What Are Three Must Have Kitchen Knives?

If you’re new to the world of cooking, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of cooking utensils available.

Every cooking utensil has a different purpose, from wooden spoons to hand-held whisks. While these utensils are mostly versatile, it’s important to know their purposes and which ones are most important.

What Are Three Must Have Kitchen Knives?

If you’re moving out for the first time, whether you’re going to college or simply moving to a new state, you’ll need to know which kitchen utensils are most important to buy.

You don’t need to buy an entire rack of knives with a multitude of purposes if you can get away with using three knives for various uses. 

So, what are three must have kitchen knives? Here is our guide to the best three kitchen knives to own, so you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on an unnecessary high-end knife set. 

What Knives Do I Need?

There are three knives that every kitchen must have – a chef’s knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife (Which knife is the most versatile? Find out here). Also known as “The Big Three”, these knives provide cooks of any skill level all the tools they need to make a delicious meal. Here is why each knife is so important. 

Chef’s Knife 

Chef’s knives are believed to be the most versatile knife you can have in the kitchen. They can be used for a variety of tasks, such as dicing vegetables, slicing poultry, and more.

As the name suggests, the chef’s knife is a chef’s best friend in the kitchen, so it’s important that every kitchen has one of these available. 

There are different types of chef’s knives depending on where the knife was made.

Most Western chef’s knives originate from Germany or France, and consist of an 8 to 10-inch-long blade. The Japanese chef’s knives, however, consist of a shorter blade approximately 6 to 7 inches long. 

Not only this, but Western chef’s knives tend to be curved to allow for a smooth rocking motion while cutting, whereas Japanese chef’s knives have a straight blade.

Western chef’s knives are also generally heavier than Japanese chef’s knives, which is why the former is better suited for cutting through tough meat and bone. 

Both types of chef’s knives are designed to make the cook feel confident in their abilities in the kitchen. Whichever knife you choose comes down to personal preference.

All that matters is that the knife needs to have a sharp blade, a handle that is comfortable to hold, and it must create even cuts. 

Bread Knife

Professionally known as serrated knives, bread knives look similar to a small version of a saw. These knives are long, with a blade around 7 to 10 inches long, featuring a scalloped edge.

The serrated knife is designed to cut through foods that have a hard exterior and soft interior, such as bread, cakes, or pineapple. 

Bread knives are another vital component in a kitchen. You will struggle to cut through a crusty loaf of bread with a chef’s knife or paring knife – resulting in an uneven cut and potentially squishing the bread.

The bread knife, however, will effortlessly cut through the crusty exterior without squashing the fluffy insides of the bread. 

When choosing a bread knife, make sure to prioritize the length of the blade. It needs to be long enough that you don’t have to continuously lift the knife up and down. Instead, it should be so long that you can simply move it back and forth. 

Also, make sure that the knife has enough handle clearance. The last thing you want is to feel like you have no control over the blade. The handle should allow enough space for your hand to comfortable sit without touching the blade or chopping board itself. 

Paring Knife 

The paring knife is perfect for cutting smaller foods. This is a small knife that is likened to a smaller version of a chef’s knife, featuring a smaller blade designed for precise cutting.

It’s ideal for cutting small foods, such as strawberries, mincing garlic, tomatoes, and even peeling potatoes and apples. 

When looking for a paring knife, the blade needs to be strong and sharp. These knives are made for precise cutting, so you don’t want to feel like the blade is going to snap or bend while chopping food.

Also, the handle needs to provide a good enough grip for you to hold the knife in various ways, such as when using it to peel potatoes. 

The Big Three 

The reason why the chef’s knife, bread knife, and paring knife are called “The Big Three” is because of how versatile they are. While they have their own purposes, you can – more or less – use all three to cook whatever you like in the kitchen. 

What Are Three Must Have Kitchen Knives?

The beauty of cooking is that you can experiment with ingredients as well as utensils. So, whether you’re a complete beginner or consider yourself a true foodie in the kitchen, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive knife set.

Odds are, you’ll only need these three knives anyway. 

Let’s take a look at how you would use these three knives throughout the day. You might start your morning off with a healthy fruit salad, consisting of finely chopped fruits at the hand of your paring knife.

For lunch, you’ll make a sandwich using the bread knife to cut into a baguette with ease. You’ll use the chef’s knife for various purposes while making dinner, such as slicing the chicken breast and chopping the vegetables. 


So, there you have it! The chef’s knife, bread knife, and paring knife are undoubtedly the three most essential knives you will need in a kitchen.

Hopefully, this guide has shown you why these knives are so important, and why every kitchen needs a combination of these knives. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Most Chefs Use For Knives?

Professional chefs will use a variety of knives depending on the type of kitchen they work in. However, the most important knife in a chef’s knife collection is undoubtedly the chef’s knife. The chef’s knife is aptly named, as it is arguably the most versatile knife in their kitchen. 

The chef’s knife is said to be the most versatile all-purpose knife, as it can be used for basically everything – from chopping vegetables to effortlessly slicing meat into thin strips. 

How Should You Store Kitchen Knives?

The best way to store kitchen knives is in a knife block. Knife blocks are inexpensive blocks of wood that are designed to hold knives of varying sizes, protecting the blade from scratches or from becoming dull. A knife block also means that the knives are at your disposal when cooking. 

Another good way to store knives is in a drawer organizer inside a kitchen drawer. These organizers are good for keeping utensils separate from each other, which will prevent accidental cuts and injuries. Storing knives in these drawers also means that kids aren’t likely to grab them at any point. 

You can always invest in a magnetic knife bar, just like a professional kitchen. However, it’s not worth buying a cheap knife bar, as the magnet won’t be strong enough to hold the knives. You don’t want knives falling, damaging the blade or yourself.

Mark Williams
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