The Three Kitchen Knives Every Cook Needs and the Four You Want in Your Drawer

The Three Kitchen Knives Every Cook Needs and the Four You Want in Your Drawer


Kitchen knives are an important everyday tool for every cook, and having different types of knives can make your cooking more efficient and enjoyable. But which knives do the most good? Here's a list of seven knives--the three you need plus four you should have in your drawer--we think will make you a better cook and help you have a better time along the way.


1. Chef's Knife

Every kitchen needs a good chef's knife, and if you have one "serious" kitchen knife at home, it's most likely one of these. Chef's knives are the one knife all others are compared to, typified by a wide 8 to 10-inch sharp blade for protein slicing, a broad heel for tackling thicker foods and a curved edge for rocking back and forth to chop veggies or mince herbs. We like the Victorinox 8 inch Chef's Knife for its sharp, stamped blade and slip resistant handle. For a true workhorse in the kitchen, the Wusthof Classic 8" Chef's Knife has a precision forged blade, full tang and full bolster. Buy Now

2. Boning Knife


When removing meat from around tough joints, ligaments and bones, a boning knife is what you need. With its narrow, curved blade, the Shun Classic 6" Boning/Fillet Knife is perfect for making precise cuts, getting into every nook and cranny and carving out every last piece of meat. You'll be surprised how much more you get out of your bone-in proteins with a knife like this, not to mention how good it looks on your cutting board. Buy Now

3. Utility Knife

Shorter and thinner than a chef's knife but longer than a paring knife, utility knives serve as an ideal middle man between those two kitchen regulars. They're perfect for peeling, dicing or coring fruits and vegetables, slicing cheese or sausages, and many other kitchen tasks. Serrated versions are good at slicing foods with tough skins and soft interiors, such as avocados or tomatoes, and we like the Shun Sora 5.5" Utility Knife for those jobs. If you're looking for a straight edged utility knife, the Shun Classic 6" Utility Knife makes quick work of trimming broccoli, slicing onions, peeling apples and more. Buy Now


4. Santoku Knife

Santoku knives are Japanese style knives characterized by wide blades and pointed tips. Compared to a heavier Western style knife (referred to generally as German knives), Japanese knives are known for their lighter weight and thinner blades. They're especially suited for paper thin slices. The Shun Sora 7" Hollow Ground Santoku is easy to maneuver and features indentations to keep food from sticking to the blade. In fact, Santoku means "three benefits" in Japanese, signifying chopping, dicing and mincing. Buy Now

5. Carving Knife

Also called a slicing knife, carving knives specialize in cutting meat into thin, uniform portions. A staple of the holiday dinner table, carving knives are known for their considerable length (longer carving knives are often easier to handle than shorter ones), narrow width and slim blade. The Victorinox 10.25" Granton Edge Slicer is a solid budget option and the Wusthof Classic 10" Super Slicer is the perfect pro-level choice. Buy Now

6. Paring Knife

Paring knives are short, sweet and to the point. Typically 3 to 4 inches, what they lack in length they make up for in precision. Built like a smaller chef's knife, paring knives excel at intricate cutting tasks as opposed to the heavy duty jobs a chef's knife can handle. The Shun Premier 4" Paring Knife in particular is easy to maneuver and control in tight spaces. For a more conventional knife handle shape, try the Wusthof Classic 3.5" Paring Knife. Buy Now

7. Poultry Shears

The final knife you need in your drawer is actually two knives put together. The All Things Barbecue Poultry Shears have a 4" stainless steel sharp edge and a comfortable, slip resistant handle. The curved blade is specially designed to snip through bones, making breaking down chickens and turkeys a breeze. Buy Now

What each of these knives have in common is they are a joy to use. When you can cut correctly and cleanly, you can work longer with less fatigue and your food will be more uniform and refined. Adding any or all of them to your knife collection will help you stay sharp in the kitchen for years to come.

Keep those knives sharp!