Knives 101: Choosing The Right Knives For Your Needs

Knives are one of those tools that are indispensable in every kitchen. From spreading butter on your toast to cutting fruits to slicing meat, your knives are probably one of the most, if not the most, frequently used tool in your kitchen. Apart from making it easier to prep your food, good quality knives also ensure a safer experience, and one that can potentially save your fingers!

Knives displayed flat on a table, with some vegetables and bread

Knowing which knives to use for different needs can be quite the challenge, given the fact that there are so many to choose from. However, understanding the uses of the different types of kitchen knives is a quick solution to step up your culinary game. That's precisely why we've come up with this article, where we'll be giving an overview of some of the most common knives that are available in the market, so that you can choose the right knives for your needs! 

Overall, there are 3 knives that are must-haves in every kitchen: chef's knife, serrated knife, as well as a paring knife. All other knives are optional, but are certainly good to have as they could make the cooking process much easier and more enjoyable. 

Essential: Chef's knife 

Using chef's knife to chop up some green onion on a wooden chopping board

If you could only purchase one kitchen knife, a chef's knife would be the one to purchase! A chef's knife is an all-purpose knife that can be used for just about anything and everything, from chopping to mincing to dicing to slicing. 

Ideal for Not ideal for 
  • Cutting meat
  • Cutting and dicing vegetables
  • Slicing herbs
  • Chopping nuts
  • Cleaving meat bones
  • Stripping meat from bones 
  • Carving dense meat
  • Slicing bread
  • Smaller precision tasks like peeling and mincing.

Essential: Serrated knife 

Using bread knife to slice bread

Also known as bread knives, serrated knives are another must-have in every kitchen. As its name suggests, it's great for slicing bread. However, serrated knives also excel at slicing tomatoes and slicing through cakes to create individual layers. In general, these knives are particularly useful for cutting foods that have different textures on their outer and inner layers, such as hard-crusted bread and tomatoes. 

Essential: Paring knife 

paring knives placed on cutting board with shallots  Paring knife being used to peel apple

Paring knives are likely one of the first knives that you were allowed to use in the kitchen when you were younger. They might be small but they can be used for a plenty of tasks! With a sharp blade that's rounded on the cutting side, these knives are incredibly useful in the kitchen, and are ideal for small prep tasks like coring, mincing, peeling, deveining and general cutting. Its small size also makes it the perfect knife for more delicate work that your chef's knife is too large for. 

Utility knife 

Utility knife being used to slice tomatoes

A smaller alternative to your chef's knife, utility knives have a thin and sharp blade that's perfect for more delicate tasks like mincing shallots, slicing herbs, cutting fish, cutting soft fruits and cutting cheeses. Similar to your chef's knife, a utility knife is great for virtually every, and any, kitchen task. Sized between a chef's knife and a paring knife, a utility knife is great for situations when you don't necessarily require the heft of a chef's knife and when a paring knife is too small. 

Santoku knife 

Santoku knife being used to slice carrots

Often termed as the Asian chef's knife, Santoku knives are great for chopping, dicing, and mincing. Unlike a chef's knife, Santoku knives have a thinner blade and are shorter, making them the perfect knives for cutting foods into fine pieces or butterflying poultry. In addition, Santoku knives are also particularly adept at creating very thin slices of foods, which can help to improve the overall aesthetics of your dishes. 

However, when it comes to chopping large meat bones or slicing bread or precision tasks such as peeling, you might want to use another knife instead of your Santoku knife. 


Cleaver knife being used to hack through bones

Cleavers are one of those knives that most people are terrified of using because of its broad and heavy blade, which can look rather intimidating. With its hefty weight and broad blade, cleavers are designed to hack through bones, to strip meat from bones. 

While a cleaver can do practically everything a chef's knife can do, it might not be an ideal choice for small or delicate slicing of vegetables or boneless meat, or for simple or quick cutting of pastries as well as other smaller and more delicate dishes. 

Chinese chef knife

Chinese chef knife being used to cut vegetables on round wooden cutting board

Might be mistaken for a meat cleaver but is actually quite different. Unlike a meat cleaver, a Chinese chef knife isn't designed to smash bones due to its thinner blade. A versatile and practical helper in the kitchen, this knife is great for all basic cutting tasks like chopping, mincing, slicing and dicing. With its large blade surface, this knife is also convenient for transporting finely chopped ingredients into cookware. 

Now that you've come to the end of this article, we hope you know have a better understanding of the different uses of specific knives. For any further questions regarding knives, feel free to reach out to our customer support team at or our live chat, and we'll be more than happy to provide any assistance that you may need! 


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