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4 Types of Knives You Need to Buy Now

4 Types of Knives You Need to Buy Now


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After years of trial and error, cookbook author and culinary instructor Andrea Nguyen discovered Japanese knives upped her kitchen game and reduced strain. Here are the four knives she says you need to take meal prep to the next level.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

When you're shopping for a Japanese knife, shop by knife type. Well regarded, well distributed brands include MAC, Miyabi, Tojiro, and Shun. Or geek out on artisanal makers at chefknivestogo.com or knifewear.com. Prices vary a lot: $50 to $100 for a good petty; $150 to $225 for quality representatives of other kinds of knives.

Santoku

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Santokus are good all-purpose knives. A 7-inch santoku can handle many tasks with ease. Dimples on the blade help food release, but they're not a must. Our choice is Damascus Santoku Knife, which is available for $67 on Amazon.com.

Gyuto

This Western-style chef's knife is crafted with Japanese sensibilities. An 8-inch blade is good, but one that's longer offers greater leverage for chopping. Our choice is Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife, which is available for $130 on Amazon.com.

Petty Knife

A petty knife (aka utility knife) is versatile, like a petite chef's knife crossed with a pairing knife, and it's terrific for small tasks, such as chopping apples. Our choice is Yoshihiro Petty Utility Japanese Chef Knife, which is available for $60 on Amazon.com.

Nakiri

For veggie prep, buy a rectangular nakiri. Its straight cutting edge means you can't rock and chop with it, but you'll prduce precise, uniform cuts. Our choice is Kotobuki Nakiri Japanese Kitchen Knife which is available for $17 on Amazon.com.


The Next Knife You Buy Should Be a Santoku Knife (+ 9 of Our Favorite Picks)

Make quick work of slicing, dicing, and mincing meat, fish and vegetables.

Much like its better-known cousin the chef knife, the Santoku knife is a versatile workhorse that has a lot going for it. Much, much younger than most Japanese blade-styles, which can carry centuries of history and lore, these youngsters only date back to the mid-1900s. Designed as a multipurpose knife for home cooks, this handy tool has since gained popularity (and is commonly produced) globally. “Santoku” translates to “three virtues,” which can be interpreted in two ways: as reference to its adeptness with meat, fish, and vegetables or as a nod to its ability to masterfully slice, dice, and mince. Whatever way you slice cut it, this Japanese-style knife is a culinary jack-of-all-trades that’s bound to be a kitchen favorite.

Read on for how to pick the best Santoku knife for your cooking needs, skill level, and budget.

  • BEST OVERALL: Misen Santoku Knife, $65
  • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Mercer Culinary Genesis 7” Santoku Knife, $41
  • UPGRADE PICK: Shun Hikari Santoku 7” Knife, $300
  • ALSO CONSIDER: HENCKELS Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Santoku Knife 7”, $85
  • BEST MID-SIZED SANTOKU KNIFE: Mac Knife MSK-65 Professional Hollow Edge 6.5” Santoku Knife, $140
  • BEST LIGHTWEIGHT SANTOKU KNIFE: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 7” Santoku Knife, $51
  • UPGRADE PICK – LIGHTWEIGHT SANTOKU KNIFE: Global G-48 7” Santoku Hollow Ground Knife, $95
  • BEST TRADITIONAL SANTOKU KNIFE: Shun Premier Grey 7” Santoku Knife, $140
  • BEST LEFT-HANDED SANTOKU KNIFE: Korin Togiharu Inox Santoku, $119

Types of Material

Chef&aposs knives are primarily made from steel, and the two most common types are Japanese-style and German-style. While both are high-quality options, there are slight differences between the two that can impact functionality and maintenance. On the Rockwell Hardness Scale, which measures the durability of steel, Japanese steel is considered harder than German steel. As a result, a Japanese knife is typically more brittle than a German one, which makes it more susceptible to being damaged if dropped. In addition, a Japanese knife has a sharper angle, which allows for precise cuts. Meanwhile, a German knife has a wider angle and is often curved to allow for rocking cuts. And when it comes to maintenance, a Japanese knife needs to be sharpened more frequently than a German knife (we love this knife sharpener from Zwilling, $20). These differences are important to understand so you can care for your knives properly.


Santoku knife

With more of a straight blade, it has small indentations that make it easier for food to slide off. Like a chef’s knife, it’s also very versatile, great for chopping, dicing, and mincing ingredients, or slicing cheese. You can use it for just about anything you’d use a chef’s knife for both are great all-purpose knives.


A Paring Knife

When he began his paring-knife review, Daniel ran into a tricky situation. Though he considers his paring knife to be the second most important knife in his kitchen, he also doesn't use it very frequently. For dealing with small or delicate items, though—such as when you're peeling a shallot or halving a lemon—the smaller size of a paring knife is a huge help. Its narrow blade also lends itself to odd jobs in the kitchen, like testing to see if a roasted beet is tender or if a cake is done.

The main takeaway is that you shouldn't have to shell out too much for a paring knife. Own one, keep it sharp, but don't spend so much that you'll be reluctant to replace it when the time comes. Daniel's favorite affordable paring knife is the Wüsthof Pro. If you want to spend more and own something a bit different, he suggests choosing a Japanese upgrade, like this Tojiro DP 3.5-inch paring knife.


How to Buy a Knife

A good knife is a worthwhile investment. If you buy a quality one and take care of it, you will have it for a lifetime. A good knife will pay for itself over time. Cooking will be much more enjoyable, so you'll spend less money on restaurants and takeout. A good knife is also safer, so you'll spend less on bandages.

Before you buy knives, learn their anatomy. Knives are made up of four parts: the blade, the handle, the bolster, and the tang.

