The 3 Knives Every Home Cook Should Own

These knives can tackle all your cutlery needs while cooking!

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August 27, 2021

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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.

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