32 Types of Kitchen Knives1 min read

32 Types of Kitchen Knives1 min read

February 24, 2021 0 By Vasyl

Kitchen knife types include numerous blades of different shapes and sizes. Furthermore, many vendors try to add their own features that would distinguish their products from competitors. Such a huge diversity allows professional cooks to efficiently perform cooking tasks using the most suitable cutlery tool for each particular case. On the other hand, it becomes a nearly unsolvable problem for ordinary cooking enthusiasts to choose the right knife for their home kitchen. That’s why you can learn all types of kitchen knives and their meaning along with their destination in this post.

Cook's knives

Cook’s knives are the most frequently used knives in any kitchen. They can be divided into European, Japanese, and Chinese ones. When we mention cook’s knives, we usually mean the former ones. Also known as French or Western chef’s knives, European cook’s knives are multi-purpose tools suitable for cutting, dicing, mincing, and slicing meat, fruits, vegetables, and greens. They can replace many other types of cooking knives because of their long and wide tapering blades. The length of cook’s knives varies from 6 to 15 inches while their width usually ranges from 1 to 2 inches. They can be either stamped or forged which impacts their hardness, reliability, and durability. For instance, the best Wusthof cook’s knives have a forged full-tang blade. Chef’s knives also can have a full or half bolster protecting fingers from accident cuts.
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Wusthof Classic cook's knife 8 inches Wusthof Classic cook's knife

Chinese chef’s knives

Chinese cook’s knives are rather a separate type of knives than a chef’s knife subtype. Actually produced by cutlery brands from different countries, Chinese cook’s knife blades have a rectangular form and wide back that make these tools massive and heavy. Chinese cook’s knives usually are 7-8-inch-long and can weigh up to 1 pound. Along with their increased carbon content making Chinese cook’s knives harder, the large blade weight allows cooks to cut through bones. The features of Chinese food require a cook’s knife to be rather hard than precise since they usually include cooking products that are difficult to cut, for example, pumpkin, squash, or winter melon. A heavy knife helps you chop tons of food with its weight.
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Wusthof Classic Chinese cook's knife

Japanese cook’s knives

Japanese chef’s knives are the traditional principal blades for Eastern cuisine. Japanese, in this case, refers to a special blade shape rather than their brand origin. Compared to western chef’s knives, the Japanese ones have a more narrow blade with a more curved tip. Japanese cook’s knives have a nearly 90-degree heel and short bolster which plays the role of the handle extender rather than a barrier. They typically have a flat handle of the cylindrical shape. High-quality Japanese chef’s knives are usually thinner and harder than European ones which, however, may result in lower resistance to corrosion because of the higher carbon content.
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Kasumi Japanese Cook's knife

Santoku

Santoku is a traditional Japanese multi-purpose knife for cutting, mincing, and chopping products. Developed as a hybrid of European and Japanese cook’s knives, santoku blades combine the comfort of slicing of Japanese chef’s knives and the convenience of chopping of Western cook’s knives. Santoku knives have a wide blade of a sheep’s foot shape curving down at the point. The blade length varies from 5 to 8 inches while the most widespread value is 6.7 inches (17 cm). They also can have a half bolster reducing the chances of accident finger cuts. Some blades have a hollow edge that decreases the contact area of a blade and products, thus reducing their sticking to the blade and facilitating the cutting process.
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Wusthof Gourmet santoku 4188/17 Wusthof Gourmet santoku knife

Utility knives

Utility knives refer to kitchen blades designed for cutting fruits and vegetables. With their length typically ranging from 4 to 6.3 inches, these cutting tools are shorter versions of cook’s knives and can be used for small and medium cooking tasks. Utility knives occupy the niche between chef’s and paring knives, thus suitable for slicing meat and fish fillet as well when it comes to longer blades. They can replace a few other different types of kitchen knives providing less effectiveness in each particular case, though. The best utility knives can be forged or stamped, equipped with a bolster or without it, can have a smooth or serrated cutting edge, and straight or curved blade.
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Wuesthof Ikon Creme 6-inch utility knife Wusthpf Classic Ikon Creme utility knife

