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How to Use Kitchen Knives

Created January 12, 2017

Kitchen Knives What to Use When

Just as there are foods for every taste, there are kitchen knives for every cutlery task. From chef’s knives, steak knives and paring knives, to carving knives, bread knives and cleavers, kitchen knives come in all shapes and sizes, and are used for all purposes.

Learn which utensil to use when. And visit the Betty Crocker Store to view and purchase knives perfect for any chef and any task.

Chef’s Knife

The most versatile of knives, the blade of a chef’s knife ranges from eight to 12 inches and is used for general chopping. But it’s heavy enough to mince and pointy enough to pare if need be.

Tip: If you can only buy one knife, this is the one to get.

Paring Knife

Usually three to four inches long, a paring blade is great for peeling, slicing or dicing fruits, veggies and cheese. Paring knives are great for smaller tasks where a large blade would be too cumbersome.

Bread Knife

This serrated blade is great for cutting loaves of crusty bread and is usually eight to 10 inches long. Using a bread knife puts less wear and tear on your chef’s knife. Serrated blades are also good for cutting foods that have different textures on the outside and inside, such as a tomato or meat, because less sawing is required.    

Steak Knife

This blade is usually four to five inches long and can be wide or thin, or serrated or smooth. Steak knives are generally used to cut through steak, chicken and other main dishes.

Utility Knife

Used for light cutting and slicing needs, this smaller, lighter knife’s blade is usually five to six inches long. Utility knives are ideal for pantry work, such as cutting and preparing lettuce and fruit.

Boning Knife

Great for separating raw meat, poultry or fish from the bone, this thin blade can be stiff or flexible. Boning knives are usually five to six inches long.

Carving/Slicing Knife

This knife has a long, slender, semi-flexible blade that is usually 10 to 14 inches long. Carving knives are used for carving large roasts, such as a turkey, or for filleting large fish.


This heavy, rectangular blade is 10 to 14 inches long and is used for heavy-duty needs. Use a cleaver for such tasks as chopping meats or cutting through bones.

Sharpening Steel

To keep your knife’s blade sharp and its edges aligned, stroke the sharpening steel utensil several times on both sides of the blade while holding the knife at a 20-degree angle. This useful piece of cutlery is usually 10 to 14 inches long and can be used after each cutting job.