11 Different Kitchen Knives and Their Uses

When piecing our kitchen together, we may have all sorts of gadgets for making, baking and cooking simple and easy. One thing noticed with many kitchens are the lack of appropriate utensils used when cutting our poultry, meat, dairy and vegetables. If you are going to be a master chef, or at least, a moderately good one, let’s start with the basic knives needed in the kitchen to whip up delicious cuisine and ensure we are setting the table for dinnertime properly.

1. The Chef’s Knife

The Chef Knives

The Chef’s Knife is one of the most important knives to have in your kitchen. Why? It has multiple uses including slicing meat, dicing vegetables, mincing onions and chopping potatoes. This knife is sometimes called a Cook’s Knife. The blade is versatile because of its size. It can be anywhere between 6 to 12 inches long. The blade is wide and tapered up to the tip of it. Also called a cook’s knife, this is the most important item in a knife set.

To use this knife, simply rock it back and forth for faster mincing. The longer it is, the faster and easier you can slice. For those with smaller hands, you will have an easier time controlling your Chef’s Knife with a shorter blade.

It is a kitchen must-have knife!

2. The Utility Knife

The Utility Knife

The Utility Knife is cousin to the Chef’s Knife because it can be used for similar purposes. The difference is the Utility Knife has a shorter and thinner blade than the Chef’s Knife. It can range in size anywhere between 4 to 7 inches in length. The blade can come straight or serrated. Oftentimes, it has a scalloped edge for more flexibility while cutting.

3. The Santoku Knife

The Santoku Knife

The Santoku Knife is the Japanese style of the Chef’s Knife. In Japanese, “Santoku” translates as “three virtues.” It gets its name from its 3 purposes in the kitchen. Slicing, dicing and mincing.

Similar to Utility Knife, the Santoku Knife had a shorter and thinner blade than the Chef’s Knife. However, unlike both knives, it has a flat blade and a curved top. This makes it difficult to rock back and forth with it when cutting. It is ideal cutting thin slices of vegetables but not as beneficial for mincing food such as herbs.

Some versions of the Santoku Knife are made with a hollow edge. This makes it easier to reduce tearing and increase precision when cutting meat and sticky food.

Some cooks prefer the Santoku knife over the Chef’s Knife. It is a matter of preference but can be used in place of the Chef’s Knife.

4. The Kitchen Shears

The Kitchen Shears

Kitchen Shears are cook’s trusty pair of scissors. They are used for a variety of purposes in the kitchen because of their strong and sharp blades. Some kitchen shears come with more than one blade for quickly cutting food like chives and herbs. Typically, kitchen shears are used for sectioning chicken, removing fat and skin from meat, snipping herbs and cutting vegetables.

5. The Boning Knife

A Boning Knife

The Boning Knife gets its name from its main purpose. Separating meat from their bone. It can also be used to filet fish and cutting meat in general. For those who are vegetarian, it can be used in place of a Paring Knife when peeling and trimming vegetables because of its excellent precision.

Boning Knives blades are anywhere between 3 to 8 inches in length. The blades vary in width. Some are flexi and semi-flex while others are stiff blades. re typically about 3 to 8 inches in length, with slightly varying widths of blades.

6. The Bread Knife

The Bread Knife

Bread Knives are used for exactly what they are called, bread! This includes large loaves, bagels and cakes. Some cooks use it for meat, poultry and seafood. The flat upper edge and serrated bottom make it easy to saw through bread without tearing or squishing it.

7. The Cleaver

The Cleaver Knife

The Cleaver is a rare item in the kitchen, but many cooks love to use it. It has a wide, flat blade with a rectangular edge. The spine of it is thick and it is very strong. It also has a nice weight to it. It is used for cutting through hard and big items such as bones, large slabs of meat, squash and pumpkin. This is why you sometimes see it used as a weapon in horror films.

8. The Paring Knife

A Paring Knife

The Paring Knife is another popular knife to have in your kitchen. It is perfect for cutting herbs, fruit and vegetables. It can even be used to peel fruits, vegetables and to trim fat from meat. Their blades are anywhere between 3 to 4 inches in length. Usually they are thin, smaller in width and taper into a very pointed tip.

The Paring Knife is excellent for making garnishes and make cutting easier and more precise.

9. The Steak Knife

The Steak Knife

The Steak Knife is another popular multi-purpose knife. The two types of steak knives are serrated and non-serrated. The blades are pointed at the tip and when serrated, they are jagged at the bottom. Their handles are curved for comfort when cutting. They are designed to cut through meat, fish, salad and mostly cooked foods. Keeping them sharp is essential especially if you are using them frequently in the kitchen or at the dinner table.

10. The Nakiri Bocho

The Nakiri Bocho

The Nakiri Bocho Knife is another Japanese style knife. In Japanese, “Nakiri Bocho” translates to “knife for cutting greens,” because that is exactly what it does. It chops and slices through vegetables designed for longer food such as eggplant, cucumbers, carrots and celery stalks.

It is designed with wide blade and sharp, squared edge. The average size of a Nakiri Bocho Knife is between 6 and 7 inches in length. It is precise in making very thin slices from It features a thin and wide blade and squared off tips.

11. The Fillet Knife

The Fillet Knife

Last but not least is the Fillet Knife. It is similar to the Boning Knife but with a few slight differences. The Fillet Knife has a thinner, longer and more flexible blade than the Boning Knife. It is primarily used to cut thin slices of fish and meat. However, some cooks use either one when removing meat from bones and slicing meat.

If you are making sushi, sashimi or specific fish dishes, you may want to consider using a Fillet Knife over a Boning Knife for more precise cuts and ease of use.

Now that you know the 11 most common kitchen knives, you can prepare your kitchen properly for faster and easier food prep and better quality meals! Bon Appetit!