Most people have a few different knives in their kitchen drawers, but not everyone knows which one does what. Sometimes it seems easier to just grab whatever's clean, but choosing the right knife for what you're trying to do can actually make a pretty big difference.
Your bread knife will probably cut through the garlic you're using in tonight's dinner, but using a blade that's designed to cut produce will take less time and effort. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your kitchen skills is to always know which knife you should be using.
Larger, heavy knives like a chef's knife or santoku can be used for the majority of your kitchen tasks. They're great for produce and boneless cuts of meat, and the curved shape makes them easy to rock back and forth.
Serrated knives are best when you're cutting bread since they won't crush the crust. A regular bread knife is fine for most types of bread, as well as soft-skinned vegetables like tomatoes. For breads with a thick or crunchy crust, a country loaf knife works best because of its curved blade.
A long, thin blade like a filleting or boning knife is good for removing meat from the bone, and a cleaver will chop through the whole thing, bone and all. Just don't mix it up with the Chinese chopper—it's great for meat and produce, but not bones.
A paring knife is good for peeling and trimming produce, and a utility knife will do just about any job involving fruits, vegetables and small cuts of meat. If you want to get fancy with garnishes or intricate designs, a decorating knife is the way to go.
You can find more details about each knife by checking out the full-size KnowYourKnives infographic by Millys Store on their website.
Using the right knife is only half the battle, though. A dull blade won't do you any favors, either. Learn how to sharpen your knife like a pro, or do it the lazy way by using the bottom of a coffee mug.