You really only need three or four knives in your kitchen: an 8″ or 10″ chef’s knife, a 3″ or 4″ paring knife, a serrated bread knife, and maybe a 7″ or 8″ Santoku. Those will take care of most of your cutting needs, but once you master those, you might want to supplement your collection with a few choice additions.
Cook’s Illustrated has rounded up some of the most useful blades beyond the essentials. You should click the link below to read the entire guide, but I cannot recommend the following three enough:
- Boning knife: If you do any sort of home butchery at all — like breaking down a whole chicken or duck — a boning knife is super helpful for removing delicate little tenderloins or trimming off silver skin. Cook’s Illustrated recommends this Victorinox 6-Inch.
- Kitchen Shears: Not really a “knife,” but I keep mine on my magnetic knife strip, so we’ll say it counts. These are not only great for chopping herbs and scallions; they can be used to trim pie dough, spatchcock a chicken, and easily cut bacon into beautiful lardons. These Kershaw Taskmaster Shears are a Cook’s Illustrated favorite.
- Meat Cleaver: There are two things a meat cleaver can help you with, and those two things are bones (think of all the delicious marrow!) and lobster. They’re also pretty great for hacking through large amounts of meat (or chicken wings!) while relieving some stress at the same time. Cook’s Illustrated high recommends this fancy one from Global, but if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable give the LamsonSharp Pro 33100 a try.
Of course, there are still those knives you shouldn’t bother with. Salad knives are pretty useless (just tear your lettuce by hand) and stay away from those pricey block sets.
Types of Kitchen Knives | Cook’s Illustrated
Photo by Ben Coombs.