I used the same knife long ago to do almost everything I needed. I figured a knife is a knife, right? Then one day, a chef friend took me aside and showed me a few of her cooking tools, and I was blown away.
One tool in particular that I found impressive was the slicing knife. She also shared how using the right knife can save time and make your dish that much more delicious.
If you’re thinking of getting a slicing knife or, up until now, never knew such a knife existed, keep reading, and I’ll tell you what it is, its many uses, and much more.
What Is a Slicing Knife?
Many cooks have fallen in love with their slicing knives. It resembles a carving knife in many ways but works much differently.
The blade is usually long and thin with a curved or pointed tip that lets you cut clean and even slice without shredding or tearing. They are typically between eight to 14 inches in length.
Many chefs use these knives to create the thinnest cuts of meats, veggies, and fruits. Slicing knives are also helpful for cutting delicate pies and pastries.
The blades are incredibly sharp, allowing you to make precise, skinny slices through any soft foods such as salami, tomatoes, fresh fish, and bread.
The blade is usually very lightweight and flexible, and despite its sharpness, it’s never a good idea to use it for cutting hard objects such as bones.
The slicing knife is designed for delicate work. A cleaver or utility knife would be better for more demanding tasks such as cutting through bone.
What Is the Difference Between a Slicing Knife and a Carving Knife?
While carving and slicing knives can share the same appearance, they are used for two different purposes.
Carving knives have heavier, thicker blades designed to slice through and carve dense meats such as whole hams, turkeys, and roasts, while slicing knives can create thinner cuts of meats, vegetables, and fruits.
Types of Slicing Knives
But hold on, there is more than one kind of slicing knife, each with unique features that can make specific jobs a lot easier. Here are a few slicing knives you’ll find on the market.
Pointed-Tip Slicing Knife
Slicing knives with a pointed tip design are based on the sashimi knife or Gyuto, traditional Japanese blades used for creating thinly sliced fish portions.
However, this slicing knife has a double bevel edge, unlike its traditional influence. The design gives it the versatility to develop excellent thin cuts of meats like poultry, red meat, and fish.
Round-Tipped Slicing Knife with Scalloped Edge
This slicing knife is very similar to a round=tipped slicing knife, except it allows cold and moist meats such as ham to fall off the blade, so the slices don’t build up on it while cutting.
Round-Tipped Slicing Knife
This general slicing knife relies on its long length and straight edge to make long, measured slices. You can use this blade on meats such as boneless beef knuckle, joints, ham roasts, and turkey breasts.
13 Uses for a Slicing Knife
A good slicing knife can be used for so many cooking projects. Whether you’re cutting sandwich meat, salads, or snack platters.
The thin blade is designed to glide through most soft materials easily without tearing or breaking to create slices that can resemble sheets of paper.
Here are 13 ways you can use a slicing knife.
- Slicing roasts
- Smoked Meats
- Fish (especially salmon)
- Pastries such as pies
Choosing the Best Slicing Knife
There are many slicing knives to choose from, so I’m going to give you a few tips for picking the best slicing knife for your needs. Here are a few things to look for in a slicing knife.
When it comes to the blade, you want the metal to be high-carbon stainless steel. These blades keep a sharp edge much longer, wear down less, and are easier to maintain than other blades. As for the handle, you want to look at knives with either natural hardwood or heavy-duty synthetic composite handles.
But stay away from those that have cheap, flimsy, lightweight plastics. Last, you want a knife made using “full tang” construction, as this will add to its durability and strength.
Full tang blades extend entirely through the handle, and the blade will never fall out of the handle as those made with lower-quality designs can.
The blade design is what allows slicing knives to achieve excellent results. That’s why you want to focus on this area when choosing a knife, as any slight variation can completely change the suitability and functionality of the blade for what you need it to do.
The first thing to look at is the blade’s length. It will be challenging to maneuver if it’s too long, and if it’s too short, it will not create smooth cuts, meaning you’ll have to repeat a lot more strokes. The best length for a slicing knife is 10 to 15 inches. One rule of thumb is to purchase a knife that matches the length of the longest food you wish to cut.
The blade’s thickness is another essential feature to consider, as it determines how easily the knife will move and the thickness of the slices it creates. The more narrow the blade, the easier it is to move through, and the thinner slices it will cut.
Flexibility is another critical aspect, as the more flexible the blade, the greater dexterity you’ll have, which means you won’t have to use as much force while making your cuts.
Finally, balance and weight are essential. A blade that’s either too heavy or light can offset the weight of the bolster and handle. Finding the right balance will guarantee the best control and increase the knife’s efficiency and safety.
Aside from seeking a handle made using durable material, you should also look for one with a comfortable grip that will be more ergonomic. Unfortunately, you won’t have a chance to get the feel of a knife if you buy one online.
However, you can know how it will fit in your hand based on the shape of the handle you see in the picture. The ideal handle balances the knife and is neither too heavy nor light to operate.
The most prominent feature of a slicing knife’s edge is the absence or presence of indentations, which could be scallops or diples such as a Granton edge.
These indentations help to reduce friction on the sides, which serves to prevent food from getting stuck on the blade while you’re cutting.
You’ll find there to be a noticeable gap when it comes to the prices of slicing knives. But, as a rule, the amount you spend on a knife will reflect its quality. That said, budget options can work just fine if you don’t plan to use your knife that often.
You see, it isn’t like a chef knife that you might use every day, so you don’t have to spend much on the extra features. Just remember to settle for nothing less than a high-carbon stainless steel blade, and you’ll get the professional-quality results you desire.
FAQs about Slicing Knives
Below, we address some of the most frequently asked questions about what a slicing knife is used for.
What type of knife is best for slicing?
The answer to this question depends on what you are slicing and how thin you would like your slices. For thick slices of dense meats, you should use a carving knife. But, a slicing knife will do the job for thinner slices of more delicate meats, such as fish.
What is an 8-inch slicing knife used for?
You can use an 8-inch slicing knife for mincing and dicing vegetables, fruits, and meat and create perfect thin, long, uniform slices. It can also be used as a bread or chef knife.
What is a slicing knife?
A slicing knife has a narrow blade capable of creating the thinnest slices of meats, fruits, vegetables, and pastries.
How to hold and use a slicing knife?
First, position your food, ensuring you have plenty of room. Keep a firm grip on the handle using your dominant hand for better control when slicing.
Slice your food using even and steady strokes while keeping your fingertips curled; this will help prevent injuries if the knife slips.
Cut through the entire length of your food; this will ensure you get consistent and even slices.
To avoid tears in your food, only apply light pressure. If, for some reason, you feel your knife sticking, this means you’re probably using too much pressure.