Paring knives

Developed for small cutting tasks, the length of paring knives varies from 3 to 4 inches. They are suitable for cutting tiny berries, simple decorative garnish, and mincing fruits and vegetables. Paring knives can have a spear point/spear tip or a sheep’s foot shape of a blade. They are useful in the cases where cook’s or utility knives are too heavy and too long that’s why they may cause some inconveniences. Paring knives are rather small assistants you will sometimes use to compensate for the clumsiness of long and wide blades.
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Wusthof Epicure paring knife 3 inches Wusthof Epicure paring knife

Peeling knives

Peeling knives are short kitchen tools that typically have a bird’s beak blade. This curved blade form allows a cook to easily peel fruits and vegetables by holding a product in one hand and manipulating the knife in the other one. The blade length of peeling knives ranges from 2 to 3 inches. Peeling blades are those assisting types of knives for cooking that rather make the process easier than do the main job. They can be replaced with special safer peelers.
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Wusthof Grand Prix II peelning knife

Trimming knives

Trimming kitchen knives are ones of the smallest blades for cooking. Like peeling knives, their length hardly exceeds 2-3 inches. They also have nothing in common with cutting because their blade has a convex right before a handle. This convex makes the contact of the cutting edge with a board impossible. Such a curved shape allows you to easily remove unwanted elements from fish, meat, or poultry. These elements include fin or skin remnants, nematodes, belly fat areas, and membrane.
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Wusthof Classic trimming knife

Steak knives

Steak knives are more effective tools typically used instead of standard dinner knives. Since steak may have different doneness levels, meat may be hard to cut with a dinner knife. This is where a steak blade comes in helpful. Steak knives have a standard length of 4.7-1.6 inches (12-14 cm). They have an upward curved blade shape that enables you to quickly cut a steak into tiny pieces. In knife sets, steak knives usually come by 4 items for each person in a family.
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Wusthof Classic Ikon steak knife

Carving knives

Carving knives are long thin blades used for cutting and slicing meat, fish, and poultry. Their blade length ranges from 8 to 15 inches (20-38 cm) while the blade width is smaller than cook’s knives and longer than utility knives. A more narrow blade reduces the contact areas, thus reducing the force required for efficient slicing. In addition, the blade spine of carving knives is thinner compared to chef’s knives to enable cooks to get thin meat slices. Equipped with a sharp pointed tip, carving knives allows you to get into and around joints and work around bones while carving.
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Wusthof Classic carving knife

Bread knives

Bread knives have long (from 8 to 10 inches or 20-26 сm) blades used for cutting bakery, large fruits, berries, and vegetables. They have a sheep’s foot blade with a serrated or wavy cutting edge sharpened from one or both sides. A serrated edge allows you to easily cut soft products with a tough peel or hard layer. The best bread knives are suitable for cutting bread, cakes, melons, watermelons, pineapples, pumpkins, etc. Serrated and wavy edges remain sharp for longer than smooth cutting edges under the same conditions. On the other hand, such a complex shape makes manual honing impossible.
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wusthof classic 20-inch bread knife Wusthof Classic bread knife

Cleavers

Cleavers are large, thick, massive, and heavy knives used for cutting animal carcasses. Intended for hacking through bones, cleaver knives have a rectangular-shaped blade with a broadening at the end to make the tip heavier, thus increasing the torque while swinging a knife and making the cutting process more effective. With a weight of 1-2 pounds and extremely hard cutting edge, cleavers enable butchers to efficiently cut carcasses with chopping blows while allowing a cutting edge to withstand repeated blows directly into hard bones, thick meat, and dense cartilage. Some cleavers may have a hole in the blade for hanging them on a hook since their large weight makes it inconvenient to store them on a magnetic panel, in a block, or special trays for knives.
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Wusthof cleaver

