Cooking is a great way to add healthier meals to your diet. Eating a home-cooked meal can bring a family together and help the household chef relieve stress. It is essential to have the right tools for culinary tasks, and knives form an essential part of any kitchen setup.
A kitchen utility knife, not to be confused with a pocket utility knife, is a versatile knife used for anything from slicing and chopping to carving and paring.
Many are still unsure how to handle these knives properly, as they do not appear to fit in with a typical set of kitchen knives. The utility knife is perplexing since it does not serve a defined purpose and can seem unnecessary at times.
However, it can be the perfect tool for performing everyday tasks in your kitchen and may be one of the most versatile kitchen knives that is great for beginners, or those not wanting to invest a large amount of money in a large professional chef knife set.
Is the utility knife as useful as it claims to be? Continue reading to learn why it is an essential part of any kitchen setup, for beginners and professional chefs, and what a utility knife is used for in the kitchen.
The Essential Components of a Kitchen Knife Set
Before we begin describing the utility knife, it is helpful to review the types of kitchen knives that form part of the basic knife set.
1. The Chef’s Knife
Chef's knives are multi-purpose tools that have a wide range of cutting jobs. These knives have a thick blade that tapers to a point. It is ideal for mincing, dicing, and slicing, among other preparation duties.
Chef knives are also available in many sizes and have 8 to 12-inch steel blades.
2. The Paring Knife
A paring knife is a small kitchen knife with a short blade used for fine cutting, dicing, peeling, and mincing. It is short, precise, and sharp; and it has a small point at the end.
From peeling and chopping fruit and vegetables, to deveining prawns and slicing cheese, this adaptable knife may be used for a variety of meal prep activities. They have short-length 2 to 4.5-inch blades and come in many forms.
3. The Japanese Santoku Knife
Santoku knives are Japanese knives that have a 5 to 8-inch blade length. It curves downward at a 60-degree angle at the tip, and it can be used to dice, slice, and cut meat, fish, and vegetables.
4. The Serrated Bread Knife
Bread knives have serrated blades that are useful for cutting through crispy bread and are designed for cutting through various varieties of bread with ease. The offset handles on most bread knives are meant to keep the user's knuckles from touching the cutting surface.
Bread knives are commonly available in lengths ranging from 7 to 10 inches.
5. Carving Knife
Meat carving knives, with their long blades and sharp edges, are great for slicing cooked meats like roast chicken, smoked ham, and lamb. Carving knives have thinner blades than chef knives, which enables them to carve more precise, fine slices. They can also be used for a range of uncooked meats such as chicken, fish, and lamb.
Now that we have a basic idea of what a basic set of knives look like, and their various functions, we can now discuss what a utility knife is used for in the kitchen.
The Utility Knife
The star of the show is the kitchen utility knife. Cooking becomes a breeze with this item. Utility knives combine the functions of paring and slicing knives. It is a versatile culinary tool that is longer than a paring knife, but shorter than a chef's knife, and the handle is often made from wood. These kitchen knives are usually found in lengths of 4 to 7 inches.
A utility knife has a straight, sharp edge to provide precise, delicate cuts. It also has a pointed tip and is similar in shape to a chef’s knife. A great feature of utility knives is their fine blades, which offer great precision.
These knives, sometimes referred to as sandwich knives, come in both serrated and straight blade styles. They have scalloped edges, and slightly longer blades than normal paring knives. A sharp utility knife is an excellent instrument for slicing fruits and vegetables, and for meal preparation.
Now that we have an idea of what a utility knife is, we can now answer the question: What is a utility knife used for?
What Is a Kitchen Utility Knife Used for?
The utility knife is frequently chastised for failing to fulfill a specified function, or perhaps being redundant. The paring knife is the ideal choice for precise and delicate tasks. With its full-size blade, the chef's knife can handle most of the other typical chores, so what is the purpose of a utility knife?
1. It is Perfect for Slicing Hard Cheeses
The utility knife is used for slicing hard cheeses, especially if you do not have a cheese knife in your kitchen. This knife’s thin blade helps it glide through cheese with ease.
