In part two of our introduction to best kitchen knives series, we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the different types of kitchen knives you can buy. There are countless different kinds of kitchen knives out there, but there are really only a few basics you need to complete most cooking tasks – regardless of if you’re an old pro chef or just learning to cook.
In case you skipped part one, you can find it here: What are the best kitchen knives made of?
With such a wide selection of kitchen knives on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options, especially if you don’t know how to cook and don’t have a lot of experience with chopping different ingredients. Do you have to spend $1000 on a 583-piece butcher block set? Do you really need that cleaver designed specifically for taking down a water buffalo? Truthfully, you don’t – though the sales person at your local cookware store will likely tell you very different.
Before you go shopping for the best kitchen knives, arm yourself with some important knowledge so you don’t get sold on a bunch of expensive knives you don’t need. With a few carefully selected pieces, you’ll make short work of 90% of all kitchen work – and enjoy every second of it.
The three best kitchen knives to buy:
So, what are the best, most important kitchen knives to have for making dinner? I’d say you need three:
- a larger chef’s knife
- a paring knife
- a serrated bread knife
BEST Kitchen Knives: 8-inch Chef’s Knife
Of all the different kinds of kitchen knives, this is the one that’s most important. Seriously, it’s among the best kitchen knives you’ll ever need. A chef’s knife is your all-around workhorse. It’s the one you’ll use regardless of what you’re making, because it is made to cut almost every single thing in your kitchen. (Minus crusty bread and fresh tomatoes, which you’ll read about below.)
Chefs knives are made to do almost anything, and excel at chopping vegetables – a sharp chef’s knife will slice through winter squash with no problem and make short work of many meat cuts. A solid chef’s knife should be heavy, but not to the point that you’ll get fatigued using it for a long period of time. As such, it’s super important to try them out at the store before selecting a model.
Yes: Any reputable store will allow you to try out a kitchen knife before you buy. I know Williams Sonoma and Sur la Table have a special knife stations in their stores, complete with cutting boards and fresh veggies to chop. Seriously, if something is selling you something they claim to be one of the best kitchen knives on the market, they’d better let you try it out ahead of time!
Chef’s knives come in all sorts of sizes. 8-inches are the most popular, though you can find them in a range of 6- to 10-inches, depending on your preference. Just like their length, the weight of a chef’s knife can range all over the map as well. Wustoffs are serious, hefty blades, while Globals are lighter, thinner, and easier to wield. Shun knives tend to land somewhere in the middle when it comes to weight.
Which brand should you get? It completely depends on your height, the shape of your hand, your upper body strength, etc. Like I said, try a few different kinds of chef’s knives before you buy. And make note of the return policy of the store you bought it at, so you can exchange the knife if it doesn’t work out.
In case you’re wondering, I use a Shun Elite 8-inch, which I often swap out for a Wustoff 8-inch when I need some extra heft. I have a less expensive Victorinox 6-inch and 8-inch for when I travel. All four are awesome knives.
The paring knife is the second most important knife in your kitchen. Measuring in at between 2- and 4-inches long, paring knives are short blades with a pointy tip. Despite their dinky size, these versatile blades are an integral part of your cooking arsenal. Paring knives are great tools for scoring, peeling, de-boning, and anything else that requires a small point with maximum control. Navigating small areas is something you’ll do frequently as a home chef, and the paring knife is made with these tasks in mind.
I use my basic Wustoff 3.5-inch paring knife almost every single day. Victorinox makes a great 3.25-inch paring knife for really cheap.
Serrated Bread Knives
Serrated bread knives are the best kitchen knives for cutting anything that’s crusty on the outside and delicate on the inside. Think baguettes, bagels, and pineapples: you want something hard core enough to get through the tougher outer part while not obliterating the lovely fleshy bits. Serrated knives also make quick work of tomatoes and citrus, easily slicing through their teflon-like skin. They are literally the best kitchen knives for anything with a crust.
I use a basic Victorinox bread knife, which I bought for under $40. It’s a solid knife that never seems to dull. I’ve also used other, more expensive bread knives from high-end brands, and honestly, I did not notice a practical difference between my Victorinox and other models that cost upwards of $120.
Now that you’re aware of the three must-have different types of cooking knives, let’s head over to part three of this four-part series, where we talk about the many other types of kitchen knives.
This content was originally posted on FearlessFresh.com.