Choosing the Right Knives for Your Kitchen

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Unless you are chef or spent a great deal of time creating culinary masterpieces in your kitchen, you likely don’t pay too much attention to the type of knives you have. When you need to slice or cut, your only concern is on the sharpness of the knife. However, using the right knife for the job makes a big difference in terms of safety, efficiency, and results.
Knife Primer
Knives are kitchen tools just like your set of measuring cups. As with everything, using the right tool ensures a better job and saves time. As a silly example that makes the point, if you needed a cup of flour you wouldn’t use a tablespoon to measure out the flour you needed. You would grab your measuring cup. The same goes for using the proper knife for the job.
Knives come in all shapes and sizes. Short knives are best used for working with small food items held in your hands, such as when you are peeling a potato or slicing small fruit. A long bladed knife gives you a nice long even cut and is best for foods requiring a lot of cuts.
Knives are also manufactured in a variety of ways. The best knives are forged knives. They are made from quality metal and are strong and hold an edge. They are also long lasting so investing in a quality forged knife should last you for years. Stamped knives are cut from a single sheet of steel, maintain their sharpness, and are less costly than forged knives.
Picking the Right Knife
Following are some of my tips for collecting a set of knives for the typical cook:
Stay away from knife sets. Unless you know you are going to use every knife in the set you are better off foregoing the buy in bulk mentality. Put your money into a few knives that you know you will use.Ask yourself these questions. Do I need a boning knife? Do I even know what some of those knives included in a knife block set are for? If you find you are wondering about the purpose of a knife or how often you will use it then put your resources elsewhere.
Note the feel and balance. Pick a knife that feels good in your hand. Buy a knife that you can grasp easily and with a handle that won’t fatigue your hand. Before purchasing a knife, handle it first. Not all knives are made the same, especially when it comes to handles.
Choose an 8 inch cooking knife. If you want to put your money into one knife, you should put it into this one. This knife will be your workhorse. It has the length to slice well, the heft to mince, and the point you can use to core or pare. Keep it sharp and it will fill a variety of needs in your kitchen.
Pick a good paring knife. Most come with a 3 inch blade. Find one with a slightly longer blade to make it more versatile. The longer blade not only lets you still use it for peeling potatoes or apples, but also makes a good tool for slicing fruit, vegetables, or cheese.
Select a quality bread knife. Not to be overlooked is the utility of a serrated knife in the kitchen to cut bread. This equates to less wear and tear on your main cooking knife. You can also count on it to slice through tomatoes with nice even strokes.
Trisha Jefford has worked a variety of jobs across the food service industry from waiting tables to being a personal chef. She is a wife and mother of two wonderful girls who put up with all of her whacky taste testing. Trisha currently blogs and writes for EZ Cater a site specializing in finding you the perfect corporate caterer.

38 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Knives for Your Kitchen”

  1. Good to know. I use a paring knife for just about everything, because I’m lazy. But trying to keep it sharp is fairly pointless. Now that it’s nearly tomato season, it may be time to upgrade.

  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful article. I need new knives but it’s just overwhelming to shop for them. I cook on a regular basis but I’m not a kitchen gadget fanatic and I have no idea how good a knife is until I actually use it myself. This really will come in handy next time I’m at the store looking for one.

  3. i wish i had read this last year when i bought my knife set. i thought it would cover all the bases for me because i really was not much of a cook. I now dislike all of them, ive replaced a few but struggle to tell what is a good knife for me and whats not. Thanks for the tips i will be much more prepared when i go to get new knives, and i will avoid the sets this time. thanks

  4. Gotta keep this post bookmarked! I always end up buying the knifes on sale and not really knowing its purpose..great post!

  5. Thank you for this info, I have umteen knives that I can’t do a darn thing with! I will definitely look for a forged knife. I cut up a lot of veggies, and I really have difficulty with the knives I have, especially when it comes to cutting through carrots. Thank you. Vicki

  6. This is an awesome post. Great tips! The set I have now isn’t too great. Gonna go out & look today!

  7. This was so helpful!!! I need some new knifes, but I never know what kind to get. Thanks

  8. I use three knives in my kitchen. A chef’s knife that my daugther bought me for Christmas. A paring knife that I use for just about everything and a bread knife which I use to slice bread loafs. That is it. I needed to control the knife drawer!

  9. This is a great article. I don’t know much about the different types of knives and what they are all used for. My husband bought a beautiful set and we use all of them constantly.

  10. I never thought of using a bread knife to slice tomatoes. I’ll have to try that. Thanks for the tips!

  11. This is actually a very helpful post, thank you. When my husband and I got married we receieved a beautiful knife set, but there are SOOO MANY KNIVES!!! Goodness, how many knives does a person need! I like what you said about feeling the knives out, that’s important (these seem flimsy)

  12. I never used to pay attention to utensils and kitchen tools, but they really do make a difference. Thanks for the pointers!

  13. These are some excellent tips! I do a lot of from scratch cooking and know how frustrating it is when you do not have the right knife for the job or if the knife is not properly sharpened. Thanks for the ips

  14. Nice article, I could tell my mom about this. We used to not give attention of what knife we use in our kitchen, well now I know there are appropriate ones.

  15. Knives are So hard to shop for! I just bought the Pampered Chef for half the price by hosting a show. So far I really like them a lot. The handles are really sturdy an hills well. I hope they last me a while!

  16. I don’t know anything about knives but I know mine stink and I need better ones. Thanks for the tips on what to look for!

  17. This is such a great post and I was actually thinking about this the other day. Most knife sets you can buy don’t include all of the knives you’re wanting plus have several that you’ll never use.

  18. wow I have never reall paid this much attention about knives I used before. My dad is crazy about knives and is super picky and always getting on me about mine and how cheap and dull they are. These are some amazing knives and really are for specific things. I will have to look more serious about knife purchases and it will make my cutting and chopping so much easier because I love to cook and use knives a lot. ty so much

  19. Thanks, this is some great advice! I’ve been living with my just-out-of-college knives way too long now. Time for me to grow up!

  20. We have always bought knife sets, and yes, half the knives go unused. I am in the market for new knives, so I will definitely think about only purchasing knives I will use. Thanks for this post!

  21. Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips. I will be sure to remember this whenever I am shopping for new knives. Which i need to do. Thanks again.

  22. This is good information. Having a sharp knife is safer than having a dull knife, and having a good set of kitchen knives saves lots of time in the kitchen!

  23. I never thought about buying knives individually. I did buy a knife set and when I think about it I don’t use all of the knives in the set. It would have been cheaper to buy them individually.

  24. I just bought a new set of knives from amazon…I am not going open them until I move into my own apt (with no roommate)…but they have all of the essential knives. I am excited to use em 🙂

  25. It’s a very useful article. We’re moving, so I need to buy kitchen supplies, knives included of course.

  26. I never really thought about the right knives – or other utensils for that matter. These are helpful tips. Thank you!

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