutting different veggies (think carrots or asparagus).
When your countertops are taken up, it’s a quick and easy way to cut some green onions into a dish.
7. The Cleaver
Yes, this is the coolest looking of the knife types in the kitchen. If you ever want to impress your friends, pull this one out and start chopping meat and bones. The cleaver is the heaviest, bulkiest in your kitchen. It’s your tank.
It has a thick spine with a fortified blade, allowing you to cut through meat and bones with a single chop. It’s also great for cutting thicker vegetables like pumpkin and squash and comes in very useful when transferring your cut and chopped items to a pan.
8. The Nakiri Bocho
The Nakiri Bocho is another Japanese design used for vegetables. It is a very thin, squared-off blade that’s used to chop, rather than rock back and forth like the rounded knife style.
It’s most ideal when you are wanting your vegetables cut super thin. It’s great for adding some flair to your cuisine with vegetable designs. It’s great for cutting super-thin veggies like carrots, daikon, and cucumber for salads.
9. The Fillet
You may have mistaken this one for the Boning knife, but there are subtle differences between the two. While the Boning knife is used for removing the meat from the bones, as it has a thicker blade that has more force. The Fillet is for cutting thin slices of fish and therefore it’s usually a bit longer, thinner, and more flexible. You can technically substitute one for the other, but having both options will make your job easier in the kitchen.
10. The Honing Steel
This is the ultimate companion to your set. The honing steel is essential for maintaining your blades. While it doesn’t actually sharpen the blade, it will make the cut much easier.
Honing your blades realigns them back to the correct shape. To hone your blades, slide each side of the blade from end to end on the steel for about 15-30 seconds.
Yes… you should be honing your blades before each use to properly maintain it. A little extra time in the kitchen for the maintenance of your set will allow you to use them for decades, rather than years.
P.S. You should make sure you get the blades professionally sharpened once a year (or more depending on how much you use them) to ensure you keep them at their optimum.
We hope that kitchen knife designs shown above help you in your kitchen and don’t give up as practice makes perfect and you will hone your skills in no time.