What Is A Paring Knife Used For?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 07/08/18 •  6 min read

Paring knives are used to handle cutting and slicing tasks that a chef knife would be too large for. With a small but strong blade and comfortable handle, chefs have a lot of control when using paring knives, making them ideal for precision cutting and slicing jobs.

Many chefs call the paring knife the “small, but mighty” kitchen knife.

The reasons paring knives have this name is because they are one of the most useful knives in the kitchen despite their size.

While home cooks don’t pay too much attention to paring knives, they are an essential piece in any cutlery collection.

With a blade that measures about 2.5 to 5 inches in length, it is one of the tiniest tools a chef has in their arsenal.

And in this article, we’re going to take a look at how chefs are supposed to use the knife.

We answer the question, “what is a paring knife used for?” and dive deep into its many uses in the kitchen.

Read on to learn more.

What is it anyway?

A paring knife is a small knife that has a blade of around 4 inches in length.

Some knifemakers create a smaller one with a 2.5-inch size (around 6.5 centimeters).

However, the preferred blade size is around 3 to 3.5 inches.

The paring knife is considered to be a small knife for general purpose use, where some might even use it to open a package.

It has the same build as a standard kitchen knife, but smaller.

what do you use paring knives for

The blade edges can be straight or serrated, while most homes prefer the straight ones for easier sharpening.

Some also choose the serrated ones because it stays sharp for a long time.

Since these knives are relatively cheap, you may buy a new one instead of sharpening them often.

A variation that can be considered a variant of it is the bird’s beak knife or the tourne knife, which has a blade-shaped as a beak (coming from its name) with a more pointed tip.

This model is usually used for garnishing and for thinly slicing small items.

Some sellers consider the boning knife to be a variety of paring knife too.

It usually has an ergonomic and large handle with a full tang, for additional comfort when used.

Some knifemakers make the handle with metal ends, which makes the knife capable of smashing small items like garlic.

(See more: best paring knives for your money)

What is it used for?

More than just for peeling, it has a lot of different uses too.

It can be used for loosening baked cakes from its tin.

Some at-home bakers prefer to buy fixed-shaped tins for cakes, instead of getting separate springform ones (the one with a lock on the side for easier release when opened).

Especially when creating cheesecakes, it can help loosen the cake without damaging the sides.

It can be done once the cake has been cooled to barely warm.

The small height with a thin blade surface makes it a useful tool for this purpose, especially on the rounded tins that will assist on the curved shape.

It works great for deveining shrimps as well.

Use the bladed edge to make a cut along the veins on the back of the shrimp.

Once you have clearly seen the vein, use the tip to lift it out.

You may also use the knife to peel shrimps, by poking the skin using the tip.

Start from the skin below the head and carefully lift up to the desired skin to be removed.

Some do not prefer to remove the tail for certain dishes such as tempura.

It can also be used for slicing small items thinly, such as garlic or ginger.

Peel the garlic or ginger first, but when dealing with ginger, you may need to chop it into smaller pieces.

Hold the garlic or ginger in place using your fingers, and use the knife to make thin slices.

Be mindful of your nails while doing this, paring knives can be very sharp.

It can also be used for preparing vegetables such as bell peppers or capsicum.

Start by chopping the top and bottom, then slice through the sides to make a flat piece.

Lay the piece flat, and remove the remaining ribs and seeds with the paring knife.

You may also use the knife to make thin strips or to desired pieces.

Not just for fruits and vegetables, you may also use it for meats.

It can help in removing fat in sliced porkchop pieces or removing the membrane from the ribs.

You can remove the membrane by loosening the edge using the tip of it.

Take the loosened edge and clip a piece of paper towel to use as a grip.

Carefully lift it by pulling slowly, and this technique should be able to make it come off in one piece.

Where to buy

Honestly, it is not hard to find it as it could be in a lot of supermarkets and home supplies stores.

This knife is usually included when you buy a set of kitchen knives, as this is seen to be very helpful in the kitchen.

The popularity of this knife does not mean buying just whatever is on the market.

Since it is known to be a great assistant in the kitchen, a lot of low-quality paring knives can be seen in stores especially on unbranded discount centers.

Be careful in choosing a model for this type of knife as it is closely used with the fingers.

Cheap knife manufacturing may cause serious injury when used.

Online marketplaces and online retailers are great places too in finding the best paring knives at the best prices.

Take into consideration the given specification if it will fit your grip comfortably, as it is needed in this type of knife.

Beware of counterfeits from popular brands by reading reviews or inspecting the given photos by the seller or of the retailer.

It can be used for a variety of purposes, making it not limited to peeling alone.

This trusty kitchen tool is usually given the impression that it is not very functional, but we have seen that there are more uses to it.

Owning one will surely make any kitchen complete.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.

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