Kitchen knives can be a confusing subject. What’s the best use for each knife and do you really need each one? This Ultimate Kitchen Knife Guide and Infographic will help with those decision. The most common knives are chef’s, utility, kitchen, santoku, slicing/carving, paring, boning/filet, cleaver, and bread knife. Handles, blade material and edges all make a difference in how knives are used.
Which Kitchen Knife to use? Types of kitchen knives and uses for each
Chef’s knife: Multi-purpose with wide, triangular black and curved belly for easy rocking motion. 8-inch blade is most popular. Best used for chopping, slicing, mincing and dicing.
Utility knife: Versatile with narrower blade than a chef’s knife. Can have a straight or serrated edge. Best used for cutting tomato, soft meats or crusted bread.
Kitchen knife: Versatile with straight back edge and gentle curve close to tip. Best used for cutting meats, vegetables or fruits.
Santoku knife: Multi-purpose with a slightly curved edge for efficient mincing. Often lighter, thinner and sharper than Western-style knives. Best used for scooping, crushing or thin cut meat.
Slicing knife: Very long blade for carving large pieces of meat. Has a sharp straight edge to prevent juices from escaping meats.
Carving knife: Similar to a slicing knife but with a slight serrated edge. Creates a rougher cut.
Pairing knife: Small knife for intricate cuts. Very short and sharp blade. Best used for mincing, peeling, coring, and removing spots on fruits and vegetables.
Boning/Filet knife: Blade is usually flexible for intricate meat cutting. Has long and narrow blade that curves up at the tip. Contours to bone, cartilage, and skin. Best used for removing meat from bone or fish from skin, timing fat, and cutting through tendons.
Cleaver: Large rectangular blade with sharp edge. Heavy duty cutting and chopping. Best used for splitting poultry, disjoining meats, cutting through ribs, smashing onions or garlic and scooping.
Bread knife: Cuts bread or delicate items with tough crusts or skins. Serrated blade that creates frequencies for easier cutting. Best used for crusted bread or fruits and vegetables with outer skin.
Types of kitchen knife blade edges
- Serrated or wavy edge: Have teeth along edge that allow greater pressure to be applied while cutting. Usually a thin blade that can cut through hard crusts or tough skins.
- Straight edge: This edge can be sharpened with sharpening steel to a razor-sharp edge. Makes precise and clean cuts.
- Granton edge: Has hollowed-out grooves on the sides of the blade, which helps prevent food from sticking while cutting.
Knife blade materials and how to maintain knives
Blades are made from carbon steel, stainless steel, titanium or ceramic.
- Carbon steel blades: Clean with soap and water, dry then lightly oil. It can tarnish easily.
- Stainless steel blades: Don’t ever soak and make sure to dry off after cleaning. High-grade steel can rust.
- Titanium or ceramic blades: Easier to maintain. Scrub with hot soapy water, dry with a towel on a drying rack. These blades do not rust.
Ultimate Kitchen Knife Guide infographic:
Information in this guide and the infographic first appeared on http://www.fix.com/blog/kitchen-knife-guide/ and are posted here with permission.
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