Which knives do I need?
If you’re just starting out in the kitchen, you really just need two knives in your drawer:
- A chef’s knife is the most versatile knife in the kitchen because it can be used for a variety of tasks, including chopping, mincing, and slicing. This knife has a pointed tip and a wide curved blade (8-inch is best) that allows the knife to rock back and forth.
- For simple tasks like cutting and peeling fruits and vegetables, a paring knife is perfect. It has a small handle and blade (usually 3 to 4 inches) with a pointed tip.
Cooks who are a little more comfortable in the kitchen may want to add a couple more knives to their drawer:
- A utility knife does a little bit of everything, from slicing to mincing to trimming meat. Its blade is shaped like a paring knife but is longer, usually 4 to 7 inches.
- Slicing bread is the primary task of a serrated knife, but serrated knives are also great for cutting rinds from melons and pineapple.
Anyone who is seasoned in the kitchen will appreciate:
- The santoku, a Japanese version of a chef’s knife. While it can perform all the same tasks as a chef’s knife, the blade has a less pronounced curve, allowing it to double as a slicer for meats.
- A boning knife. It does exactly what its name implies—cuts around bones! The narrow blade is specially designed to pierce meat easily and work around the contours of the bones.
- Another essential tool in the knife drawer isn’t a knife at all—it’s a quality pair of kitchen shears. They are indispensable for cutting whole chickens into pieces, but are also handy for snipping fresh herbs, opening packages and more. One pair is all you’ll need to purchase.