Innovative Uses For Knives In The Kitchen: Beyond Chopping And Slicing


Kitchen knives are valuable tools whether you are a professional chef creating your next masterpiece or a novice making the best home cooked meals. A quality knife can chop onions and vegetables, slice meat, and perform a whole host of cooking and food prepping tasks. Often, the trick to preparing the perfect meal is having the right kind of knife on hand. Let’s explore some innovative ways to get the most out of your kitchen knives.

Crush Spices With a Chef’s Knife

Fresh spices add flavor and distinction to a dish. You can use an electric grinder or a mortar and pestle to crush herbs and spices. Another option is to use your chef’s knife. Place the spices on a cutting board and press down with the flat side of the knife. With this method, you don’t need any extra appliances so you save on electricity and the need to clean another item.

Cut Bread With a Serrated Knife

Using the wrong knife to cut bread, especially a loaf that’s freshly baked or soft, can result in crushing the bread. A serrated bread knife is the tool you need to easily slice any type of bread, whether a baguette, bagel, or brioche. Bread knives are also useful for cutting even slices of pie or cake.

Cut Vegetables Fast With a Nakiri Knife 

If you’ve ever seen a Japanese chef cut through vegetables at a breathtaking speed, there’s a good chance they were using a Nakiri knife. This type of knife is one of the most efficient ways to chop, slice, and mince vegetables, garlic, and fruits. Its appearance is similar to a cleaver but smaller and more nimble.

Slice and Peel Smaller Items With a Paring Knife

A chef’s or other larger knife isn’t ideal for slicing garlic, peeling (such as potatoes or apples), pitting cherries, or other tasks that involve precise cutting of smaller foods. A paring knife is the tool that makes these jobs easier and safer. The blade of a paring knife is flexible, and generally between two and four inches. Experts use these knives while holding the item to be cut rather than using a cutting board, but be cautious as you perfect your technique.

Use a Boning Knife For Meat and Poultry

To properly debone or break down any kind of meat or poultry, you need a boning knife. This type of knife has a long, narrow, and often flexible blade with a pointed tip. The shape, flexibility, and sharpness of a boning knife make it ideal for tasks requiring precision. Aside from deboning, it’s good for skinning meat and cutting fruit. It also has less common uses, such as scoring bread or pastry dough and shaping cakes and pastries.

Leverage the Versatility of a Santoku Knife

Another useful addition to any collection of kitchen knives is the Santoku knife. This Japanese knife is notable for its fluted blade, which provides space that ensures food doesn’t stick to the knife. You can use a Santoku knife for many purposes, including chopping, dicing, and mincing everything from vegetables to meats.

The Many Uses of Kitchen Shears

Kitchen shears are, technically, heavy duty scissors rather than knives. However, they are more suitable than knives for many diverse tasks:

  • Break down meat. As noted, a boning knife is perfect for cutting through meat and poultry. However, shears are more efficient for tougher tasks such as removing the spine of a chicken or turkey.
  • Crack open nuts and shells of fish.
  • Cut tough vegetables such as raw broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus.
  • Open jars or bottles.
Power Your Cooking With an Electric Knife

While some traditional chefs might consider it cheating to use an electric knife, there are times when this modern appliance comes in handy. It operates much like an electric saw, allowing you to slice through tougher and larger foods such as a roast or whole chicken. It’s also a fast way to cut bread or a block of cheese.

Knives Help You Craft Artistic Culinary Creations

A kitchen knife can help you craft and carve dishes to make them more aesthetically pleasing. Today’s chefs take the time to make food look as good as it tastes. This includes attractive plating techniques, using foods of complementary colors, applying various garnishes, and even sculpting dishes into intricate shapes and forms. Using the appropriate knife helps you cut vegetables, fruits, desserts, and other foods into attractive and original shapes.

The Right Knives Enhance Your Cooking

You don’t have to be a professional chef to benefit from the wide assortment of knives on the market. How you use a knife is just as important as having the right blade for your purpose. Learning more about knives and how to use them helps you create more refined dishes, whether you’re cooking for yourself, your family and friends, or a room full of guests.


Marshall Bone is a writer, copy strategist and all-around stylish guy who has been following trends in GQ for more than two decades. Voted best-dressed both his junior and senior year, Bone has continued this legacy and can be found covering various topics from men’s fashion to self care and grooming. He enjoys reading and is based in the greater Los Angeles area.


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