Nakiri vs Chef Knife: Which Knife Do You Need for Your Kitchen?

A knife is one of the most important kitchen tools you must use for every food preparation. You’re probably aware that different types of knives perform different functions. The Nakiri and Chef knives are part of them. While they are both used in the kitchen, they are not the same. Our comparison – Nakiri vs Chef Knife – will explain everything you need to know about the knives. 

Nakiri Knife Use

The Nakiri is widely known as a vegetable specialist. It’s a traditional Japanese kitchen knife mainly designed to slice, dice, and chop vegetables. You can easily get that from its name: ‘na’ refers to leaf while ‘kiri’ means to cut. Unsurprisingly, this knife is usually seen amongst lovers of vegetables, salads, and soups.  

Nakiri Knife Use

Moreover, the Nakiri is usually double-beveled. Its blade is sharpened on both sides. It boasts a flat blade profile without tip or belly and a straight edge that allows accurate chopping and push-cutting on the board as well as controlled fine cutting in the hand. Measuring 5–7 inches in length, this knife’s blade is typically sharp, thin, ultra-hard, and requires little effort to get the job done.  

Besides, sharpening the Nakiri isn’t demanding. This is an impressive attribute because you’ll need to sharpen the blade at some point. With a home-standard solution like a whetstone, you can sharpen your knife and restore its sharpness for seamless cuts.  

Like we stated earlier, the Nakiri is primarily used to chop vegetables in a vertical-only fashion. Also, this knife gives your knuckles enough room so they don’t get smashed as you chop your veggies.

Ultimately, it’s an exceptional all-around kitchen tool, but not ideal for heavy-duty cutting.  

Chef Knife Use

chef knife, just as its name suggests, is a traditional kitchen knife preferred by chefs for food preparation. This type of knife is the one you find in both domestic and professional kitchens due to its versatility. Essentially, it’s the general utility knife for most western chefs. 

Chef Knife Use

Furthermore, the chef knife generally ranges between 6 to 14 inches in length. Different countries have different designs for the knife. For instance, the German-style is deeply curved along the cutting edge while the French style has a straighter edge that curves up to the tip. The Japanese style has a flat cutting edge with a rounded curve at the end of the blade and the Chinese style is quite different and looks like a cleaver.  

Besides, the chef knife is either forged or stamped. The forged variant is a product of skilled manual labor and is usually full-tang, meaning the knife’s metal runs from the knifepoint’s tip to the far end of the handle. The stamped variant, on the other hand, requires mechanical help. The blade of the chef knife is generally made of stainless steel, carbon steel, a laminate of the two metals, or ceramic.  

Like we hinted earlier, the chef knife is a multipurpose knife crafted to perform different kitchen tasks – not just one task. With a chef knife, you can chop vegetables, slice meat, and disjoint large cuts.  

Nakiri vs Chef Knife Features (Face to Face)

FeatureNakiri  Chef Knife 
Length 5-7 inches 6-14 inches 
Weight Lightweight Lightweight 
Edge Straight Straight, flat or curved 
Blade material Japanese stainless steel Stainless steel, carbon steel,
a laminate of the two metals,
or ceramic 
Construction Forged or stamped Forged or stamped 
Bevel Double Single 

Standout Features Between Nakiri vs Chef Knife

By now, we know about the basic functions of both the Nakiri and Chef knives and some of their differences are also glaring. But what are the standout features that separate them? When do you need a Nakiri? What do you need a chef knife for? These questions will be answered below: 

1. Chopping

There’s no doubt about this: the Nakiri is primarily crafted to chop veggies. So, it’s no surprise that it’s the natural knife to choose for chefs who want their veggies chopped right. With this knife, you can easily chop veggies such as cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, amongst others, to make your favorite salad or Honey Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots.  Although the chef knife can also chop veggies, it does not do it as well as the Nakiri.  

2. General Purpose

There’s a common reason why you will find the chef knife in almost every kitchen: versatility. The Chef knife is designed to cut through almost all kinds of foods. From slicing to chopping to dicing, it does it all in the kitchen. Not many knives can boast of performing almost every kitchen task. 

Even though the chef knife cannot cut through thick and large meat, but you can let the Butcher knife help you with that. Although the Nakiri is also ideal for most kitchen tasks, it’s not as versatile as the Chef knife.  

Conclusion 

When choosing between Nakiri vs Chef knife, it’s important to understand what your needs are. The difference in the knives comes down to blade shape as well as function. The Nakiri has more of an acute angle on its edge, which makes it perfect for slicing vegetables or meats with ease. The Chef knife, on the other hand, offers a variety of functions including chopping, dicing, mincing, cutting slices, and even smashing garlic cloves — making this option better suited for those who cook often.

Nakiri and Chef knives both come with their own set of advantages. The choice is yours to make, but you should choose the option that will better serve your needs while also considering how often you’ll be using it.

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