Select Page

5 Different Types of Kitchen Knives & Uses – 2021 Chef List

5 Different Types of Kitchen Knives & Uses – 2021 Chef List

Excited about cooking & chopping? Check Zulily’s guide for different types of kitchen knife styles & their uses. Check top 5 styles for a better cooking experience!

Whether you’ve bought a knife set and aren’t quite sure what to use each knife for or you are investing in your first new knives, learning a little about the types of kitchen knives can change your cooking game. Not only can using knives correctly make your life easier in the kitchen, but it can also speed up your dinner prep and open you up to new recipes and techniques. If you do a lot of cooking, you might also find that using a great knife can keep your hand, wrist, and arm from getting sore. 

Once you find a knife you love working with, you can use it for almost anything. That said, using a knife specifically designed for its purpose can be a game-changer. If you find the many types of kitchen knives confusing, you’re not alone. There are dozens of different types of kitchen knives and even more sizes for each one. If you’re purchasing knives for the first time, a knife set can be tempting, but you can also piecemeal a knife collection one by one. Think quality over quantity: a few high-quality knives are all you need to get started. 

However many kitchen knife styles you have in your collection, the best tip to getting the most out of them is keeping them sharp. You have probably heard this before, but you would be shocked what difference it will make in your kitchen to keep your knives maintained. Just a few minutes and an inexpensive honing steel sharpening rod or sharpening block can make you feel like a top chef every time you chop! 


Chef’s Knife

A Chef’s Knife is going to be your go-to, superstar knife that you’ll use every day. It’s great for lots of tasks from cutting meat to chopping herbs. Its versatility makes this the one knife you should start your collection with.  

At first, I was a little intimidated by the bigger size of the chef’s knife, but once I got used to working with it, I understood the appeal. The broad blade of the chef’s knife is tapered to a point, which allows you to mince vegetables with the rocking motion that you see professional chefs use to chop quickly and accurately. The knife’s blade can range from six inches long to twelve inches – if you have small hands, you might prefer a shorter blade. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however, you should hold several lengths and brands to see what feels right. The perfect knife will feel like an extension of your arm! 

Since chef’s knives are used so frequently, look for one with a full tang. What is a tang? When you look at the handle, can you see that the blade extends the whole lengths and width of the handle? That’s a full tang. A partial tang would only extend part of the way, which offers less stability and durability. 


Santoku Knife

A Santoku knife is a Japanese style chef’s knife with a thinner blade. Its name means “three virtues”, which are slicing, dicing, and mincing.  Consider your regular chef’s knife a brute force instrument, while your Santoku knife is a precision instrument. The Santoku knife is often made with a hollow edge with dimples that helps food not stick to the knife, improving its speed and precision. Unlike your chef’s knife, the Santoku knife has a flat blade so does not rock on the cutting board.  

For a beginner, you probably need only one of these types of kitchen knives – a chef’s knife or a Santoku knife. If you’re looking to up your cooking game with different kitchen knife styles, though, they can each serve their own purpose.  


Serrated Knife

Many people know serrated knives as bread knives, but serrated knives can do so much more! The jagged edge of the blade allows you to saw through food without pushing down or squishing anything. In addition to bread and cake, these types of kitchen knives also ideal for produce with a waxy coating, like melons or tomatoes. You can also use a serrated knife for carving a turkey or similar meats.  

Though, different types of serrated knives are going to be best suited for these different tasks. Wide serrations help the knife slice through fluffy bread without smooshing it. Deep serrations are ideal for penetrating tough cuts of meat. And smaller serrations are great for soft ingredients, like tomatoes.  


Paring Knife

For small, delicate cuts, the paring knife is a must-have. In addition to practice cutting and peeling, you can use a paring knife for garnishes, slicing with total precision. Usually, the blade is three to four inches, thin and very sharp. You can also use your paring knife to trim fat off of meat or remove seeds from fruits.  

If you have a Santoku, you can do most of the precision cutting that paring knives can do, but you might feel more agile with the diminutive size of a paring knife. For small cuts like slicing strawberries or mincing garlic, a paring knife will feel just right.  


Kitchen Shears

Although kitchen shears technically aren’t one of the types of kitchen knives, they can be used in place of a knife for several tasks. Kitchen shears are one of my favorite items in my kitchen because I love cutting ingredients with them right into the bowl, pot, or pan. My favorite kitchen shears hack? If you’re cutting up sticky foods like sundried tomatoes, spray the shears with nonstick cooking spray for an effortless cut.   

The strong scissors can handle many different food types and are ideal for snipping herbs like green onion or loosely chopping salad greens. Many home chefs even use kitchen shears to cut pizza! Breaking down a whole chicken is another popular use for kitchen shears, and if you’re worried about germs getting caught in the shears, they are build to be easily disassembled for cleaning. Since you don’t use both hands with kitchen shears, they can be safer than using a knife, so a great way to start your kids in the kitchen!  


We hope you enjoy yourself today and keep checking back for ongoing tips, guides and great shopping!

About The Author

Michelle Stansbury

Michelle Stansbury is a San Diego-based blogger and freelance writer who writes about travel, food, cannabis, and relationships. Follow her Instagram @discoverwithmichelle or visit Eat, Drink, Be SD. Her work has appeared in national magazines like Marie Claire, Forbes, Cosmo, Reader's Digest, and Bustle.

Pin It on Pinterest