What is a Paring Knife Used for?

Even if you don’t own a paring knife, you’ve probably seen chefs on TV holding them. They are one of the most important bits in a kitchen.

A paring knife is simple a knife featuring a smaller blade that can range between two to five inches, but mostly comes at about 3.5 inches. If your kitchen is decently equipped, there should be a paring knife in there.

If you want to be more clarified on what is a paring knife used for, you’ve come to the right place! Additionally, if you’re curious about the different types of kitchen knives because you think you’ve been using one for all your tasks on a daily basis, make sure to check this out.

What is a Paring Knife Used for?

In the simplest words, a paring knife is used for:

  • Peeling and cutting smaller food items. For instance, fruits and veggies.
  • Holding the food item in a hand and as you cut toward you, turn it.
  • Being the kitchen best friend after the standard chef’s knife.
  • Cutting neat edges in soft fruits and pastries with the serrated tip.
  • A bird’s beat knife efficiently removes unwanted bits like cores and seeds; it also makes designs.

Regular Uses for a Paring Knife

The small size gives a paring knife an edge in the control section. You have much better control while making delicate, small cuts in comparison to a big chef’s knife. Plus, it’s easier to hold and lighter, so you could casually operate a paring with one hand (which we don’t recommend with other larger knives).

The most common use of these knives is peeling the skin of fruits and vegetable, as well as removing unwanted bits. Think tomatoes, peaches, onions, and oranges. More fruits and veggies with hard flesh, like potatoes and cucumbers are easier for a peeler to work with, but if there’s none at hand, you could opt for the paring knife; should work just as fine.

For peeling using a paring knife, take your dominant hand and three or four fingers of it. Wrap them around the handle of the knife with the blade facing in your direction.

With the other hand, hold the food item and slightly turn it at an angle to cut off more skin than meat. The thumb can also be useful in keeping the fruit or veggie steady as you work. If you can pull off cutting in ring, the entire peel can be removed in one go.

A paring knife is also good in removing the core from specific vegetables and fruits – think tomatoes, strawberries, peppers). Additionally, smaller food items like shallots and garlic can be efficiently chopped before taking a chef’s knife to it for fine chopping purposes.

If there are meats that would do better with less fatty area, you can trim them off with your paring knife, and also slice open and devein a shrimp.

Paring Knives: Types 

A paring knife has some variations and they’re all good for different purposes. They’re typically categorized based on their edges, blades, and beaks. Let’s have a look at the most common types of paring knives.

Curved Blade

Majority of the paring knives will feature a slightly backward arched blade that offers the most control near the edge region and cleaner slices regardless of whether you’re doing it by hand or on a board. If you’re confused on which kind is the one for you, a curved blade is so versatile that it will certainly fit the bill.

Bird’s Beak

A bird’s beak paring knife is equipped with a smaller blade (two to three inches) and features a sharp inward curve. Delicate operation like making precise cuts or extracting seeds are tasks best done by these knives. Although quite specialized, the bird’s beak is great for making aesthetically creative decorative foods – like radish and carrot flowers. 

Serrated Blade

A serrated blade paring knife is the best for cutting into softer food goods like pastries. It’s equally good for fruits, ranging from the softer ones like berries to ones with toucher peels, like mangoes.

Size and Construction

Most paring knives will come with 3.5 inch blades, but you could definitely a get smaller one if you needed it.

Our recommendation is a sturdy, stainless steel blade. Handles have a better array to choose from, like wood – “prettier” but definitely costlier, or plastic – more hygienic and cheaper. Depending on your budget, you are free to make the pick. 

Usage and Maintenance Tips for Paring Knives

The basic way of cutting using a paring knife is to move it toward the body and move your thumb at the same time by the side of the food you’re cutting into, keeping the knife’s blade away from it. You could also use a cutting board when the need arises.

Sharpen it normally like you would with your chef’s knife with a honing rod or whetstone. Contrary to some prejudice, this significant reduces the chance of cutting yourself – quite a huge concern with paring knives. As you don’t need to apply that much force, it’s easier to not lose control of the knife or slip.

Ensure storing a paring knife similar to a chef’s knife – with the edge facing downward on a magnetic rag or in a block, or covered and placed in a kitchen drawer. You absolutely don’t want to miss this step if you don’t want to end up with an unpleasant cut in the middle of cooking.

Bottom Line

When shopping for a complete knife set, check to see if it includes a paring knife. Trust us; you need to get a paring knife, if not two!

Once you’ve gotten used to a paring knife, it will be baffling how you got by so many years without one. Happy and safe slicing to all the home chefs out there!