I plan on cooking pretty simple foods and will need a knife for things like stir fry, the occasional meat dish, soups, casseroles, basically just standard fare. What brand and type will get me good value and all-purpose use?


3 Answers 3


I recommend that you get a chef's knife or a santoku (both are general purpose knives), and a paring knife. For most western cooks who will be learning from western examples, the chef's knife may be the better choice.

These two knives will cover most needs. See:

Which knife is best for somone just learning to cook?

If you were to add a third knife, a serrated bread knife can be very useful for certain tasks (like bread, and perhaps unexpectedly, chopping chocolate).

  • This is the right answer. I'd recommend getting a larger (~4 inch) paring knife, because I think they have more utility, but those are the only two you really need. Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 14:17
  • How much should I expect to pay?
    – grayQuant
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 17:09
  • If you are only getting two, I'd say get a medium sized serrated paring knife along with a Chefs. Also don't forget a steel or means of sharpening.
    – NBenatar
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 17:27
  • @grayQuant Somewhere between $20 and $250, assuming you are in the US. There are huge variants in knife pricing, not all of which are quality related. elsewhere in the world, i cannot even speculate.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 17:27
  • If you're only getting two, ignore price, go to a good kitchen store and see what feels good in your hand and buy it. It's 2 knives you'll probably be using daily for a very, VERY long time.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 3:59

I have three: a santoku style all-purpose knife, a long bread knife (also good for grating/scraping), and a cleaver since I often buy meat in large chunks.

Brands aren't really important unless they offer something unique that you find desirable, but do spend more than $10 or you'll likely end up with something that won't last. A good knife is one that feels comfortable and has a decent rep. If you can satisfy that, then just like a guitar, it will get better the more you use it.

Also, get a honing steel to keep it in shape.


Just a Chef knife, and a pairing knife. However, make sure that you love working with them. I recommend that you get 2 or three of each, bring them home, and experiment on a potato or cucumber. then return the un-easy ones, and keep your favorite grip friendly ones. good luck.

  • I imagine some stores won't be wild about you returning a used knife; you can often make do with just feeling the weight of it in the store, how the handle fits in your hand, and imagining using it.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 16, 2014 at 5:38

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