Essential Kitchen Knives

Essential Kitchen Knives Knives are the most important tool in your kitchen whether you are a seasoned chef or just dabble from time to time. Knowing this, we’ve compiled a list of the essential kitchen knives (and maybe a few others) to own if you are just starting out or if you are looking to just start over.

First things first. Those knife block sets can be a great value and they are pretty to look at. But, generally, you get more knives than you need or know what to do with. Better to spend a little bit more on the knives you need than get a deal on a set and only use three of them.

With these three knives, you should be able to accomplish anything you need to in the kitchen.

Chef’s Knife
A Chef’s Knife is your day in day out all-purpose workhorse. This is where you want to spend a little bit more for a high-quality knife. A high-quality carbon steel knife that has been treated well can last for decades. This knife is used to chop, julienne, or slice. You can use it to carve up a turkey or quickly slice up a watermelon. It should be strong but lightweight and feel comfortable in your hand. They can be 8 or 10 inches long depending on your preference.

Bread Knife
Also called a serrated knife, a bread knife is great at slicing rustic loaves of crusty bread. But, is also ideal for slicing the heirloom tomatoes from your garden without squashing them. Bread knives tend to be super affordable. And, they hold their sharpness for a long time. They come straight or offset depending on your preference. Bread makers would benefit more from the offset version.

Paring Knife
Paring knives are for tackling the small jobs. They are usually 3 to 3.5 inches long and should have a lightweight handle. These knives are used for cutting berries, deveining shrimp, or any other job that requires precision. They are definitely on the list of essential kitchen knives.

Nice to Have
These are the knives that are great to have in your culinary arsenal, but you could make do without.

Boning/Fillet Knife
This knife has only on purpose, removing the bones from meat, poultry, and fish. Boning knives are usually 5 to 6 inches long and are the most flexible of any kitchen knife. A filet knife tends to be longer at 6 to 11 inches, are just as flexible, and are used mostly for fish. Fillet knives will have a definite curve to them and end in a sharp point.

Santoku Knife
This is the Japanese equivalent of the Chef’s knife. They tend to be a bit shorter at 7 to 8 inches long and can hold an edge longer than a traditional Chef’s knife.

These knives are large, heavy, and usually square-shaped. They are the tool of choice for butchery as they are designed to cut through bone. They can be straight-edged or curved. Their weight allows the knife to be “dropped” to make deep cuts easier on the hand and wrist.

Carving Knife
These knives are longer, thinner, and more flexible than a Chef’s knife and are designed to carve thin slices of meat off of larger roasts like turkey, ham, and roast beef. The thin blades allow for more control of the cut and the flexibility gives the cuts more precision.

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