The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Kitchen Knives

When you buy a knife set, you’re not just buying a single kind of knife. There are all kinds of knives within the set. These are the most used knives you’ll need in the kitchen or when eating food, but on top of these, there are other knives you may want to consider depending on what you’re doing and the kind of food you’re preparing inside the kitchen. Here are just a few of the types of kitchen knives and the variations of the knives you’ll want to consider.

Why You Need Different Types of Kitchen Knives

Before you get into breaking down the different types of kitchen knives, you need to know why it is so important to invest in them, even if you are not a professional chef. In fact, it doesn’t matter what kind of home cook you are, chances are, you’ll be preparing a selection of different foods over the years. These different foods will require the blade of different knives.

It is the blade that makes each of these knives different. Some blades are longer and taller. These will be used when chopping larger items from thicker cuts of meat to larger vegetables (such as onions). Other kinds of blades will need to be serrated. A serrated blade has wavelike ridges built into the knife. This is beneficial when whatever you’re cutting might catch, squish, or not cut with a flat blade. In many ways, you saw through whatever you’re cutting here. One example is a bread knife. So, even though you may not be on the market for dozens of knives, there’s a good chance you’ll need a few of these just to properly cook your food or prepare what you’re eating.

Chef’s Knives

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One of the most important types of kitchen knives you’ll have in the kitchen is the chef’s knife. It may also be referred to as a cook’s knife, but the two are one and the same. The blade is long, usually around eight inches in length, and has a width of around one and a half inches (although the length of the blade can vary between 6 and 14 inches, the standard chef’s knife you purchase will be about eight).

There are two styles of the chef’s knife you’ll find on the market. The first is a German style knife. The German style has a slight curve in the blade and runs to the tip like a gentle slope. The French style of the knife is a straight line until just before the tip. In many ways, it looks like a straight triangle (the Japanese style of chef’s knives are of the French style). One is not necessarily better than the other. It may just be a personal preference to what you’re looking for.

Purpose

The chef’s knife is a multi-purpose knife. It can be used from one item in the kitchen to another without swapping out knives. It very much is a utility knife and can be used for just about anything you do in the kitchen (although some knives will be better). It is similar in stature to the actual kitchen utility knife.

Utility Knives

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There is more variety in the kitchen utility knife than the chef’s knife. However, there are some specific differences. First, while the blade is longer than most other knives, it isn’t as set in stone as the eight-inch chef’s knife. In fact, it will usually be slightly shorter.

The utility knife also has three edge profiles. There is the French point, which is straight until it curves right at the end. There is the rounded point, so it doesn’t have an angle at the point but instead is a half-oval. And, there is the square point, which doesn’t have a point at all. Much like the chef’s knife, there isn’t necessarily a benefit with one over the other, and it comes down to personal choice.

Paring Knife

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This is basically a small version of the chef’s knife. While it isn’t used for meats and larger objects, it is an excellent utility knife for cutting fruits and veggies (like carrots or celery). There are times the larger blade will get in the way and slow you down. The paring knife makes it easier to get in and out.

Serrated Utility Knife

This knife may go by other names, including the sandwich knife or tomato knife. Usually, the serrated utility knife is four to seven inches long. In fact, it looks like a bread knife, but it is both sharper and shorter. Some tomatoes will not catch with a regular slicing knife, and there needs to be some teeth to catch on its flesh. The serrated utility knife works for this.

Slicing Knives

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When looking at the different types of kitchen knives, there is no “slicing” knife. However, there are different knives designed for slicing with varying names. Many of these slicing knives are used on different objects in order to obtain varying results. Going through each will allow you to identify the kind of slicing knives you’ll need for whatever you’re doing in the kitchen.

Boning Knife

When it comes to helpful types of kitchen knives, the boning knife is long and slender. It will stretch out between five and seven inches and usually has a very slender curve to the blade. It is designed to slide through the small areas connecting bones together. There are a handful of boning knives. A sturdy, long blade is for thicker cuts of meat, while a blade that bends is used for smaller bones, such as fish when your blade needs to be able to move about.

Carving Knife

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The carving knife is one of the longer knives you’ll have in the kitchen. It can measure all the way up to 15 inches. It is a longer and thinner version of your chef’s knife. The blade is also usually sharper, making it perfect for cutting pieces of meat. If you’ve been to a restaurant where the chef cuts off slabs of meat for you (like roast beef) they are usually using a carving knife.

Mincing Knife

Looking at the different types of kitchen knives, this knife has a very unique look to it. Instead of looking like a traditional knife with the handle and the blade extending outward, this has a handle on top and a curved blade below. This allows you to slice through vegetables by rocking the blade. This is a great tool when you want to finely chop up vegetables (such as when a recipe calls for the item, such as an onion or garlic, to be finely minced).

Peeling Knife

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A vegetable peeler isn’t always the best tool for peeling certain veggies and fruits. Plus, the blade on the vegetable peeler will dull, and sharpening it is a pain. This is where the peeling knife comes in. It has a short blade that curves down. In a way, it looks like a hook at the end. This kind of knife is designed to remove both the skin and blemishes from fruits and veggies. It may be used to make specific cuts in some vegetables to give it a specialized look.

Cheese Knife

This knife is designed for cutting through blocks of cheese. If you’ve cut through cheese with another knife before, you know the cheese tends to stick to the blade and makes it difficult to cut. However, the cheese knife has holes pushed into the knife. This helps prevent the cheese from latching onto the metal. Now, unless you’re buying large blocks of cheese, you probably won’t need this kind of knife. However, if you do use blocked cheese instead of sliced cheese, this is a great investment and one that will make cutting through those blocks much easier.

Fluting Knife

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This is one of the smaller knives you’ll come across, as the blade may be as small as two inches. Usually, it is used for peeling smaller items and for cutting out decorations. The small blade gives you more pin-point coordination when preparing your food.

Cleavers

The cleaver is the classic knife seen in old horror movies. It looks dangerous because it is a large, rectangular block. It is heavy and comes to a point at its base. This knife is only used for hacking through large pieces of meat. Typically, it is not the kind of knife you’ll need at home, at least unless you’re purchasing large sections of meat and need to cut it down into a smaller size. Outside of this, the cleaver isn’t all that essential in most instances.

Conclusion

There really is no limit to the types of kitchen knives available for your kitchen. Some of these knives you’ll never need as a home cook. Some knives mentioned here you may be able to leave at the store. However, having the right blade for the job is important. Whether you’re cutting through chicken or celery, the right knife will improve your ability to cut while speeding up the entire process at the same time. So, keep this information in mind the next time you’re in the market for new knives for the kitchen.

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