The Only 3 Knives You Need in the Kitchen

I love cooking, and one of the best parts of prep is having an excellent knife in hand that slices through meat, vegetables, and fruit with ease and precision.

You don’t need to shell out a good chunk of cash on a set of knives you’ll never use, in a wood block you don’t need on your counter to cover your cutting needs in the kitchen. Kitchen’s are already the home of too much clutter; leftovers pouring out of the fridge, cupboards full of snacks, a tool drawers packed to the gills with strawberry slicers and vegetable julienne peelers. Don’t add to the mess by having a bunch of knives you don’t need.

For most households three knives is all it takes to cover 99% of the cutting, chopping and slicing needs in the kitchen. First and foremost, a chef’s knife will handle most all-purpose knife work you throw at it beyond that a paring knife and a bread knife will take care of the rest.

8-Inch Chef’s Knife

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What It Does:

The chef’s knife is a large, versatile blade perfect for most any prep work, from sliving meat to chopping vegetable. If you’re willing to shell out a little cash, this it the knife to do it.

What to Look for:

You want a blade that is full tang, one full piece of metal with the two handle pieces pinned to the sides, as they are more balanced, sturdier and will last a lifetime if well cared for. Preferably your chose knife will be forged steel, heated and pounded into the desired shape, as they are heavier than stamped blades, blades cut from a large sheet of steel. Weight is good for balance.

Find a knife that is comfortable in hand and that has a good weight to it, you want heft when you’re chopping through firm vegetable like carrots.

Recommendations:

The Japanese manufactured Mac Knife Professional Hollow Edge Chef’s Knife is a great choice at $145. If you like the look of Damascus steel, the hand-hammered Shun Premier Chef’s Knife pictured above is both striking to look at and a great performer in the kitchen at $99. If you prefer a more classic and clean look, the forged Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro S 8-inch High Carbon Stainless-Steel Chef’s Knife is a great choice at $99, it’s seen almost daily use in my kitchen for several years and never lets me down. If you’re on a budget the Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife will be your go to knife, it’s stamped steel but that doesn’t stop it from having a place in tons of top kitchens. 

3- to 4-Inch Paring Knife

516pcghoxol-_sl1000_What It Does:

Paring knives are for smaller, more delicate knife work that a chef’s knife feels too large for, like mincing garlic, peeling apples, or hulling strawberries.

What to Look for:

There’s no need to go all out on a paring knife. The small size means balance and heft aren’t an issue. Just find something that feels good in your hand.

Recommendations:

The Opinel No 112 Paring Knife pictured above sports classic looks, a rugged wood handle and a very sharp blade out of the box for $10. Another great option is the Ikea 365+ Paring Knife, it looks great and is made from a single piece of stainless steel and it is also $10.

10-Inch Serrated/Bread Knife

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What It Does:

Serrated and bread knives are essentially the same (though serrated knives are offered in shorter lengths), these blades have pointed serrations similar to a saw. They are great for slicing bread without crushing it, but are also great for cutting cake layers, and slicing more delicate fruits and vegetables like tomatoes.

What to Look for:

Similar to the paring knife, you can definitely get away with a less expensive option. Don’t choose anything too flimsy and pay close attention to the size of the teeth. You want a knife with small teeth, it’ll keep the knife from tearing up the soft interior of your bread.

Recommendations:

If you want the best the Zwilling 10-inch Ultimate Bread Knife is where it’s at for $128. If you want a knife that will perform just as well with a just a little less going for it in the looks department and for $100 less, the Victorinox 10.25-inch Fibrox Serrated Knife is a great option at $30.