When you set up your kitchen, you go through the list of things you need to have to make it functional—dishes, pots and pans, and cutlery top the list, but what about knives?

Table of Contents:

  1. Chef’s knives
  2. Utility knives
  3. Bread knives
  4. Carving knives
  5. Paring knives
  6. Steak knives

(picture here is the Wusthof Carving Knife)

In a kitchen, cooking really begins with knives. Without a decent knife in your drawer, it becomes much more difficult to prepare food than it should be. Cooking should be fun, and when it’s difficult to prepare food, you’re going to skip cooking and order out instead.

The beauty of having a great set of knives is that there is a knife for every task, and when you use a knife designed just for the task you’re taking on, you get through food prep faster and can be more creative in the kitchen.

Here’s a quick look at what type of knives are best for certain kitchen tasks.

A chef’s knife for chopping, slicing, and dicing

If you’re chopping celery, carrots, or dicing onions up into tiny pieces, you may opt for a one-size fits all chef’s knife. Known as the workhouse of the kitchen, a chef’s knife will be one of the most versatile knives you own, and it typically has a 8” long blade that’s 1.5” wide.

A chef’s knife generally comes with French or German blades. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two types of blades is that with a French blade, you’ll get a continuous curve all along the entire edge of the knife. With a German blade, you get a straighter cutting edge that curves at the tip. Some people will swear by one or the other as the best for thinly slicing vegetables or mincing, but it all comes down to how you prefer to cut.

Here are a few examples:

JA Henckels
chef-knife-kiritsuke.jpg Shun

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A utility knife to slice a variety of meat, fruit or vegetables

When you want to slice meat, fruit, or vegetables, a utility or sandwich knife will be your best friend. It comes with a straight-edged or serrated blade that usually measures between 4” and 7” long. You’ll get the most use out of this knife when you’re performing tasks like slicing up stew meat or cutting fruit.

Here are a few examples:

JA Henckels
Trisha Yearwood by Furi

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A knife to slice bread

There’s nothing as amazing as the smell of fresh bread. Although you’re going to want to slice it up and eat it right away, if you tried to do so with a knife other than a bread knife, you could end up with a crumbly mess instead of a nice, thin slice of bread.

A bread knife has either a straight or curved blade, and it’s designed specifically to slice straight through the crusty edge and melt right through the interior so you get the perfect piece of bread every time.

Here are a few examples:

Trisha Yearwood by Furi

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A knife to carve

When you put the effort into cooking a big family meal like turkey, roast beef, or ham, you’re going to want to make sure you cut the meat up into thin, even strips instead of hacking away at it and serving large chunks. That type of thin slicing calls for a carving knife, and with its long, thin blade, it lets you carve up meat like a pro.

Here are a couple examples:


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A paring knife for peeling fruit and skinning vegetables

When it comes to peeling potatoes or taking the skin off an apple, nothing is faster at this task than a paring knife. Paring knives are small, with blades that are typically 3” to 5” long, and are arched so they are great for peeling round fruits and vegetables. You can also use the sharp tip to core things like apples, green peppers, or tomatoes.

Here are a few examples:

Trisha Yearwood by Furi

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A steak knife to put on the table with your meal

Most knives are for preparing your food, but steak knives are handy to put beside your place settings when you serve a meal like steak, chicken, or pork. Steak knives usually come in packs so you can pick up a set and serve more than one person at a time, and the blade is generally 4” to 6” long.

Here are a few examples:

JA Henckels

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Choose the right knife for the job!

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When you break down knives into their specific tasks, it becomes simple to pick and choose which knives will work for you and for your kitchen.


You’ll find an amazing selection of knives, suitable for all your cooking needs online at Best Buy.

Additional material about knives:


Knives 101

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