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How to Learn to Effectively Use a Kitchen Knife

By properly wielding a kitchen knife, you'll be able to chop, dice, and mince foods with ease without cutting any fingers. Quickly serve up nutritious snacks and entrees with minimal effort.


  • Step 1: Choose knife Select a kitchen knife you feel comfortable working with. One option is a chef's knife or French knife, which has a broad, tapered shape and a fine, sharp edge.
  • TIP: Regularly sharpen your knives with a knife sharpener, available in retail and specialty stores. A sharp knife is actually safer than a dull one. With a dull knife, it's easier to lose control and cut yourself.
  • Step 2: Grip knife Put the knife in your cutting hand. Grip the handle at the base of the blade, a grip that allows for better control.
  • TIP: Store your knives in a knife block that separates the blades. Avoid throwing them into a drawer as the blades will get scratched, dulled, and damaged.
  • Step 3: Curl holding fingers Curl the fingers of your non-knife hand, placing the thumb and little finger behind the other fingers. This position keeps the side of the knife against the non-knife hand and avoids cutting any fingers.
  • Step 4: Use secure base Use a secure cutting board as a base and cut a cucumber in half. To chop, drag the knife toward you with the blade tip sliding across the cutting board or cut downward with a rocking motion, using the heel of the blade to do the work. Move your non-knife hand away from the knife as you chop, to help measure cuts.
  • Step 5: Practice Practice your cutting technique with different foods and different knives. Other kitchen knives include a paring knife and serrated knife. No matter which knife you're using, always remain aware of how you're holding the knife and the position of each hand to help avoid accidents.
  • FACT: Another name for the bowie knife, popularized by American frontiersman James Bowie, is "Arkansas Toothpick."

You Will Need

  • Kitchen knife
  • Cutting board
  • Items to practice chopping
  • Knife sharpener (optional)
  • Knife block (optional)

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