Knives are some of the most important pieces of equipment you need in a kitchen. You will use them for preparing almost every ingredient you use to create dishes. There are many types of knives and each is designed for different purposes. Therefore, you may find it tricky to know which you should include in your collection of cooking equipment. It makes sense to build a collection of knives that includes the seven most commonly used kitchen knives as these are the ones you are likely to use regularly. Here is an overview of ten of the most common kitchen knives and their purposes.
The Ten Most Common Kitchen Knives
If you are just starting to build your kitchen knife collection, here is a list of the most common kitchen knives. These are ten knives that every serious chef should own:
- Paring knife- A paring knife is one of the knives that you will use the most in the kitchen. They are small knives with a pointed tip and they are usually used for peeling and preparing vegetables. As they are smaller, they are not suitable for preparing raw meat and fish.
- Chef’s knife- This is one of the most versatile knives that you can use, so it is a good investment for every home. You can use for most tasks and it will cut through almost any ingredient. The only downside to this knife is that it is not suited to peeling vegetables as it is best to use a smaller knife for this task.
- Utility knife- This knife is larger than a paring knife but smaller than a chef’s knife. They are a versatile knife that is good for many everyday kitchen tasks, including cutting toasties, slicing smaller joints of cooked meats, slicing cheese, and chopping larger vegetables. However, they are not good for precision tasks.
- Santoku knife- A santoku knife is the Japanese equivalent of a chef’s knife and it combines the features of both a chef’s knife and a cleaver. You can use them for preparing vegetables and for chopping both raw or cooked meat and fish. They are not the best option for peeling or for cutting meat with bones.
- Bread knife- These are long knives that have a wide serrated edge. Although they are intended for slicing bread, you can use them for several other tasks in the kitchen, such as slicing foods that have a slippery or wet surface. They are too large and rough for precision work or for preparing smaller fruit and vegetables.
- Carving Knife- A carving knife is intended for slicing cooked meats into thin and even slices. It is not suitable for precision work due to its size and length.
- Cleaver- The cleaver has a rectangular blade and is generally used for chopping through meat with bones. They are not a tool for slicing or intricate work. However, they are good for crushing ingredients or pulverizing meat.
- Filleting knife- This type of knife is used to remove fillets from a fish or for thinly slicing raw meat. It is a thin, pointed knife that is very flexible so that you can angle the knife easily. It does not have good force endurance, so you shouldn’t use these knives to remove meat from the bone.
- Boning knife- A boning knife looks like a filleting knife, except it is thicker and sturdier. This is the knife to use when removing meat from the bone as it has good force endurance. You cannot cut through the bones with these knives.
- Kitchen shears- Strictly speaking, kitchen shears are not knives. However, they have blades and are an important piece of equipment that you will regularly use alongside your knives during food preparation. They are a versatile item that is perfect for undoing packaging or string around meat, snipping herbs, trimming fat, and many other tasks in the kitchen.
Should You Buy All Ten Knives, Less, or More?
How many knives you need depends on how often you prepare homemade meals and the type of dishes you create. In general, it makes sense to buy the ten most commonly used as these will come in useful for day-to-day cooking. You can buy knife sets that include some or all these knives and this sometimes costs less than buying the knives individually.
If you rarely cook at home or you live alone, you can get away with fewer knives and adapt to the tools you have. For those who love cooking and create a range of cuisines at home, you should consider buying more knives and include some that are specific to the types of cuisine you create.
Knives are tools that you will use in the kitchen for almost every part of food preparation when creating meals. It is important to have a selection of knives because each knife completes a different task and not all knives are suitable for all functions. Hopefully our list of the most common kitchen knives will get you started. These are the ones that you should buy before choosing any other specialist knives.