Having all the essential knives in your kitchen is the key to everything. From dicing vegetables to slicing meat, having the right knife to work with is essential for anyone, either a hobbyist cook or a professional chef. So, if you are equipping your kitchen with all the essentials and wondering what knives you need, make sure you read this guide to the essential kitchen and cooking knives until the end. Let’s get started.
First on this list is the chef’s knife. It is literally the most important knife for any kitchen. If you are a hobbyist chef, a standard-sized chef’s knife should work just fine for you; however, professional cooks recommend an eight to ten-inch chef’s knife. The length might be a little hard to handle at first, but it’s the best you can have once you get used to it. A longer edge means the knife is more efficient.
Moreover, bigger blades are also safer to use.
A chef’s knife can cover almost 90 percent of your regular cutting and chopping tasks. You can use it for dicing or slicing fruits, meat, fish, and vegetables. Even though it can be used for most tasks, there are still some things that shouldn’t be done by a chef’s knife. For example, never use a chef’s knife to butcher boned meat or for carving poultry. It cannot be used for peeling large veggies such as butternut squash, either. And poking holes in a can is definitely not a chef’s knife’s job.
Even as a multi-purpose knife, the broad blade of a chef’s knife restricts it from performing tasks that a smaller knife can do better.
Paring knives are essential as they are helpful where a chef’s knife cannot help. A paring knife is actually a smaller version of a chef’s knife, as both knives have almost the same shape, but they are different in size. A standard paring knife has a blade ranging anywhere between two and four inches. This small blade works perfectly when you need to pay extra attention to the details.
Paring knives are great for mincing and slicing smaller vegetables, fruits, meat, mincing garlic, and slicing strawberries. You can also use it for trimming vegetables and peeling onions.
Remember that paring knives are not recommended for cutting hard vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots, and celery roots, as they are lighter than chef’s knives, so you will need to apply extra pressure on the knife to cut such things. The thumb rule for knives is that if you have to apply extra pressure for cutting or slicing something, the blade you are using is not the right one.
As the name suggests, boning knives are what we use for boning or cutting fish, poultry, or meat, regardless of their size. It can be a whole beef thigh or a tiny anchovy; any knife other than a boning knife would only ruin the whole task.
A boning knife is the easiest to spot because of its unique shape. Generally, a boning knife has a semi-flexible thin blade along with a finger guard for the safety of fingers. These knives mostly have a straight-edged 5 to 7-inch-long blade with a slightly curved edge.
Boning knives are specifically crafted for cutting between bones, ribs and joints, making it easier for you to debone any kind of meat. The flexibility in its blade allows you to work with it even when not cutting in straight lines.
Boning knives are used for deboning the meat, not for cutting “through” the bones, i.e., you cannot use them to chop bones. You’ll only end up with a broken knife. So make sure you only cut “around” bones and not through them.
Serrated knives, also known as bread knives, are primarily known for slicing bread. However, the toothed blade of a serrated knife can do a lot more than one thinks.
A standard serrated knife has a 6-inch-long toothed blade. Their tooth-like scalloped edge is specifically designed for cutting foods with a double texture, i.e., any food with a hard exterior and softer interior, such as a hard-crusted bread. A serrated knife works like a saw, and the toothed blade first rips apart the hard exterior and cuts through the soft interior just like a regular blade.
Serrated knives have the primary use of slicing bread; however, they can also be used to cut and slice vegetables or fruits with a waxy surface such as citrus, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, and pineapple. You can also use them for slicing cake layers as the toothed blade holds onto the cake crumbs without letting them go to waste.
Serrated knives should only be used for slicing and not for chopping or dicing foods because they only work efficiently when used in a swaying motion.
Factors to Consider While Buying Knives
While shopping for the essential kitchen knives, you’ll see hundreds of options, and it can be a struggle to choose the best one out of them all. However, you can compare the knives, depending upon these factors, and buy the best one.
The material of a knife matters a lot. It decides whether the knife is durable or not. Typically, high-quality knives are made of materials like high carbon steel, stainless steel, or a composite of both. However, knives made of these materials can cost a little higher, so you can go for cheaper options, such as ceramic knives, if you are on a budget.
Every knife wouldn’t feel right for you, which is why it is important to see which one suits you best. The weight of a knife is an important factor in determining if it “feels right in your hands.”
The thumb rule here is to see whether the weight of the knife sets right with your physique; for example, a person with smaller hands can never be comfortable using bigger or longer knives, while it’s normal for a person with bigger hands to use such knives easily.
How Much to Spend on Knives?
High-quality knives can cost more than 100 dollars, and the price is worth it because they last longer and save you from buying new knives for years. So if you are going to add these essential knives to your kitchen collection, try to get your hands on the best ones, even if they cost a little more.
Consider buying knives as an investment, not as a regular purchase, and you’ll know how beneficial it is.
Knives are a necessary part of every kitchen, but it doesn’t mean that you need to spend a handful of money on knife sets which include knives that aren’t even essential. We hope this guide to kitchen and cooking knives will help you get the right knives for your kitchen.