One of the greatest joys seasoned (and wannabe) home chefs can experience is unboxing a brand new knife and immediately cutting into a slab of meat or slicing vegetables razor thin. The effortlessness of plowing through prep work with a sharp knife tailormade for certain tasks is akin to reaching culinary nirvana. You see there’s no one knife that does it all. There are a number of knives every home cook needs in their kitchen.
So if you’ve planned on making a resolution this new year to maybe cook more or just whip up some healthier meals, there’s no better motivation than spending a little money on one of these high-quality kitchen knives. We’ve selected a range—from santokus to slicers—that’ll make your time in the kitchen more efficient and enjoyable. Here are the knives every home cook needs.
7 Knives Every Home Cook Needs in Their Kitchen
1. Kilne Chef’s Knife
Well-known and respected in Canada for bringing high-quality blades to consumers at affordable prices, Kilne just entered the U.S. market this fall—which is probably why you’ve never heard of them. Add this classic French-inspired chef’s knife to your roster. Crafted from German chromium-molybdenum-vanadium steel with a full tang—solid steel from tip to tail—makes this all-rounder strong and balanced. This knife does it all in the kitchen, from delicate cuts to heavy-duty chopping or slicing.
2. Made In Nakiri Knife
The Nakiri is a wonderful blend of a chef’s knife and cleaver. Supremely useful in the kitchen, it’s squared-off shape and straight blade (no rocker) makes it ideal for chopping and slicing veggies. Made in France by fifth-generation bladesmiths, it has an 11.5 inch total length and weighs only 7 ounces for awesome agility around your cutting board.
3. New West KnifeWorks 7″ Teton Edge Santoku
The Japanese santoku kitchen knife design has been popular in the West for decades now and it’s clear to see why: The multi-purpose blade configuration combines the best of traditional chef’s knives and a small cleaver to make it worthy of its name, which means “three virtue” of slicing, dicing, and chopping. This beautiful rendition, which is made in Idaho, has a blade crafted from high-performance S35VN steel that uses an etched rendition of the Teton mountain range in Wyoming in place of the traditional dimples, which help keep food from sticking to the blade while prepping. The super-tough handle is made from G10, a fiberglass epoxy composite that comes in multiple color combos.
4. Cutluxe Shinobi 12″ Slicing Knife
This massive knife might not be one you use every day (unless you’re running a barbecue restaurant), but when you need it, it’ll turn any big slicing jobs into easy tasks. The intricate 66-layer Japanese Damascus blade is forged from high-carbon AUS-10 steel that’s honed to a wickedly sharp edge using the traditional Honbazuke method, which is a three-step process that ends with a fine polish. The G10 handle offers a comfortable and ergonomic grip that’ll pull you confidently through any tough kitchen task.
5. Case 6″ Boning Knife
Not every knife in your block has to be some super-fancy, high-dollar purchase. You can still get great-quality knives at rock bottom prices, like this boning knife from legendary knife maker Case. A staple for thousands of butcher shops around the country, this classic blade is made from durable, long-lasting stainless steel that’s mated to a solid walnut handle. This simple-but-effective cutter will quickly debone everything from ham to venison and can even pitch in for some slicing duty.
6. Middleton 4″ Echo Paring Knife
Created by bladesmith Quintin Middleton, who makes bespoke blades for such culinary luminaries as Emeril Lagasse and Michael Antony, this light and nimble paring knife is a wonder to wield. It has a featherweight feel and an amazingly sharp blade crafted from a stainless steel called AEB-L, which is known for it’s toughness and corrosion resistance. The special steel also allows the blade to be forged to an extremely thin degree, giving it a delicate, deft feel when taking care of a multitude of small kitchen jobs.
7. Benchmade Table Knife Set
Toss out your old steak knives that are, by now, dull and uninspiring. Because when you slap down a perfectly cooked ribeye that’s slightly charred on the outside and red-pink on the inside, you owe it to the cow to cut into that meat with a worthy knife. This four-piece set—which is customizable—is made from Benchmade’s special SelectEdge stainless steel and comes with a small serrated edge near the tip for separating tougher cuts of meat like game. This versatile blade is also at home helping out with prep as it’s sitting on the table next to your sizzling steak. Intrigued but don’t need the whole set? You can also pick up a single knife for $160.
[From $600; benchmade.com]