A knife is the most common tool you will always find in all kitchens. However, there are many different types of kitchen knives that are designed for specific purposes. This is why most people prefer to buy knife sets instead of buying individual knives.
You will find that each knife is designed for a specific purpose that makes your work easier as compared to when you are using just one knife.
In case you are not sure which knife to use for which purpose, read this detailed guide to know all types of kitchen knives and their uses.
01. Chef Knife
Whether you want to slice, chop, cut, or peel different ingredients, a chef knife will be suitable for that. It is the most versatile knife that every kitchen must have for its outstanding performance.
Most chef knives are made of stainless steel and are 6 to 8 inches long. (If you are interested you may read this guide that talks about kitchen knife length).
However, the best chef’s knife should be easy to use for both professional chefs and home cooks. Some chef knives are straight while others are curved.
These knives come with very sharp blades for effortless cutting and slicing. Most chef knives are not very affordable but you will find some popular chef’s knives that come under the $100 price range. You will see the post here.
You will also find that most of these knives have a full-tang design which means that the blade extends up to the other end of the handle. This gives you better control and stability when cutting.
02. Santoku Knife
This one is among the most popular Japanese-style chef knives. Santoku is a Japanese name that means “Three Virtues”. These words represent the three functions of this knife which are mincing, slicing, and dicing.
As compared to the chef’s knife, this one is a bit shorter and thinner; but you can use it to do almost all tasks you could do using a chef’s knife.
The Santoku knife has a wide and flat blade with beautiful dimples which creates a small bubble on the item you are cutting. This prevents ingredients such as fish, meat, and softer or tough ingredients from sticking on the blade.
As a result, it cuts easily without resistance or dragging. It is normally preferred by chefs who love using a small and lightweight blade.
03. Utility Knife
This knife isn’t so popular in the kitchen but it is the best for small tasks such as peeling fruits or slicing smaller vegetables.
Most utility knives have 4-7 inches blades which make them suitable for chopping vegetables, cutting sandwiches, slicing herbs, slicing meat, etc.
However, this knife is not the best for slicing or chopping large ingredients. The small tip plus the narrow blade enables it to provide better results when trimming, filleting, and slicing than when you are using a chef’s knife.
It is normally considered as a cross between a slicing knife and a paring knife meaning that you can use all these knives interchangeably.
04. Pairing Knife
The most notable thing about a paring knife is that it has a very sharp and thinner blade than other knives. This knife has a blade that is 3-4 inches long and with a pointed tip. Due to this design, it is suitable for peeling fruits, cutting pepper and veggies, or trimming excess fat.
It is also perfect for minces, chops, slices, and removing seeds. Some of these knives have a serrated blade while others have a straight blade.
The most popular types of paring knives are sheep’s foot, spear point, and the bird’s beak. They are named according to the shape of their tip.
05. Boning Knife
A boning knife is the best tool for removing or trimming meat from the bone. It has a very narrow and flexible blade with a unique pointed tip.
This enables it to debone cuts of meat more precisely without wastage. You can also use a smaller boning knife instead of a paring knife to remove the skin from fish or filleting, peeling, or even trimming vegetables.
Boning knives are usually 3-8 inches long but their blade width varies. Again they come with different types of blade variations such as Semi-Flexi, Flexi or stiff. Those with stiff blades are the best because they provide a better precision when cutting.
06. Fillet Knife
If you are searching for a perfect knife for filleting or preparing fish, the fillet knife is specially designed for that purpose.
Filleting is the process of removing thin strips of meat from fish. Most of these knives have a 6-11 inches blade which allows them to cut easily along the backbone or under the skin.
Their blades are very flexible and thin to give you maximum control when filleting. Boning knives and fillet knives look almost the same meaning that they can be used interchangeably but fillet knives have a thinner blades.
07. Electric Knife
Electric knives are the most advanced tools ever for cutting and slicing something big with ease. Unlike the manual knives which require your effort, electric knives use electricity which enables them to complete heavy-duty tasks faster.
You can use them to cut large pieces of meat and other tough ingredients. Some models come with a removable blade meaning that you just need to replace them when the one you are using becomes dull.
08. Butcher Knife
This type of knife is very common in butcher shops or restaurants since it is one of the best for cutting all types of meat.
As compared to other knives, a butcher’s knife has a slightly curved blade which enables it to cut through the meat easily without applying a lot of pressure.
Most butcher knives are equipped with Granton edges which enables them to cut meat precisely without shredding or tearing.
09. Large Meat Cutting Knife
This knife is intended to cut foods and peel the cover more precisely than when using other types of knives. Since it has a long blade, you can use it to cut very large pieces of meat easily.
It is also sharp which enables it to provide small and thinner pieces of meat. It is very easy to use and safe to handle.
10. Vegetable Cleaver
The vegetable cleaver knife has been designed to slice and cleave meat or vegetables more precisely. Besides that, you can use it to cut bones.