Chai Dao

Chai Dao is a Chinese vegetable cleaver designed as a hybrid of a cleaver and santoku knives. It usually has a wide blade with a length of 6-7 inches and a width of 2-3 inches. Chai Dao can weigh from 0.3 to 0.7 lbs. This knife is used for cutting through tough products such as celery root or beetroot. Chai Dao knives have an upward curved cutting edge like mincing tools which facilitates mincing and chopping vegetables. Like santoku, these knives can have a hollow edge to reduce product sticking to the blade.
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Wusthof Classic Chai Dao knife

Nakiri

Nakiri, also known as nakiri bocho, is a Japanese-style knife used for cutting and chopping vegetables. Like Chinese chef’s knives, nakiri knives have a rectangular-shaped blade with a straight cutting edge. On the other hand, nakiri blades are more narrow and their length is similar to santoku - 6-7 inches. Designed for a Japanese style of cooking, nakiri knives are best suitable for a chopping cutting technique rather than rock chopping. Their off-center center of gravity allows Japanese cooks to quickly chop cucumbers, carrots, okra, and other vegetables.
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Wusthof Classic Ikon nakiri knife

Boning knives

Boning knives are kitchen tools used for separating meat from bones. These knives have thin and narrow blades designed to be mobile and easy-to-manipulate between bones. They have an upward curved edge and a straight spine. Some boning knives may have a convex on their cutting edge near the handle which can play the role of a stop or barrier to protect your fingers from being injured by bones or their parts. The length of boning knives ranges from 5 to 7 inches. Their width varies from 0.8 to 1.6 inches.
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Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme boning knife

Slicers

Slicers are thin and long knives used to slice meat and poultry. It’s also suitable for slicing fish, vegetables, and fruits. Compared to carving knives, slicers are thinner and longer. Their length varies from 6 to 12 inches while weight ranges from 0.1 to 0.5 lbs. These knives have a traditional pointed tip when it comes to typical slicers like utility or European cook’s knives. Slicers also can have various shapes depending on their destination.
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Wusthof Silverpoint slicer

Salmon slicers

Salmon slicers are extra long, thin, and narrow knives used to slice salmon and other large fish. Their blades have a straight cutting edge and semicircular tip. The length of the blade usually varies from 11 to 15 inches. Salmon slicer blades are flexible which enables cooks to get the thinnest fillet slices from curved fish carcasses. Some salmon slicer blades can have a hollow edge that reduces product sticking and ensures the integrity of fist slices. Despite their huge length, these knives typically have a weight of 0.2-0.4 lbs.
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Wusthof Gourmet salmon slicer

Ham slicers

Ham slicers are kitchen knives used to slice ham. Like salmon slicers, they have a long, thin, and narrow blade with a semicircular tip and straight cutting edge. They also can have a hollow edge to reduce products sticking to the blade. Compared to salmon slicers, ham slicers have a shorter blade with a length of 9-11 inches. These tools can be either stamped or forged. The main difference between ham and salmon slicers is that the former ones have rigid blades that securely keep their straight shape, thus allowing cooks to slice tough and large ham pieces. In addition to knife-style ham slicers, they also can be designed as manual mechanical and automatic devices.
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Wusthof Classic ham slicer

Super slicers

Super slicers are long slender blades with a rounded tip. Compared to ham slicers, they have a similar length of 9-11 inches and larger width of 1.5-2 inches in the thickest part of the blade. Thanks to their long blades, super slicers enable cooks to slice across large roasts in one fast movement. These knives usually have a serrated or wavy cutting edge that smoothly cuts through tough meat like turkey or home poultry without tearing slices and they are also suitable for cutting bread and tomatoes since their edge doesn’t compress or squash products because it requires less effort to apply while slicing.
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Wusthof Classic Ikon super slicer

Roast beef slicers

Roast beef slicers are long and thin kitchen knives used to slice cooked meat. Like super slicers, they have a rounded tip as well. The blade length of roast beef slicers typically varies from 10 to 15 inches which allows cooks to easily slice large roast beef pieces with one swift move. Besides roast, these knives are suitable for slicing venison, fish, pork, and barbecued beef. They can have a serrated or straight cutting edge with hollows. Roast beef slicers are longer and narrower than carving knives because they are designed to work with larger meat pieces and intended to make thinner slices.
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Wusthof Gourmet roast beef slicer

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