Did you know you only need 3 knives when cooking in the kitchen? Yep, you heard me correctly. THREE.
You may be thinking to yourself, “What about those beautiful knife block sets?” Yes, they’re beautiful. Yes, they have every knife you could possibly imagine wanting. Bu you actually only need 3 of the knives in that giant set. For much better value, take the hundreds of dollars you would spend on an entire set and invest that money in three really great knives.
What are the three magical knives I speak of?
- Paring Knife (or other smaller knife that fits you): A small knife comes in handy all the time in the kitchen. You’ll want it. Trust me.
- Chef’s Knife (larger, multi-purpose): This is the knife you will use almost all of the time, so make sure you love it! Knives between 6″ – 8″ are good sizes for everyday use. I prefer a chef’s knife around 6 1/2″. Also, you can choose the classic shape or the santoku shape. Classic-shaped knives curve up to the tip, while the santoku-style knives have a straight shape along the blade (see photo below). I prefer the santoku for my chef’s knife, but I like classic for paring knives. Neither shape is better than the other, it’s simply a matter of preference.
- Long Serrated Knife: You need a nice, long slicer for breads and meats. I also use this knife to help cut giant watermelons open! My super slicer knife is 10″ long, which has been a great length. If you’re careful about what surfaces your serrated knife touches, then the blade will stay sharper longer.
Be willing to invest in your knives. If you buy high-quality knives that feel good when you use them, you’ll use them for life.* Since you’re only buying three knives, you can bump up to a higher-quality knife than if you had bought a full set. It’s worth the extra investment! Stores like Williams-Sonoma will spend time with you, letting you feel and try out various knives. Go invest the time to see what you really love. It’s worth the effort!
Now, I know I said you only need three knives, but I do have 1 caveat. It’s always good to have a set of steak knives. These fall under the silverware category, but that said, I use my steak knives all the time when cooking, especially when cutting things like bell peppers and tomatoes. They are very handy to have around! Unlike the three cooking knives above, I don’t think more expensive necessarily equals better. My steak knives are super cheap but they cut wonderfully and are still going strong 15 years in! Just make sure that any steak knife you buy cuts well and doesn’t tear up the surface it’s cutting. Cheaper steak knives tend to do that, so be careful!
*Be sure to hone your knife with each use. Have your knives sharpened regularly, either by a professional or by investing in a good-quality home sharpener. Honing and sharpening will keep the knife in good form for years to come.