The following descriptions and images of knife types are general examples
only. Although the basics of each knife style is the same, manufacturers
have many variations of how each type of knife looks.
|Chef's Knife - Also
called a cook's knife. An all purpose kitchen knife that is used
for most types of chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing.
Chef's knives come various lengths of 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches.
The length of the knife you purchase is significant. The longer
the knife, the heavier and more difficult it will be to handle.
Small handed cooks should choose shorter blades while large handed
cooks will prefer longer blades.
|Carving Knife - A
knife with an 8 to 15 inch blade used for carving large roasts,
poultry, and filleting large fish. The blade edge of a carving knife
is either smooth or beveled. The blade should be large enough to
carve across the cut of meat, poultry, or fish in one sweep.
The blades vary in flexibility. A carving knife with a rigid
blade is used for slicing roasted meats; more flexible blades
for poultry; and the most flexible blades are for slicing smoked
pork and fish.
Carving knives are often sold in sets with a carving fork. A
carving fork is designed to hold the meat steady while slicing
and keep the hand safe while cutting. These forks typically have
two long, curved prongs.
Some manufacturers refer to carving knives over 9" as slicers.
- A small knife with a sharp blade that is generally three
to four inches long. It is easy to handle and works well for peeling
and coring foods. The blade is typically thin and narrow and tapers
to a point at the tip.
- A knife with a sharp edge and saw-like notches or teeth. The blade
of a serrated knife is 5 to 10 inches long. Serrated knives are
difficult to sharpen; therefore many chefs spend less on a serrated
knife and buy new more often.
A serrated knife with a long blade is used to slice through food
that is hard on the outside and soft on the inside, such as slicing
through the hard crusts of bread.
A serrated knife with a short, thin blade is intended for slicing
fruits and vegetables.
Knife - A small lightweight knife, which has a blade that
is generally 4 to 7 inches long and is used for miscellaneous light
cutting such as fruits and vegetables.
Boning Knife -
A knife with a thin short blade, typically 5 or 6 inches long,
used to remove the main bone within a cut of meat, such as a ham
or a beef roast. A boning knife will typically have a long narrow
blade for ease of manipulation around bones, that is rigid and
proportioned to the size of the bones being removed. Bigger cuts
of meat require a larger more rigid blade that will not be too
flexible and cause injury if it bends too easily, while smaller
meat cuts can be trimmed and boned using a smaller less rigid
- A knife consisting of a thin flexible blade, typically 6 to 11
inches long, used for filleting fish. The narrow blade enables the
knife to cleanly move along the backbones of the fish, in and around
areas adjacent to bones, and to evenly slice along the skin, removing
it easily from the flesh.
|Cleaver - A knife
with a wide rigid blade approximately 6 inches in length, which
tapers to a sharp cutting edge. This tool is used to chop, shred,
pound, or crush food ingredients and materials. The blade of the
cleaver is thick, somewhat heavy and well balanced with a beveled
cutting edge, which allows for ease of chopping through vegetables
or materials as hard a bones with the beveled blade. The flat blunt
side of the blade can be used to pulverize meat. If the handle is
flat on the end it may be used to crush seeds, garlic or other similar
ingredients. A hole is typically provided on the top end of the
blade to allow for ease of hanging this tool.
- A type of knife commonly used to prepare ingredients
for Asian food dishes. This knife is very similar to a chef's
knife with a wide blade that has a long straight edge curving
up slightly at the end. The main difference is that the santoku
knife has a wider blade that is thinner in thickness, shorter
in length, and curves up very gradually at the end providing a
straighter cutting edge. Constructed of stainless steel, this
knife will typically be expensive to purchase, since it is precision
made to be well balanced and well formed for ease of handling
and greater control. With a thinner blade than a chef's knife,
the santoku can cut smoothly and more precisely through dense
vegetables, which may have a tendency to provide more resistance
when using thicker width blades.
