What is a Slicing Knife Used For?

On the hunt for a knife with superior slicing ability?

The slicing knife leaves little to the imagination, putting what it does best right in the name. From garnishing cuts, to meats, salad prep, or fresh fruit, the slicing knife is a cook’s best friend in the kitchen, helping them slice like a pro.

Although elegant in it’s simplicity, slicing knives bring a lot more to the table than most are aware of. As arguably one of the most important tools you can have in the kitchen, the right knife can level up your skills, help you produce better results, get more done faster, and improve safety when handling slippery or oddly shaped food items.

In this guide, we’ll look at what a slicing knife is used for, and how you too can leverage the specialized purpose of this knife to elevate your dishes.

Uses of a Slicing Knife: Quick Overview

In case you’re in a rush, let’s cover the nuts and bolts here before taking a deep dive into the uses of a slicing knife.

What is a Slicing Knife?

A slicing knife features a long, straight blade uniquely designed to efficiently handle the slicing of food items, most notably meats such as ham, turkey or sirloin steak, as well as fish. The blade usually has a slightly rounded form, and sports a ‘granton edge’ that prevents the meat from tearing when slicing.

Blade length is generally between 8-12 inches culminating in a pointed or rounded tip. While some slicing knives are rigid and capable of handling denser food items with ease, others are meant for softer or more delicate cuts with a thinner, flexible blade.

Quick Facts:

  • Blade Shape: long and thin
  • Blade Length: 8-14”
  • Tip: rounded or pointed
  • Ideal for: slicing and carving meats (poultry, beef, pork, fish, venison, etc.)
  • Also Ideal for: preparing vegetables, fruit and salads
  • Not Recommended for: Precision tasks, small delicate food items, mincing, peeling or cleaving meat from the bone

Uses of a Slicing Knife: tasks it can handle well

Similar to carving knives, a slicing knife is most commonly used when dealing with various meats in the kitchen. With a slicing knife in hand, you can make quick work of slicing meat into thin, neat cuts perfect for any dish.

Carving Meat

Carving knives are often powered or automated, but a slicing knife can handle the same task (albeit manually). The added benefit of using a slicing knife is additional control and precision over the cuts, ensuring clean slices and separation, resulting in a superior aesthetic and presentation.

Slicing

This one is a bit obvious given the name, but it’s worth mentioning that a slicing knife can be used to work with a wide range of food items, not just meats.

Common Uses Including Slicing:

  • Slicing smoked meats
  • Hams
  • Roasts
  • Fish (great for slicing salmon
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Venison
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables

How the Slicing Knife Features and Design Impact its Uses

The optimal blade length of a slicing knife should be between 8-14”. Smaller blades allow for greater control and precision over cuts, but may be too flimsy for dense or larger food items. Longer blades offer the benefit of long, broad uniform slices, perfect for a massive roast or turkey.

Remember, the blade of slicing knives tends to be on the thinner and more flexible side. As such, you always want to let the blade do the work, without applying too much pressure. If you find yourself needing to force the blade or that it starts to bend, you either need to re-sharpen the tool, or consider swapping it out for a heftier knife until you have the meat in more manageable proportions.

How to Hold a Slicing Knife When In Use

Proper knife handling is a skill that can take you a long way as a chef, no matter your ambitions. While it can take years of training to reach master status with all the blades in your cupboard, learning a few simple techniques can go a long way.

Your Cutting Hand

This is the hand that directs the movement of the knife and exerts the majority of the pressure necessary for each slice. Generally, this will be your dominant hand (i.e. the right hand if you happen to be right-handed).

  • Grip the knife by placing your thumb around the top of the blade’s spine
  • Wrap your hand around the knife’s bolster
  • Rest your index finger gently but firmly on the side of the blade opposite of that where your thumb is placed
  • Curl your other fingers firmly around the handle

In this position, your forefinger and thumb will be applying the majority of the pressure needed to hold the knife in place.

TIPS FOR USING YOUR SLICING KNIFE:

  • Always slice AWAY from your hands
  • Use your other (guiding hand to keep the food item in place, making a claw shape and curling your fingers inward away from the blade’s edge

The Many Uses of the Slicing Knife Revealed

In this guide, we exposed you to the many ways your slicing knife can be used in the kitchen. Although primarily for various meat cuts, the slicing knife also has a place with the preparation of fruits, vegetables and other food items.

We hope you enjoyed the read and that you look forward to using your slicing knife the next time you prepare a meal.