A Quick Guide to Choosing Kitchen Knives

Knives are probably the most important kitchen utensil, and as such, you’ll usually wind up spending quite a bit of money on them.

For this reason, it’s crucially important that you make sure that you buy knives that are of a good quality, but that are also going to do what you need them to.

With that in mind, we’re going to run through some of the most popular types of kitchen knives, some of which are essentials and others which are more specialist luxuries.

The Essentials

Chef’s Knife

The chef’s knife is the cornerstone of any knife collection and will handle the majority of general preparation tasks, from chopping vegetables and herbs to larger jobs such as cuts of meat or even hard veg like butternut squash.

They’re a great multi-purpose knife and are usually available in a wide range of sizes so that you can find one which really suits your hand.

The advice from Kitchen Knives is that: “Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, and you’ll ultimately want one which has a bit of weight about it, but that still sits nicely in your hand, and have a nice balance to it.”

If there’s one knife we recommend spending that little bit extra on, it’s this one, because it’s definitely the one which you’ll be using the most.

Vegetable Knife

Also known as a paring knife, these knives are much smaller than a chef’s knife, and are usually used for the small, tricky tasks which are done in your hand, rather than on a board.

These include deveining prawns, seeding chillies, coring fruit, and many other fruit and veg tasks which can get a little bit fiddly.

Bread Knife

As the name suggests, these knives are used for slicing bread, and also for cakes too. They have a serrated edge and a long blade which allows them to easily slice through bread without squashing the crumb. You can also use this as an alternative to a carving knife if you’d rather not own both.

Tomato Knife

These small, serrated knives are mainly used for peeling citrus fruit such as oranges and lemons, although as their name suggests, they’re also capable of general vegetable prep, such as thinly slicing tomatoes.

Specialist Knives

Filleting Knife

If you want to fillet your own fish, we recommend buying a specialist filleting knife. These knives have a flexible blade, which helps with the delicate motions needed to successful fillet a fish and remove its skin.

Filleting can be tricky, so if you need a bit of a hand, check out this article from wikiHow for some tips.

Boning Knife

If you want to take things a little bit further, and do some DIY butchery, you’ll want a boning knife at home.

These narrow knives are shaped a bit like a dagger, and are designed for cutting through ligaments, and removing bones without damaging the meat.

Carving Knife

Carving knives and forks aren’t used anywhere near as much as they used to be, but they can still serve a purpose, especially if you still enjoy a good old traditional roast on a Sunday.

The knife blade is designed to be very fine and sharp to ensure that you get nice even slices of meat when carving.

Santoku Knife

Japanese knives are becoming more popular in Western kitchens, and you don’t need to eat lots of Asian food for one to be useful.

They have a blunt end, and are designed to be used for slicing, dicing and chopping; with small holes or dimples on the blade to help release food once it’s been cut.

For a more detailed run on the Santoku knife and its purpose, check out this post from The Spruce.

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