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Types of Kitchen Knives – What They Are and What They Are For

Kitchen knives are an essential tool in any kitchen. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific purpose. Knowing the different types of kitchen knives and their uses can help you select the right one for the task at hand. From chef’s knives to paring knives, each type of kitchen knife has its own unique purpose.

The right type of knife will make your job easier and save you effort when cutting, carving and serving food. But do you know all the different types of kitchen knives and what they can be used for and how to care for them?

Classic chef's knife

Classic chef’s knife

The basic chef’s knife is not to be missed in any kitchen. It is also known as a chef’s knife or all-purpose knife, as it can be used to cut vegetables, slice meat or chop herbs.

Japanese Santoku knives

Japanese Santoku knives

The Santoku knife has its origins in Asian cuisine. Thanks to its light weight, thin blade and wide tip, it can cut very narrow and small shapes. However, you can use it not only for slicing onions, tomatoes and other vegetables, but also for carving meat, chopping herbs or even for finishing vegetables and removing fish scales.

Boning knives

Boning knives

You can recognize a boning knife at first glance by its narrow and flexible blade, which is ideal for separating meat from bone or for removing tendons or skin. It is used especially for cleaning poultry and fish, whose delicate meat requires precise and delicate work.

Fish filleting knives

Filleting knives for fish

Slightly longer than the boning knife is the filleting knife, whose thin and flexible blade easily adapts to the curves of the fish’s spine. In general, the shorter the filleting knife, the more flexible and thinner it is, and the better it can debone even smaller fish.

Slicing knives

Slicing knives

Meat slicing knives, which are characterised by their long and thin blades, are essential cooking aids. They are particularly suited for slicing prepared meat and cleaning raw meat, as well as for cleaning and slicing fish. In addition, it is also recommended for slicing fruit into larger pieces.

Spicing knives

Spiking knives

A paring knife is one of the all-purpose knives that are guaranteed to be a great asset in the kitchen. It is great not only for cleaning meat, shrimp or seafood, but also for cleaning small vegetables and fruit. Thanks to its thin and short blade, it is easy to create the perfect pocket without cutting through the meat.

Pastry and bread knives

Pastry and bread knives

Pastry knives have a serrated blade that easily handles hard crusts and soft airy insides without crumbling the bread. Of course, you can use it to slice all kinds of fresh bread.

Our tip: A smaller version of bread knives are grease knives, which have a shorter blade and a rounded tip for more comfortable bread greasing.

Steak knives

Steak knives

If you like to prepare steaks often and often, then you must not miss steak knives at home. With the tip positioned high on the top edge of the knife, steak knives can be used just like a classic cutlery knife. However, unlike the latter, they have a much sharper blade, which is also equipped with tiny teeth for easy slicing of meat.

Fruit and vegetable knives

Fruit and vegetable knives

A small, lightweight and easy-to-use knife for cleaning, peeling and cutting vegetables, mushrooms or fruit should not be missing from the cook’s equipment.

Tip: If you want to play with serving food, choose a knife with a serrated blade. It is ideal for decorative slicing of fruit and vegetables and for making garnished bowls.

Cheese knives

Cheese knives

If you like to enjoy quality cheese, get a special kitchen cheese knife to make slicing, grating and serving it easier. Choose your knife according to whether you are going to slice or grate the cheese and whether it is soft or hard. In either case, the knife has either a specially treated blade or a blade with holes to prevent the slices from sticking to the knife.

Knives for ham, salami and cold cuts

Knives for ham, salami and sausages

For slicing sausages, a knife with a long, slender blade and a serrated edge is usually used. The sides of the knife sometimes have cut-outs which prevent the sausage slices from sticking to the knife. The special knives for ham or salmon are equipped with a very long and flexible blade for a perfect slicing result.

Choppers

Choppers

Choppers belong mostly in the hands of butchers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them at home. They have a long and wide blade and, of course, a higher weight to cut large pieces of meat or to split bones for making stock and sauces.

Decorative knives

Decorative knives

Decorative knives serve you very well if you want to decoratively cut raw or cooked vegetables or potatoes into eye-pleasing pieces.

Pastry knives

Pastry knives

The shape of a pastry knife resembles a bread slicing knife. Like it, it has a serrated blade for easy slicing, but the profile of the teeth is very rounded, which makes it easy to spread, for example, cream on a cake. The taller blade of the pastry knife is also useful as a spatula when slicing and serving cake, cobblers and other confectionery products.

How to choose the right kitchen knife

Once you have familiarized yourself with the types of kitchen knives, you can proceed to the next step, and that is the actual selection of the knife. What all should you be interested in?

  • Knife balance – In order to work well with a knife, it must be balanced. This means that the weight of the blade and the handle are equal.
  • Hardness and sharpness of the blade – Ideally, the blade should be made of stainless steel that is resistant to corrosion, and whose thickness is at least 3 mm. The ideal hardness of the steel should then be in the range of 55-58 Rockwell degrees.
  • Handle – The handle of the knife should fit your hand perfectly. Choose a knife with an ergonomic or non-slip handle for a more comfortable and safe working experience.
  • Brand – Remember that you’re choosing a kitchen knife for life and shop around for a well-known, reputable brand such as IVO, Wüsthof or Victorinox.

