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How Many Kitchen Knives Are Necessary

The world of kitchen knives can be baffling at times, what with their strange names and intricate, peculiar blades. How many kitchen knives are necessary? 

The optimal number of knives for any cook is four. This set of knives consists of a chef’s knife, bread knife, carving/slicing knife, and paring knife. A sharpener is also required to maintain the effectiveness and sharpness of your blades. 

But there are so many more options for kitchen knives. Yes, we will walk you through the entire list of kitchen knives in this article, describing the functions and uses of each. 

And if you’re in the market for a new set of kitchen knives, we’ve included a bonus section at the end of this article with our top 5 recommendations for kitchen knife sets. 

Which Knives Are the Most Essential? 

As I just mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are five essential, must-have knives that every home cook must have: 

  • Chef’s Knife: Used to cut, chop, slice, and dice fruit, vegetables, meat, and other foods. 
  • Knife for cutting cakes and bread. 
  • Carving/Slicing Knife: Flexible and long, this knife is required for carving or slicing cooked meats such as roasts. 
  • Paring Knife: Ideal for smaller tasks that are difficult for a chef’s knife to reach. 

Lastly, a sharpener is technically not a knife, but it is an absolute must-have for any home cook who wants to keep their knives in pristine condition and as sharp as possible. 

On our list of essential knives that chefs and home cooks use daily as part of their cooking arsenal, there are so many knives that did not cut. So, let’s examine the various types of kitchen knives and their applications. 

14 Different Types Of Kitchen Knives 

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the variety of options for kitchen knives or wondered what you’d need and use each one for, we have you covered. 

Here is a summary of the most common kitchen knives and their respective functions: 

1. Chef’s Knife 

The chef’s knife reigns supreme when it comes to kitchen knives. This six-to-twelve-inch knife is a chef’s workhorse and can be viewed almost as an extra limb. 

The chef’s knife can cut almost anything, including meat, chicken, and vegetables, and it’s long; the upward-curved blade makes it ideal for chopping and dicing almost anything. The chef’s knife is an essential kitchen tool. 

2. Santoku Knife 

The Santoku knife is a Japanese-style knife that is occasionally substituted for the chef’s knife. It is typically a shorter, thinner knife than the chef’s knife, with a smaller, lighter blade and a downward-curved tip at the top of the edge. 

Like the chef’s knife, the santoku knife can be used to precisely cut, chop, slice, and dice virtually any food in the kitchen. The blade’s dimples or Granton edge prevent meat and other foods from sticking to it. 

3. Bread Knife 

The bread knife has “teeth” along its straight, serrated blade, transforming it into a duller saw. 

This makes it ideal for cutting (or sawing) cakes and bread without excessive pressure, but it can also be used to cut seafood, poultry, and meat. A bread knife is another essential item for any kitchen, in my opinion. 

4. Carving/Slicing Knife 

The carving or slicing knife is typically 8 to 10 inches long, has a rounded tip, and is used to carve or slice cooked meats. This knife is ideal for carving roasts, and if you don’t carve roasts often, this is the knife you’ll use on Thanksgiving to cut that beautiful brown turkey. 

The blade is narrow and long, making it highly flexible and facilitating the carving of roasts of any size. 

5. Utility Knife 

This 4–7-inch-long, narrow-bladed knife with a small tip is ideal for any food that may be too small for your chef’s knife to reach. This knife is ideal for filleting, trimming, and making thinner cuts. However, don’t attempt to cut, chop, slice, or dice any large items; you’ll need your reliable chef’s knife. 

6. Boning Knife 

The boning knife, as its name implies, is used for slicing meat, separating meat from bones, and filleting fish. Occasionally, depending on their size, they can be used to trim vegetables. 

The blade is typically thinner than a carving knife, measuring between 3 and 8 inches in length, and is as flexible as a carving knife. Nevertheless, there are semi-flexible and rigid variants, with the fixed blade being the most popular. 

7. Paring Knife 

This “baby chef’s knife” is ideal for slicing and peeling all types of fruits and vegetables and trimming meat and fat with pinpoint accuracy. The 2 to 4-inch blade typically has several pointed tips, such as a spear point, sheep’s foot, or bird’s beak. The paring knife is a must-have in any kitchen, as it complements the chef’s knife for smaller jobs. 

8. Kitchen Shears 

Kitchen shears are a pair of sturdy scissors with thick blades. If you’re wondering why a pair of scissors is on our list of kitchen knives, it’s because kitchen shears can be used in place of knives for specific tasks. 

9. Cleaver Knife 

The cleaver knife, the largest, heaviest, and worst blade in the kitchen can perform the same tasks as your chef’s knife. Additionally, it is designed to cut through tough meats and bones that your other knives could never hope to tackle. 

Its broad blade makes it ideal for squashing and crushing garlic, slicing through thick vegetables such as squash or pumpkin, and pulverizing meat, poultry, or fish. 

This is not a must-have on our recommended kitchen knives, but it is fun to own if you have the extra cash. 

10. Steak Knife 

Like a boning or carving knife, the name of this one gives it away. As part of your tableware, the steak knife or table knife is used to cut cooked meat. 

Typically, steak knives have three blade edges: serrated, semi-serrated, and non-serrated. Depending on the type of edge and the frequency of use, they usually do not require sharpening for an extended period. 

11. Fillet Knife 

The fillet knife is designed to cut thinner fish slices with its light, long, and flexible blade. Aside from this distinction, the fillet knife and boning knife are remarkably similar and are frequently used interchangeably. The edges of boning knives are typically thicker and more durable. 

12. Nakiri Bocho 

The Nakiri Bocho, the second Japanese-style knife on our list, has a long, thin, straight, wide blade with a squared-off tip. It is commonly used for cutting, chopping, slicing, and dicing vegetables, and its long edge makes it ideal for longer vegetables such as eggplant, cucumber, or carrot. 

13. Tourné knife 

The tourne knife has the most bird-like blade on our list, with its short, curved blade resembling a bird’s beak. This is primarily used for removing skin or peeling fruits and vegetables, but it can also be used to create football-shaped foods and other round treats to impress guests. 

14. Sharpener 

I would also include a sharpener on this list of essentials. Even though it’s not technically a knife, it restores the sharpness of your knives, so it deserves to be there. 

You receive a variety of sharpeners, including manual and electric ones as well as sharpening stones. Manual and electric sharpeners are more user-friendly for beginners than sharpening stones. 

The preferred type of stone for this purpose is the whetstone, but a manual sharpener will suffice if you’re new to sharpening knives. Steak knives, chef’s knives, paring knives, cleavers, and even your new favorite pizza-cutting kitchen shears can all be sharpened with a sharpener. 

Next Steps 

The conclusion is thus. A comprehensive guide to all the kitchen knives you will need, including the ins and outs of each and a list of the four most essential kitchen knives. 

Now is an excellent time to start if you do not own a set of high-quality kitchen knives. We have compiled a comprehensive list of the most frequently asked kitchen questions from both novice and seasoned homeowners. Our team of experts answers these questions to assist you with DIY projects and home repairs. 

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