Learn which knives you need in your kitchen, and which ones you can live without. Downsize your knife collection and minimize your evening dishwashing by paring down to these 5 essentials.
Confession time. I’ve organized a lot of kitchens. And I can honestly tell you that every single kitchen I’ve ever gotten my hands on had too many knives. Waaaayyyy too many knives. I’ve taken almost as many knives to Goodwill for my clients as I’ve taken clothes. Crazy huh?
Today I’m breaking down the five knives you absolutely need in your kitchen and the three specialty “knives” that are a good idea to add to your collection.
The 5 Must-Have Knives For Your Kitchen
1. A large all-purpose knife. These are typically known as a Chef’s Knife, but they have many names. I am OBSESSED with the Pioneer Woman Signature Knife and I use it every single day for anything except tomatoes and peppers. It’s my go-to hero for cutting everything from meat to veggies to cheese to nuts. You used to be able to buy it on it’s own, but now it’s only sold in her knife block set, aside from a few singles left on Amazon or in-store at Walmart.
2. A paring knife. This little guy packs a big punch. I use these Rada paring knives mostly for peeling fuzzy fruits like kiwi and peaches, but I also use them for slicing poblanos.
3. Steak knives. If you ever cook chicken or steak at home, you need a good set of steak knives. Now is not the time to cheap out, so splurge on a pricier set with great reviews. A good rule of thumb is to have double the amount of steak knives as you have household members. That way there’s always enough for guests, too.
4. A serrated knife. This is the go-to for cutting bread. They’re great for French bread rolls, ciabatta rolls, and sub rolls. And if you make homemade bread, you’ll need a serrated knife for slicing those market-clean cuts for sandwiches.
(If you’re not a bread person, or you have Celiac like me and buy pre-sliced gf bread, your 4th go-to knife will be a jagged paring knife for cutting veggies and fruits with tough skin.)
5. A meat knife. You know the kind. The long, pointy, sharp knife the entertaining chef at your favorite Hibachi restaurant uses to slice through that raw chicken like a stick of soft butter. They’re especially great when you buy bulk meat and cut them up into smaller portions for freezing.
Read More: How To Pack Kitchen Knives For A Move
4 Specialty “Knives” I Love
1. Tomato knife. My mom bought me this Rada tomato knife and I thought it was weird at first. Why do I need a special knife just to cut tomatoes?? Trust me, once you have one, you’ll never cut a tomato with anything else. Instead of a jagged serrated edge, it has a rounded, almost scalloped edge.
2. Vegetable Peeler. Ok, I know, a veggie peeler isn’t really a knife, but it kind of is. That paring knife is great for peeling, but try skinning 14 potatoes with a paring knife and you can kiss the feeling in your hand goodbye. A really good quality peeler is a kitchen game changer.
3. Kitchen Shears. Yep, another not-knife. But it does what a knife does, just faster, easier, and safer. I have two pairs of kitchen shears on hand. One for cutting meat like chicken for fajitas, and one for cutting veggies like chives and fresh herbs.
4. Cheese Knives. I serve a lot of cheese boards when we have parties, and I love to put out cheese knives and rounded-edge spreaders instead of a regular knife and fork. I’ve got everyday sets, holiday sets, and fancy hand-carved sets. They’re definitely worth keeping on hand if you like to entertain.
How To Store Knives Safely
If at all possible, store your knives in a drawer to avoid accidental damage or injury. Knife blocks on counters and wall magnets are great, but super dangerous if you have kids and pets. That knife block on the counter could get knocked down by a curious cat and go raining down onto your floor.
In our new house, we weren’t able to use the knife drawer organizer because it wouldn’t fit in the island drawer. And none of the other dividers on the market would fit either.
Lucky for me, I have a good friend with crazy-awesome woodworking skills. He created these wood blocks out of some trees that had fallen on his property to fit perfectly in my island drawer. I am so in love with them, and I’ll never go back to those plastic organizers again.
Stuck On How To Organize Your Kitchen?
Have you downloaded my Kitchen Layout Planner yet? I created this guide to help you set up a functional kitchen layout based on the shape of your kitchen. There are bonus tips for tweaks to make in brand new kitchens right when you move in, and how to change up the organization layout for an existing kitchen. This is the freebie you MUST have!