Our tip. Read our in-depth article for 7 tips on choosing a kitchen knife.

Knife block

What does proper care of kitchen knives look like

  • Kitchen knives do not belong in the dishwasher as chemicals, hot water and steam can damage them or shorten their life.
  • Wash knives by hand, under warm running water, and wipe them dry with a cloth or kitchen towel before putting them away.
  • Store knives safely in their sheaths or in handy knife blocks. You can also use the magnetic bar above the kitchen counter to keep your knives handy. However, never leave them loose in a drawer with other kitchen knives or cutlery.
  • Use cutting boards made of wood or plastic for slicing. Marble, glass or ceramic cutting boards will dull the knife and may damage it.

How to sharpen and polish knives

Regular care of kitchen knives includes, among other things, sharpening and sharpening them. What is the difference between the two and how to do it properly?

  • Knife sharpening keeps the edge sharpened and aligns microscopic nicks and cracks in the blade, but does not remove steel from the blade. It can be done frequently, even after each use
  • Knife sharpening removes the steel from the blade of the knife and creates a new edge, so it should be done only once, with frequent use no more than twice a year.

Now that you know the difference between sharpening and knife sharpening, let’s talk about how kitchen knives can be sharpened.

Hand knife sharpener

Hand and electric knife grinder

Knife sharpening with a knife grinder is the easiest way to sharpen not only ordinary (unforged) knives but also all-forged knives (forged from a single piece of steel). Hand knife grinders and electric knife grinders have preset angles and therefore you only need to pull the knife over the notch several times with light pressure towards you. With larger knives, you don’t need to push – the weight of the blade itself takes care of that.

IVO Cork sharpener

Sharpener

A whetstone is not so much for sharpening knives as for sharpening them. Working with it is quite complicated, but with a little practice you can certainly master it.

The sharpener can be used in two ways. Either you hold the whetstone in one hand and the knife in the other, and you must coordinate the movements of both the whetstone and the knife well, or you rest the whetstone with the tip against the table top. You then place the knife at the handle on top of the sharpener and apply gentle pressure against the blade to the end of the sharpener so that you always end up at the tip of the knife. Repeat the motion approximately 20 times, on both sides.

Grinding stone

Grinding stone

Sharpening knives with a sharpening stone can be done at home with a little skill. The most important thing is to maintain the same tilt of the knife during sharpening and to make the same number of strokes on both sides of the knife.

Grinding stones are available in different hardness and surface roughness, natural or synthetic. In order to achieve the perfect result, it is recommended to start with a coarser stone (for example, 400 or 1000 grit) and then use a finer stone (5000 or 8000 grit). Before grinding, be sure to soak the stones in water first so that they absorb enough moisture.

Tip: Don’t use a whetstone to sharpen an expensive knife. Instead, make your first few attempts with a cheaper knife that you won’t regret if you don’t get it perfectly sharp.

What Are the Different Types of Kitchen Knives?

Kitchen knives come in a variety of sizes and shapes, each serving a different purpose. The most common types of kitchen knives are:

  • Paring Knife: A small, sharp knife used for peeling and other delicate tasks.
  • Chef’s Knife: A large, sharp knife for chopping, slicing, and mincing.
  • Boning Knife: A thin, curved blade used for removing meat from bones.
  • Bread Knife: A serrated knife for slicing bread and other soft foods.
  • Utility Knife: A medium-sized knife for general-purpose tasks.
  • Cleaver: A large, heavy knife used for chopping through bones and other tough items.

For more information, please visit The Kitchn’s guide to kitchen knives.

Types of Kitchen Knives: What They Are and What They Are For

  • Chef’s Knife: A large, versatile knife that can be used for chopping, mincing, slicing and dicing.
  • Paring Knife: A small, sharp knife for peeling and trimming fruits and vegetables.
  • Utility Knife: A medium-sized knife used for slicing small fruits and vegetables, as well as other tasks.
  • Boning Knife: A thin, sharp knife used for removing bones from meat and fish.
  • Bread Knife: A serrated knife used for cutting bread and other soft foods.
  • Cleaver: A large, heavy knife used for chopping and slicing through tough items.
  • Carving Knife: A long, thin knife used for slicing cooked meats.

Advantages of Using Kitchen Knives

  • Easy to use and maintain.
  • Versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks.
  • Sharp blades make cutting easier and more efficient.
  • A variety of shapes and sizes allows for different tasks.
  • Ergonomic handles provide comfort and control.
  • High-quality materials make knives durable and long-lasting.

Are you looking for the perfect kitchen knives to make your cooking experience easier and more enjoyable? Look no further! We have a wide selection of kitchen knives to suit any need, from slicing and dicing to precision cutting. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, our knives are designed to help you create delicious meals with ease. Click here to explore our variety of kitchen knives and find the perfect one for you!

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Thank you for visiting SpecialMagicKitchen! I am Tommy and I do all of the writing, recipe developing, and food styling for the blog and my wife.

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