The 3 Knives Every Home Cook Should Own

These knives can tackle all your cutlery needs while cooking!

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
August 27, 2021

Related To:

Whether you're starting fresh in a new home or are looking to revamp your kitchen with better, upgraded essentials, there are certain items any home cook can't go without — and that includes quality knives. Knife block sets are great if you're in the market for a full overhaul, but if you're looking for just the essentials, we've rounded up the top three you need. Here's why a chef's knife, paring knife and serrated knife can tackle just about any slicing, dicing or cutting task you have.

1. Chef’s Knife

As the name implies, a good chef’s knife (also known as a cook’s knife) is indisputably the most important knife to have in your kitchen. It’s a chopping workhorse, and this longer, wide-bladed knife can be used for just about any of your cutting needs. There are a few variables to consider when picking your chef’s knife including blade length and weight that fall under personal preference, but in testing we found Misen’s 8-inch Chef Knife to hit the ideal intersection of great value, design and sturdy construction. For someone who is looking for something more lightweight (potentially a beginning chef who is still honing their knife skills), we also loved Misen’s 8-inch chef’s knife. For the more advanced chef or someone looking for more weight in their knife (which is great for cutting through tougher foods like sweet potatoes), Wusthof’s Classic 8-inch chef’s knife is a great option.

2. Paring Knife

In terms of shape and construction, a paring knife is very similar to a chef’s knife, but they are about half the size of a chef’s knife with blades typically ranging from two to four inches in length. It tends to be designed for a smaller, more delicate task (like hulling strawberries, coring tomatoes and trimming vegetables). This knife is another workhorse you’ll turn to for a multitude of cooking tasks. Similarly to a chef’s knife, personal preference plays a big role when deciding which is best for you. While you’ll turn to these often, it’s not a bad idea to opt for a cheaper option that can be easily replaced as often as needed. But, in terms of tackling projects with precision and control, there are more expensive options, including Wusthof’s 3 1/2-inch paring knife, that are worth investing in.

3. Serrated Knife

While you might think to only use a serrated knife when slicing bread (which is an important and frequently-visited task as is), this ridged knife actually becomes an important piece of cutlery when used to its full potential. As a general rule of thumb, a serrated knife is best for foods that have a different texture on the outside than the inside (think tomatoes and crunchy baguette). They also work great for slicing through tender cuts of meat. When selecting a serrated knife, we recommend a longer knife to minimize the amount of sawing necessary. Ideally, your serrated knife will allow you to use light pressure to cut through foods without mashing or bruising the inside.

Related Stories:

Next Up

Where to Buy the Pioneer Woman's Instant Pot Online

Though many designs are sold out at Walmart, you can find refurbished models and other products online.

15 Convincing Non-Alcoholic Wines You Should Try

There is a non-alcoholic wine for almost all of your favorite varieties!

The Best Wedding Gifts Food Network Staffers Have Received

Sometimes the best gifts aren't on the registry.

The 14 Best KitchenAid Attachments, Explained

This colorful stand mixer is the jewel of your kitchen — don’t forget to accessorize it right to get the most out of it.

4 Best KitchenAid Stand Mixers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We tested all the KitchenAid mixer lines to find the very best stand mixers.

7 Best Chef's Knives of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We chopped, sliced and diced to find the top-performing chef's knives.

5 Inexpensive Kitchen Tools I Replace Every Year

Keep your kitchen in tiptop shape with a few new essentials.

Here's Why Inflatable Pools Should Replace Your Coolers This Summer

We think these mini pools are the functional and stylish secret to summer entertaining.

12 Best Coffee Subscriptions for Every Kind of Coffee Drinker

Never run out of your favorite coffee beans again!

The Best Spice Racks to Fit Every Kitchen in 2024

Whether you store your spices in the cabinet, on your countertop or in a drawer, there is an organizer to help!

What's New