How to Choose, Use and Care for Knives: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here's everything you need to know to buy, use and store knives.

Kitchen Essentials
A great cook needs a great knife, but you don’t need a zillion of them. These four essential knives are really all you need: (from left) an 8-inch chef's knife, santoku, serrated knife and paring knife.

Gripping Technique
Hold your chef's knife like a tennis racquet, with the handle resting between your thumb and index finger.

Chop Like a Pro
Use your other hand to guide the knife and steady the food with fingers curled under and knuckles against the blade.

Santoku Skills
The lightweight Japanese santoku knife is great for slicing, dicing and mincing vegetables, as well as slicing meat into thin strips.

Paring for Precision
A 3- to 4-inch paring knife is best used for small, detailed tasks, like hulling strawberries or peeling oranges.

Serrated for Slicing
A serrated knife rounds out a basic kitchen knife kit. A 7-inch deli knife is great for slicing breads, cakes and sandwiches. Use a sawing motion with light pressure. It's also great for peeling melon and slicing tomatoes.

Take Care
If you keep them out of the dishwasher and never store them in a drawer, your knives will stay sharper and last a lot longer. Watch our how-to video for more.