Different types of kitchen knives


Many chefs' hearts beat faster when they see beautiful kitchen knives. The knives come in different shapes and sizes and each type of knife has its own task. After reading this blog, you will know when to use which types of kitchen knives.

A different type of knife for every task

The knife is an indispensable tool in the kitchen. You use it every day and you probably own several of them. It is important to know which knife you use for which job. When you use a good knife, it ensures efficiency and speed, but also the best result.

Before we explain to you what different kitchen knives there are, it might be useful if you also know what parts a knife consists of. A knife always consists of the same parts, but these parts differ in size or shape. By varying these parts in shape or size, knives are created that are very suitable for certain applications.

Parts of a knife

Each knife consists of a number of fixed elements. Before we can name the differences between the types of kitchen knives, it is useful to know which parts a kitchen knife consists of.

  • Spine of the blade: In general, the spine of a knife is straight and smooth. A ribbed back is usually used to descale a fish.
  • Blade: The blade determines the final quality of the knife. That is why an alloy of iron and other materials is used.
  • Crop: Important for protecting your hand, your fingers cannot simply slip off the edge. Also known as 'bump plate'.
  • Tang: The extended part of the blade to which the handle, head and pommel are attached. A good knife consists of one whole, a so-called 'full sting' where it extends all the way to the pommel.
  • Edge: As the name suggests, this is the part of a knife that is used to cut. It is the sharp part of a blade.
  • Crease: The beveled edges along the cut. The angle at which the fold is sharpened provides the typical cutting properties of a knife.
  • Heel: Back part of the cut. Usually this is only sharpened if the kitchen knife has a small head.
  • Handle: Part where the knife is held, handle. A handle can be made of different materials, for example wood, metal or plastic. A good handle ensures that a kitchen knife fits comfortably in the hand.
  • Pommel: The rear part of the handle, this part provides counterweight to the blade. An important part related to the balance of the knife.

The most important kitchen knives

An overview of the most commonly used types of kitchen knives.

Chef's knife / chef's knife

You should be able to find a chef's knife in every kitchen. You can recognize this type of knife by the sturdy and wide blade that ends with a slight bend to a point.

The high blade ensures that when cutting, the knife can slide along the knuckles of the hand holding the ingredient. This way you can cut quickly but safely.

A chef's knife has a sharp point, so that the knife can also be used for fine work. The knife is a real all-rounder and that makes it the most important tool of the chef. You can use it to cut vegetables, fish and meat, but you can also use a chef's knife to cut herbs. The length of a chef's knife can vary from 16 centimeters to 36 centimeters.

Santoku knife

San to ku is Japanese and means 'three benefits'. The Santoku knife is a Japanese chef's knife and can be used for processing meat, fish and vegetables and is therefore comparable to the Western chef's knife. The santoku has a wide blade and therefore requires a different cutting technique. With this knife you cut straight from top to bottom. So you always lift the knife from the cutting board. This is different from a classic chef's knife, which cuts with a rolling motion. Read more about cutting techniques .

Should you choose a regular chef's knife or Santoku?

Whether you should prefer a normal chef's knife or a Santoku knife is mainly a personal choice. The way ingredients are cut differs and neither type of kitchen knife is best. One thing is certain: no serious chef is without at least one of the two.

Office knife

The paring knife is actually just a smaller version of the chef's knife. Just like its big brother, it is a real all-rounder, but the paring knife actually excels in finer work.

The office knife has a narrow blade, a straight edge with a sharp point. The length of the blade is usually between 9 and 13 centimeters. You use this type of knife for peeling fruit or cutting vegetables.

Carving knife / carving knife

This type of knife is used for carving (carving) large pieces of meat. It is a long and sharp knife with which you can easily cut slices of ham or roast beef. A carving knife is best used in combination with a carving fork, so you don't have to touch the hot meat with your fingers.

Bread knife

Indispensable in the kitchen is the bread knife , which is sometimes also called a baker's knife or simply a serrated knife. The serrated blade ensures that this type of knife is ideally suited for cutting bread. The pressure of the knife concentrates on the serrations, so the bread will not be crushed when cutting.

You can also use this knife for other things than just bread. Cakes and cakes can be easily cut with a serrated knife. Various types of fruit, such as pineapple, melon and even pumpkin, can also be processed very well with this type of knife. A bread knife generally has a length between 20 and 30 centimeters. The spring is important because the longer the knife, the fewer cutting movements need to be made.


A paring knife (touring knife) has a characteristic curved blade. This helps you peel through round produce more easily. Officially, this knife is used for touring, which is a kitchen term for cutting a product, such as carrot, tuber or zucchini, into 'tons' so that it is the same thickness everywhere and can therefore be cooked evenly.

Which knives do you really need?

You will often find all kinds of knives in a knife block. Some knives are indispensable in the kitchen, other knives have a very specific task and are therefore optional.

The following kitchen knives are indispensable

  • Chef's knife or a Santoku knife
  • Office knife
  • Carving knife
  • Bread knife
  • Peeler

All other types of kitchen knives are more optional and especially useful to have if you regularly have a very specific job. You only use a filleting knife when filleting. If you never do that, you can do just fine without it. For example, you don't need a special tomato knife. You can use a sharp chef's knife, paring knife or a Santoku for this.

Therefore, make sure that you have at least the above essential types of kitchen knives. Then you can complete almost all conceivable jobs in the kitchen without any effort.

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