Also called a cook’s knife, this is the most important item in a knife set.
The knife typically a broad blade tapering upward to a point, allowing the knife to rock back and forward for fast mincing. It’s about 6 to 12 inches long. A greater length usually translates to faster, easier slicing, but if you have small hands, a shorter knife would be easier to control.
The knife can be used for almost every task in the kitchen. It cuts tofu, chops squashes, dices tomatoes, and slices steaks. That is why it is the must-have item in every kitchen knife set collection, small or big.
Usually between 4 and 7 inches in length, the utility knife is most of the time treated as a mini chef’s knife. It can come straight or serrated, and is good for cutting vegetables and meat that are too small for a chef’s knife.
Utility knives often come with a scalloped edge for flexibility in cutting. It works perfectly for cutting soft as well as hard veggies, from tomatoes to squash. It is also very useful when you want to prepare lettuces, cabbage, and sandwich meat.
If you love making garnishes for your foods and drinks, the paring knife is a must-have.
A parer usually comes with a thin 3 – 4 inches blade and a very pointy tip. It can be used for cutting and peeling fruits, veggies, and trimming excess fat with precision and ease.
The most common styles of paring knives include the spear point, sheep’s foot, and bird’s beak, named after the shape of the point.
Basically a pair of scissors. Except that since they’re for various uses in the kitchen, from snipping herbs, cutting veggies to sectioning chicken and even outdoor work, the shears usually come with extremely strong and sharp blades.
Some shears that are designed specifically for fast cutting of green onion or other herbs may have more than one blade. However, the blades on those shears are usually thinner, weaker, and take more effort to sharpen than ordinary shears.
The boning knife, as you probably have figured, is used for separating meat from bone, making filet fish, and cutting up meat. It is also a well-loved item by vegetarian – a small one can be used place of a paring knife for peeling and trimming veggies.
Boning knives are typically about 3 to 8 inches in length, with slightly varying widths of blades. The blades can be flexi, semi-flexi, or stiff, with stiff blades being the most popular among home cooks due to the enhanced precision in the cut.
Bread knives are used for cutting bread, cakes, and sometimes meat, poultry, and seafood. They are designed in a way that allows you to saw through the bread without pushing down or squishing it.
Made to cut large chunks of bread, most of these knives are 7 to 10 inches long. The blades are usually narrow and always serrated, with big “teeth” along it.
The cleaver is usually the bulkiest and weighted knife in the kitchen.
A typical cleaver has a thick spine and a very strong blade, which allows it to cut through bones and meat in a chopping motion. It’s also very useful for chopping hard and thick materials such as squash or pumpkin.
The wide, heavy blade makes it ideal for pulverizing cooked or uncooked meat, poultry and fish, and crushing garlic.
Sometimes used as table knives, steak knives are small knives that are used for not only cutting meat and fish, but also cutting salads, other (mainly cooked) foods, and spreading butter.
Steak knives can come with serrated or non-serrated edges. Serrated steak knives are generally more popular, as they can stay sharp for a longer time without honing or sharpening.