Understanding the Different Types of Knives and When to Use Them
Having the right knife for the job is essential for a successful kitchen. Whether you are a professional chef or an enthusiastic home cook, having the correct knife can make all the difference. Different types of knives have different uses, and understanding which knife to use and when can help you create the perfect meal. Learn more about the different types of knives and when to use them.
Chef’s knife (or even the chef’s knife) is the most versatile knife and a staple of every home and professional kitchen. You will find it in blade sizes from 15 to 26,5 cm. The chef’s knife has a wide blade with symmetrical sides that taper towards the tip. A perfectly balanced knife that is a versatile kitchen helper. It is versatile for use for dicing, chopping, slicing and fine mincing of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. The wide blade makes it easy to transfer chopped food straight into a pot or pan, and the wide blade also serves for shaping and pressing food. The back of the blade can be used for cutting through small bones and opening shellfish. Use the base of the blade for cutting through and chopping with force.
Santoku (Nakiri) Knives. The name Santoku comes from Japanese and means three virtues (San = three, Toku = virtues). This name is very apt as it describes the suitability of the Santoku knife for chopping, slicing and dicing. With this Japanese knife, you can slice vegetables into paper-thin slices in seconds. Its blade is between 13 and 20 cm long and usually has a straight edge. The top of the knife transitions smoothly into the handle. Nakiri knives are perfectly balanced and working with them creates a sense of harmony. Thanks to the wide blade, you can easily transfer the chopped vegetables straight into the pot or pan.
Vegetable knives. Knife for vegetables is characterized by a short straight narrow blade. Its straight blade allows precise control when decorating, peeling and dicing. The special blade shaping on some models creates air bubbles under the slice when slicing, allowing even the thinnest pieces to be easily cut without sticking. It is standard equipment in every kitchen. The vegetable knife is particularly suitable for slicing onions, garlic and other vegetables.
Filleting knives. A filleting knife is an invaluable tool when filleting fish. Thanks to its long, narrow and flexible blade, you can achieve the perfect result easily and in a short time (much shorter than usual!). It is available with straight or curved blade, with fixed or flexible blade surface. But all filleting knives have one thing in common: their blades are very thin and flexible, which allows particularly controlled and precise cuts.
Slicer knives. Or ham knives. Like a filleting knife, a slicer has a long and narrow blade, but raised at the tip. It is an excellent tool for slicing thin slices of meat. It is used for slicing and cutting roast leg, ham or poultry (raw or cooked) in desired portions. Its pointed tip is ideal for cutting along the board and allows you to create precise and thin slices. Profikuchar’s tip: a great accessory for this knife is a meat fork. With this pair, cutting meat is a joy.
Peeling knives. The peeling knife is mainly used in the processing of fruits and vegetables. Thanks to its short, small blade with a gentle curve, you can easily peel any vegetable or fruit. However, it is also an excellent tool for creating decorations, so you will definitely appreciate it for decorative serving or cold buffets. The special shape of the blade makes peeling fruits and vegetables such as apples and potatoes quick and easy. Tip from Profikuchar: also very suitable for decorative carving of Halloween pumpkins 🙂
Serrated knives (bread knives)
The serrated knife is an essential helper for cutting fresh bread and cakes. It is characterised by its serrated blade and longer blade. It makes it easy to cut through fresh bread and pastries without bruising, with straight cuts. It is available with blade lengths from 20 to 26 cm. Profikuchar’s tip: the longer the blade, the better 🙂
A quality chef’s cleaver is a must when processing larger cuts of meat. This knife has a longer, wide blade and a higher weight, which makes it easy to cut even meat with bone. The most popular knife is the 16cm blade, but you can find models up to 20cm in length. It is ideal not only for the professional kitchen, but also for the home, e.g. for home slaughtering.
Unlike a chef’s cleaver, with which you do a “rough” job, a boning knife allows you to process meat more precisely and finely. It is particularly useful for separating meat from the bone. Its curved blade makes it very popular in the butcher’s shop. However, it can also be used in the home, for example at slaughter parties or Sunday lunch for the whole family :). The length of the blade ranges from 10 cm to 21 cm.
The cheese knife has a special blade shape that prevents the cheese from sticking when slicing, and its sharp blade allows precise cutting. Many cheese knives are also equipped with a forked tip for more convenient serving. They can also be cradle-shaped.
A pastry knife usually has a long blade and a serrated edge. Its serrations are finer than those of a bread knife. It makes slicing desserts or cakes surprisingly easy and cuts the pieces precisely and smoothly.
A decorative knife is primarily intended for decorative slicing of raw or cooked vegetables or butter. After slicing, a scalloped pattern remains on the food.
The salmon knife is an excellent tool for slicing extra thin and delicate slices. Some models create air bubbles under the slice when slicing, preventing it from sticking to the blade. They are characterised by a very long and narrow blade, up to 32 cm.
Knives for tomatoes and sausages
The tomato knife and also the sausage knife have a serrated blade, but are smaller than the bread knife. It cuts even the ripest tomatoes into thin slices without bruising. It is ideal for professional kitchens for cold buffets. You can also use it for slicing aubergines or soft fruits with a firm rind (e.g. pineapple, plums, peaches), as well as rolls and hard sausages.
Chinese cooking knives
The Chinese chef’s knife is shaped like a cleaver but is not suitable for chopping bones. It is designed for fine slicing and chopping of herbs and vegetables. It belongs to the Asian knifeům, which are a concept in the culinary world. Asian knives are designed for simple slicing of food into thin slices and noodles, as well as for the common slicing of vegetables and meat. They are highly sought after for their excellent cutting properties and exotic design, so they are not to be missed in any kitchen knife set.
Which type of knife to use and when?
The type of knife you use for a particular task depends on what you’re cutting. For example, a chef’s knife is great for slicing and dicing vegetables, while a paring knife is better for peeling and coring. For more information on the different types of knives and their uses, check out this guide from Williams-Sonoma.
Advantages of Having the Right Knife
- Sharp knives make cutting easier and faster
- The right knife for the job ensures accuracy and precision
- It is safer to use the right knife for the job
- Using the right knife reduces fatigue and strain
- Having the right knife makes food preparation more enjoyable
Take the guesswork out of choosing the right knife for your kitchen and make sure your culinary creations are always a success! Investing in quality knives is one of the best investments you can make for your kitchen. With the right knife, you can make food preparation much easier and faster. Discover the different types of knives and when to use them so you can get the most out of your kitchen!