It has a thin and wider blade with a rectangular shape. Due to this design, it is perfect for cutting tough vegetables and boneless food. Its design also features a sharp edge which enables it to create small slices of vegetables.
11. Meat Cleaver
Meat cleavers are short but they are the most heavy-duty knives ever built for kitchen purposes. Most of them have a full-tang design, a very wide and sharp beveled blade plus a very thick spine. Most cleaver knives come with a small hole at the top of the blade for hanging up when not in use.
Due to their design, they are the best for cutting thick pieces of meat and chopping tough or thick veggies. As well as they are also suitable for breaking bones or thick and hard ingredients. Apart from that, they are suitable for crushing garlic or pulverizing poultry, meat, and fish.
12. Slicing Knife
Slicing knives have a long blade with a rounded tip. Just as the name suggests, the slicing knife is the most suitable tool for slicing any ingredients such as salads, meat, fruits, vegetables, pork, chicken, beef, and fish into thin pieces.
You can also use them for slicing cooked meats such as smoked hams, steaks, roasted turkeys, etc. Due to this, it is among the most important tools every kitchen must have.
13. Bread Knife
Even if you can use different types of knives to slice bread, but a real bread knife will give you the best results. It gives you thin and perfectly sliced pieces of bread without wastage like when you are using other knives. In terms of design, bread knives are narrow and straight with a serrated blade.
They are also long since their blades are 7-10 inches. As a result, they are perfect for cutting large chunks of food or thick-skinned ingredients such as squash or melon.
You can also use them to cut seafood, poultry, and sometimes meat. Apart from that, bread knives are suitable for baking since they allow you to level the cake easily due to their long blade.
14. Steak Knives
A steak knife is very sharp with a serrated, semi-serrated, or non-serrated blade design. The serrated ones come with a very sharp blade and they are able to maintain their sharp edge for a long time.
However, the non-serrated ones require sharpening frequently because they lose their sharpness faster. But the good thing about them is that they are very easy to sharpen.
Steak knives are also referred to as table knives because they are normally used on the table to cut cooked foods. They are smaller than other types and most of them come with a 4.5 inches blade. They are very easy and safe to use.
15. Kitchen Shears
Kitchen shears are essential tools for cutting vegetables with a flower, like broccoli. They have sharp and strong blades which make them suitable for dicing or slicing veggies, sectioning chicken, and snipping herbs.
They are also suitable for trimming dough, cutting parchment papers or tin foils, and cutting the edges of a chicken. In short, they are designed to remove excess materials from ingredients.
They are very easy to use and safe for refining vegetables. Some of them have extra features which enable them to double as nutcrackers or bottle openers.
16. Sushi Knife
Sushi knives are not very common but they are Japanese models that are used for cutting delicate meat or fish. They will give you the best results when preparing sushi foods or when slicing sushi rolls.
These ones are designed to give you very precise cuts when cutting fish and they cut without tearing. They are characterized by a long, thin, and super sharp blade which makes them perfect for slicing raw or uncooked fish.
17. Oyster Knife
Unlike other knives, the Oyster knife has a very unique design since it is specially designed for opening the oyster. The good thing about it is that it minimizes the risks of injuries when opening the oyster since it prevents slipping.
18. Cheese Knife
For people who love cheese maybe for breakfast, this knife might be a helpful tool because it is specifically built for cutting cheese. It slices cheese in a diligent manner and it is very safe to use.
It has holes, which reduces the contact between the knife and the cheese when cutting. As a result, it prevents the cheese from sticking on the surface. However, if you are interested you can read my full guide about cheese knives here.
19. Carving Knife
A carving knife is used for slicing or cutting dense meats. It has a long, thin, and narrow blade which enables it to provide thin slices of cooked meats such as roasted chicken, turkey, pork, large fish, beet, etc.
The narrow and thin design minimizes dragging or resistance when cutting. These knives have a length of 8-14 inches long.
Some have a pointed tip for removing meat in hard-to-reach areas while others have a rounded tip for slicing boneless roasts or slicing ham.
20. Tomato Knife
Tomatoes are not very easy to cut because their skin tears easily. To make your work easier, you should use a tomato knife since the blade contains small serrations which enable them to cut without tearing.
They also feature two faces for cutting ingredients effortlessly. They are very easy to use since they have a very strong grip that prevents them from slipping.
Apart from slicing tomatoes, you can use them for slicing vegetables or other small ingredients into thinner pieces.
Even if most knives can be used interchangeably, it is better to have a dedicated knife for each task. This will not only make your work easier but you are also assured to get the best results.
You will also find that some knives are designed to handle heavy-duty tasks more efficiently than others. You may also consider buying a set of knives that come with all the necessary knives and tools or buy those you don’t have in your kitchen.
I have built kniveswow.com because as a home chef I know how important kitchen knives are. I use different kitchen knives every day and they always save my time. Here I share my thoughts, experience and knife maintenance tips with you. You can find more info about me.