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Cutlery Shapes & Uses

Whether you're slicing an apple or boning a chicken, the right knife for the task at hand makes life easier (and safer) in the kitchen. We recommend that a complete knife collection include the following items.

  • Chef's Knife

    Use:

    Among the most versatile knives, this is the knife you'll use daily for chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing.

  • Utility Knife

    Use:

    Smaller than a chef's knife but larger than a paring knife, this versatile knife excels at everyday tasks, from cutting sandwiches to slicing meat.

  • Paring Knife

    Use:

    This indispensable knife is handy for smaller precision tasks like peeling, trimming and slicing small fruits and vegetables.

  • Bread Knife

    Use:

    A serrated bread knife cuts soft, fresh loaves without squashing or tearing. It's also great for cutting tomatoes and citrus.

  • Slicing/Carving Knife

    Use:

    Use this knife to slice cooked meats, poultry and fish. Its long, thin blade ensures you can cut large pieces of meat into neat, even, thin slices.

  • Boning Knife

    Use:

    This narrow-bladed knife curves inward to give you precision control when you remove meat and poultry from the bone.

  • Meat Cleaver

    Use:

    Use this heavyweight cleaver to cut through meat and poultry bones with a single downward stroke, or to slice through firm vegetables.

  • Vegetable Cleaver

    Use:

    With a finer blade than that of a meat cleaver, the vegetable cleaver efficiently chops and slices produce, then aids in transferring it to the pot or bowl.

  • Santoku Knife

    Use:

    Combining the features of a cleaver and a chef's knife, this multipurpose knife minces, dices and slices.

  • Nakiri Knife

    Use:

    With a shape reminiscent of a slender cleaver, this Japanese vegetable knife has a straight cutting edge that excels at slicing when used in an up-and-down motion.

  • Honesuki Knife

    Use:

    The triangular blade and pointed tip of this Japanese-style boning knife make it excellent for working around the bones and joints in poultry.

  • Steak Knife

    Use:

    Serrated or straight-edge, steak knives, to be used with steak or other heartier meats, are the only sharp cutlery that are part of a place setting.

  • Tomato Knife

    Use:

    This knife slices tomatoes neatly, thanks to tiny serrations on the blade that prevent skins from tearing. It's also ideal for citrus.

  • Kitchen Shears

    Use:

    You'll find myriad uses for kitchen shears, from trimming pastry dough and snipping herbs to cutting twine and parchment paper.

  • Honing Steel

    Use:

    Essential for honing your knives so they stay sharp longer between sharpenings. The steel smoothes and realigns the worn carbon steel on the blade's edge.

Anatomy of a Knife