Three. The short answer is: you really only need three kitchen knives. Many of us started our adult lives with an all-in-one knife block/set that included a variety of knives. But how many of those knives did you actually use? If you’re planning to regularly serve Thanksgiving-sized meals, sure all of the specialty knives included in the set might be useful. But, on an everyday basis, most home kitchens only need three knives: a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife.
I’m likely not the first person to share this piece of advice. It’s become relatively common knowledge that a modern kitchen doesn’t need an arsenal of specialty knives. In fact the legend himself Anthony Bourdain suggested in Kitchen Confidential that one knife was sufficient for most homes: “Please believe me, here’s all you will ever need in the knife department: ONE good chef’s knife, as large as is comfortable for your hand.”
So beyond the large, sharp, comfortable chef’s knife, a small paring knife for more delicate tasks and a serrated knife should round out your essential knife lineup. If you’d prefer to stick with a matching set, there are definitely some solid options. We’d suggest checking out Misen or Wüsthof. But we think it’s a lot more fun mixing and matching the essential kitchen knives. Need some advice picking out these knives? We’ve got you covered.