The blade can be made of stainless steel, carbon steel, high-carbon steel or ceramic. Metal blades can either be stamped (pressed out of metal) or forged (molded under high heat). Forged knives are heftier and tend to last longer, though stamped blades are useful for lighter work like filleting.

    Stainless steel knives are inexpensive, but cannot be sharpened once they lose their edge.

The handle can be made of wood, plastic, rubber or metal. Though wood can be beautiful, the other materials are more durable. The handle can either be riveted to the blade or molded around it. Riveted ones are believed to be the strongest, but the most important thing about a handle is that it feels good in your hand and you feel comfortable holding it.

The bolster is the thick ridge between the blade and the handle. It's standard on forged knives and rare on stamped knives. It's usually ground down towards the bottom to make sharpening easier.

The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle. "Full-tang" knives are made out of one piece of metal that extends all the way back to the handle. This is the heftiest and priciest option, but the tang shouldn't be a deciding factor unless you plan on regularly using the knife for heavy-duty chopping (say, bones).


Joanna Gaines Says Every Kitchen Needs These 3 Types of Whisks

Whether you're making salad dressing, gravy or whipped cream, you'll need the right type of whisk.

During the inaugural season of Magnolia Table, which is streaming now on Discovery, we learned many far-beyond-Fixer-Upper things about Joanna Gaines. First, that she loves a good snack as much as we do.

Second, that her family heirloom recipes go far beyond the biscuits, pies and chocolate chip cookies she sells by mail order from her Waco, Texas Magnolia Table store. (Fatayar and Lebanese Salad, anyone?!)

Third, both her TV set and home kitchen are (as we imagined) beautifully designed and well-equipped. But as we learned back in February when Gaines shared her top 5 kitchen essentials, few will break the bank. In fact, some of her MVPs are among the most affordable tools of all: "I would say the things I use the most are a wooden spoon and a whisk. Just super simple," Gaines told Architectural Digest.

And now she&aposs back on Instagram to remind us that "there&aposs a whisk for everything."


Boning knives, as the name implies, are ideal for preparing fish, meat or poultry when it is necessary to work around bones.

Boning Knives are usually between 5-6 inches and have a slim, flexible blade to provide greater control when working in small spaces.

If you plan on working with items like bone in cuts of meat or whole fish, you’d be doing yourself a huge favor by acquiring a boning knife.


Carefully hand-wash knives in hot, soapy water, using a cloth or plastic scouring sponge. Unless a knife says it is "dishwasher safe," wash it by hand. Dishwashing may be harmful to both the blade and the handle of the knife.

Immediately dry the blade and handle with a clean towel and return the knife to a storage tray or block, sometimes after rubbing a little cooking oil into the blade.

Always use a cutting board when using a knife. The best choice for cutting meats and poultry is a plastic (polyethelene) board. This kind doesn&apost warp or crack like wood boards can, and it is dishwasher safe.


These 14 Obscure Silver Cutlery Pieces Will Turn Any Meal into a Decadent Masterpiece

Number 10 will make you want to serve strawberries at every meal.

Look inside your silverware drawer and chances are you'll discover a strange fork with a very specific use. But the diversity and specificity of fork design is a relatively recent innovation. In fact, cutlery has rather rudimentary origins.

Once associated with a pitchfork (a symbol of the devil), forks were not commonly used in Europe until the 16th century. Even then, fork design consisted of two straight tines. During the 17th century, men and women began carrying individual cutlery sets, which were seen as status symbols, and fork designs shifted to include additional tines and a slight curve.

But the 19th century may well have been a golden age for silverware. Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, during which factories developed capabilities to make large quantities of silverware quickly and uniformly and the discovery of vast amounts silver like the 1859 Comstock Lode in Nevada, a profusion of silverware flooded the market in both Europe and the United States.

With abundant materials and manufacturing opportunities, artisans developed specialized, specific cutlery for nearly every type of food. Serving spoons for tomatoes and cucumbers? Sure. A fork intended solely for eating strawberries? Why not?

Simultaneous advances in refrigeration made elaborate at-home entertaining possible for the growing middle class, thus triggering demand for silverware and cutlery sets that included more serving pieces. With more edible novelties (like ice cream) came more need for silver utensils designed specifically for said food (enter the ice-cream slicer).

The enthusiasm for etiquette during the Victorian era only kindled additional creative cutlery innovation. Take the food pusher, for example, which young children used to push food onto forks and spoons instead of simply using their fingers.

At the beginning of the 21st century, usage of silver faded from fashion as entertaining at home took a more casual turn. However, the recent return of decorating elements like wallpaper, canopy beds, and fainting sofas may suggest a renewed predilection for things once considered to be old fashioned even among millennials.

Furthermore, as Birmingham, AL-based interior designer Heather Chadduck points out, using silver daily doesn't require hosting a fancy affair&mdashor even a lot of polishing. "I love the patina silver take on with regular use," says Chadduck. "And I always put it in the dishwasher."

One fun challenge for the silver shy? Try putting a piece to use in a new or unexpected way. For example, "We serve chilled soups in silver mint julep cups, and I also like to use them for flower arrangements on the bedside table," Chadduck says. In the meantime, let our primer on these 14 obscure silver cutlery pieces inspire the menu for your next dinner party.


The Chinese bone cleaver is specially designed for butchers and restaurants that mainly sell duck, chicken, and spare ribs. Just like the Chinese vegetable cleaver, they share the same shape the only difference is the steel type which is softer so that it won’t chip. Therefore a Chinese bone cleaver is less sharp but it is definitely a lot heavier so that you can chop through bones easier. Many Asians buy a complete duck or chicken as take away. The chef directly butchers the cooked duck or chicken in front of your eyes within 20 seconds.

A Deba is a Japanese bone cleaver that is designed to go through fish bones rather than spare ribs.