Versions of this knife are manufactured with either
a standard-edged blade or a hollow ground edge, also known as
a granton edge. The purpose of the granton style blade is to assist
with keeping particles from sticking to the knife edge as it chops
small bits of food as well as a friction reducer to provide less
drag when chopping, which enables easier and faster motion. Santoku
knives are used for chopping, dicing, and slicing foods into narrow
or fine pieces so they can be added as ingredients to enhance
the look or flavors of the various foods being prepared. This
knife also works well for butterflying boneless chicken breasts,
providing a manageability and ease of handling for the cutting
required to butterfly poultry.
- A knife used for cutting main courses such as steak and
chicken. The knife usually has a blade that is 4 to 6 inches long
and varies in thickness. Depending on the manufacturer, the blade
may or may not be serrated.
Knife - A knife that can be used to mince or cut foods into
smaller bits for seasoning sauces, soups, salads, and other dishes.
Mincing knives can be either single or double bladed to cut a variety
of foods into very small pieces. A mincing knife is also referred
to as a Mezzaluna, Mezzaluna chopper or Mezzaluna knife. Another
version of a mincing tool is the rolling mincer or rotary mincer.
This utensil consists of numerous circular blades, close together
mounted on a handle, enabling the user to roll the tool back and
forth over the herb as the blades do the mincing.
Single Bladed Mincing Knife
Double Bladed Mincing Knife
- A kitchen utensil that is used to pry open the hard shell
of an oyster or clam in order to remove the meat. Typically, the
knife will have a sharp, beveled blade that can be inserted into
the tightly closed shell to pry the shell apart. The blade is then
used to cut through the muscle and oyster membrane. A round shield
is built into the handle in order to keep the knife and hand from
going into or through the sharp edged shell.
|Devein Knife -
A kitchen utensil that is used to remove the large vein that runs
down the length of a shrimp. A fork can be inserted in the back
of the shrimp to pull out the vein or a deveining knife can be used
to cut a slit down the length of the shrimp. This tool is inserted
at one end of the shrimp and then pushed up through the entire body
to remove the vein and the shell at the same time.
- A kitchen utensil that is used to pry open the hard shell
of a clam or an oyster in order to remove the meat. Typically, the
knife will have a beveled edged blade that can be inserted into
the tightly closed shell, twisting the blade to pry the shell apart.
A round shield is built into the handle in order to keep the knife
and hand from going into or through the sharp edged shell.
|Grapefruit Knife -
kitchen utensil that is made for ease of cutting the meat of the
fruit away from the grapefruit skin when preparing a half grapefruit
for serving. There are several varieties of this tool available,
either single or double bladed, each containing at least one serrated
blade. The dual bladed knives have serrated blades on each end of
a handle placed in the center. The curved blade on one end is used
for cutting the meat away from the outer skin. The second blade
may consist of two closely aligned parallel blades or one blade
with a slit in the center, each used to cut between the lining that
separates the inner meat into sections. The grapefruit knife effectively
serves a good purpose of separating the meat sections of grapefruits
better than the average kitchen knife.
|Cheese Knife -
A kitchen utensil that is thinly shaped to cut easily through soft
or hard textured cheese. This knife may have a forked tip that is
used as a lifter for pieces of cheese as they are cut. This knife
may also be referred to as a forked-tip utility knife, which is
used as a bar knife for cutting through citrus fruits or spearing
garnishes for drinks as may be required for pickles, onions or maraschino
- A kitchen utensil that is used to score the chestnut prior to
roasting. By carving a line, a cross or an "X" into the
shell of the unroasted nut, it allows it to breathe during roasting
and to resist exploding as the steam builds up. The chestnut knife
is short shafted in order to keep the cut confined to the shell
without going too deeply to pierce the inner skin. When preparing,
place the nuts in a shallow pan and roast at 425 degrees for 30
minutes or slightly less. Following roasting, the knife can then
be used to open the shell to remove the meat. To remove the nut,
make a single score/cut fully around the middle of the shell. The
nut may stick to the skin, but should be adequately separated to
remove the nut easily.
or Peeling Knife - A knife used to peel, slice, trim and
dice small fruits, vegetables and cheese. The blade is curved and
usually 2-3 inches long.
||Slicer - A knife
used to slice cooked meat. The blade is long, typically 8-12 inches,
with a round or pointed tip. Depending on the manufacturer, the
blade may be flexible or rigid. Some manufacturers refer to slicers
under 9" as carvers.