2. Sliced Vegetables
Medium-sized veggies, such as cucumber and zucchini, may be difficult to cut with a paring knife because it is too small. A utility knife can come in handy in this situation. These blades are designed for cutting through a variety of veggies, so you would not need a separate vegetable-slicing knife.
3. The Deli Meat Slicer
The utility knife is perfect for slicing through deli meats such as ham, salami, and summer sausage. The blade is the ideal length, and the straight edge of the blade should cut through these meats with ease. Slicing them is simple with a kitchen utility knife's fine blade.
4. Chop Fruit with Ease
Utility knives used for tasks like chopping or slicing a number of different fruits such as pears and apples can prove handy. It is neither too bulky, nor too small, and has a sturdy steel blade that makes it perfect for gliding through soft fruit.
5. Slicing Steak
Yes, you read that right. Utility kitchen knives are designed to cut through a steak. Tasks such as cutting meat are easy for this multi-purpose knife. Its serrated edge makes it perfect for cooked meats like steak. Many people often find that when serving up steak for dinner, they do not have enough steak knives.
Therefore, owning a utility knife can provide many benefits. It can be used as a substitute steak knife, so you never have to struggle to cut through your steak dinner.
6. Citrus Fruit
Utility knives are often used for cutting and squeezing fruit such as lemons, lime, and oranges. Citrus fruits with a larger size, such as grapefruit, are ideal for such a knife. Many are simply too large to be cut with a paring knife.
7. Cut Your Sandwich in Half
Since you have used a utility knife for cutting up your deli meat and vegetables, you may as well use it for slicing up your sandwich. The serrated edge of a utility knife mirrors that of a bread knife, so it cuts through bread with ease.
This is the reason why this knife is so often referred to as a sandwich knife because it can be used for chopping and slicing so many elements of a sandwich.
What to Look for in a Utility Knife
Investing in a high-quality knife is a must. This useful jack-of-all-trades knife can hold you in good stead for many years, as a solution for many culinary needs. Here is what you need to look for in a utility knife.
- The blade should have a sharp edge. A blunt blade could result in uneven cuts, and because the blade is so thin, forcing a dull blade through tough food could result in the knife breaking. You can make use of several sharpening tools, like the sharpening whetstone sold by Knives Etcetera to keep your knife sharp.
- A straight edge. A kitchen utility knife should also have a straight edge to prevent irregular cuts. A high-quality knife maintains a smooth, sharp edge for the most precise cuts.
- Hardened steel for the win. Steel is a durable material that makes for a durable knife. Especially when selecting a knife as thin as a utility knife, you should opt for a high-quality metal blade to ensure that your knife lasts long.
- Wooden handle. Wooden handles provide the right amount of comfort and stability.
With this in mind, we can now discuss the best kitchen utility knife to use in your kitchen.
The Best Utility Knife for Your Kitchen
Knives Etcetera has a fantastic, stamped utility knife made from high-quality steel. It is a knife of choice for many professional chefs around the world. The knife is lightweight, preventing pressure to the wrist joint while chopping vegetables, or slicing fish or meat.
The knife features a stamped blade that can easily be described as a work of art. This knife is incredibly sharp, has a beautiful shape, and is made from Damascus steel that promises a lifetime of value. You would never regret investing in this high-quality utility knife that can be used around the kitchen daily.
Utility knives are widely underrated and are seldom appreciated for their wide range of uses, and many great features. The utility knife used for many chopping, slicing, and dicing functions in the kitchen is ideal for beginners searching for a multi-functional kitchen tool.
When a chef's knife is too bulky for medium-sized veggies, the utility knife can be used. It also doubles as a steak knife, a paring knife for chopping up fruit, and a slicing knife; and is an essential tool that every kitchen should have.
Although these knives do not have a designated function, they were designed to have a range of functions. Be sure to invest in a good sharpening stone to ensure that your utility knife is ready to go every time you need it.