How to Buy Kitchen Knives

Sharpen your knife knowledge with these handy suggestions for buying knives, caring for knives and using knives

Taste of Home Food Director Diane Werner knows knives. "Spend your money on one or two good knives, instead of a cheap block of subpar knives," she says. We hope you find these blades—which Diane and her staff consider good investments—to be a cut above!

Chef's Knife: The most commonly used and most versatile knife. It's great for almost every purpose, from cutting meat to mincing veggies. Wusthof 8-inch cook's knife, $149.99

Utility/Paring Knife: This short knife is perfect for light cutting jobs as well as trimming and coring small fruits and vegetables. Chicago Cutlery 3-1/2-inch paring, $9.99

Bread Knife: The serrated knife cuts smoothly through crusty bread, angel food or chiffon cake and other delicate baked goods without damaging the soft center. Wusthof 8-inch bread, $114.99

Santoku Knife: Many cooks are fans of this lighter, thinner and shorter version of a chef's knife. The blade is perfect for chopping and precision cutting. J.A. Henckles, $126

Sharpening Steel: If you're investing in knives, you should sharpen them regularly with a steel. It realigns the knife's edge and removes slight irregularities on the blade. J.A. Henckles, $90

Knife Tips

  • Don't toss your knives in a drawer. Knife sleeves are an inexpensive alternative if you don't have a block or a magnetic strip bar for storage.
  • To determine if your knife needs honing, give it the paper test. Hold a folded but not creased sheet of newspaper by one end. Lay the blade against the top edge at an angle and slice outward. If the knife fails to slice cleanly, try steeling it. If it still fails, it needs to be ground with a knife sharpener.
  • Wash and dry knives by hand after each use. Putting them in the dishwasher or leaving them in the sink will damage the blade.
  • Wash and dry knives by hand after each use. Putting them in the dishwasher or leaving them in the sink will damage the blade.
  • If steeling won't do the trick, it's time to get your knives professionally sharpened.
  • Use your knives only on polyprophylene plastic or a wooden cutting board. Don't use knives on glass, ceramic, dinner plates or directly on your countertops.
  • Don't soak your knives in bleach water or other cleaners. Even weak chemicals can damage the metal of the blade.

Knife Techniques

Chicago Cutlery are available at Kohl's and Target. Henckles and Wusthof are available at Crate and Barrel, Macy's and Williams Sonoma.