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A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Kitchen Knife

The knife is the absolute bedrock of any kitchen, but they can be a significant investment, and it’s important to know what each one is used for.

When some premium knives can cost three-figure sums, it’s important that you know what you’re buying and that you have a knife which does the job in every situation.

We’ve looked at the various types of kitchen knives and what they’re used for.


Paring Knife

A paring knife is a very small knife, which is used to the fussy and delicate little jobs in the kitchen such as deveining prawns, seeding chillies or removing the core from fruit.

These knives are usually used when you’re cutting an item in your hand rather than on a board, and are a useful tool in your arsenal for anything fussy!

Flexible Serrated Knife

These knives are primarily used when preparing and peeling citrus fruit, as well as for general vegetable prep.

Its serrated edge allows it to grip while it slices, meaning that it should be a durable knife which doesn’t need sharpening.

Bread Knife

These long, serrated knives are ideal for cutting through sandwiches and loaves of bread without squashing the crumb and are also good for cutting cakes too.

Many people also choose to use them as a carving knife if they don’t already own one.

Chef’s Knife

The chef’s knife is an all-purpose knife which can be used for a host of preparation, such as finely chopping herbs, chopping meat, or precisely cutting up vegetables.

The sizes range quite a lot so make sure to choose one which sits nicely in your hand, and that isn’t too big.

This is probably your most important knife, so feel free to splash out a little on one that’s a little better quality.

Carving Knife

While it might not get much use other than around Christmastime, a carving knife can be a nice luxury, especially if you still have a traditional Sunday roast!

Used in conjunction with a carving fork, the long and sharp blade of a carving knife makes it ideal cutting nice, even slices of meat.

Filleting Knife

The filleting knife is ideal if you prepare a lot of fish, with a flexible blade to help you make the perfect sweeping motion needed to fillet and remove any skin with ease.

Check out this guide from BBC Good Food for more information on how to fillet a fish for yourself.

Santoku Knife

This Japanese-style knife is finding its way into more Western kitchens, with its blunt end ideal for slicing, dicing and chopping.

One of its unique features is its ‘granton edge’ (the little marks in the blade) which are designed to help release very thin slices of food.

Boning Knife

If you want to debone your own cuts of meat at home, you’ll need a boning knife, which is narrow, like a dagger, to help cut through tough ligaments and tissue to remove bones.

We spoke to Kitchen Knives, who said: “There’s no need to worry if you don’t have a full set of kitchen knives, as a lot are used for quite specific tasks, so you might not always need them.

“Instead, we would say focus on making sure you have a really good paring, serrated and especially a chef’s knife as the basis of your collection, and then you can move on to more specialist knives if you wish.”


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