What Is A Utility Knife Used For?

Upon reading the title, you might already in your mind the famous Swiss branded folding knife.

However, did you know that there is a kitchen knife that is also called a utility knife?

If you are not familiar with it, let us show what a utility knife for the kitchen is all about.

What is it?

It goes to the range of smaller-sized knives, with a blade that ranges from 4 to 7 inches long (approximately 10 to 17 centimeters).

Most manufacturers say that the best size for the task is around 5 to 6 inches, giving enough length to handle most items.

In terms of the size and usage in the kitchen, it is in the middle of a paring knife and a chef’s knife.

This kind is usually made from stainless steel, while modern ones can be made from ceramic.

The latter has growing popularity because of being non-stick and easy to clean, but most people would choose stainless steel because of its durability and being food safe.

Some consider it for general purpose use in a smaller body.

It follows the shape of a chef’s knife that can be considered as its miniature version or a bigger version of a paring knife.

What is it used for?

Some call this the ’tomato’ knife as it is preferred to be used with fruits and vegetables that have skin or rinds of soft to medium firmness.

Examples of this kind of product would be small citrus fruits (like lemon and lime), apples, potatoes, and of course – tomato.

It can also be used for chopping herbs because of its small blade size.

Aside from vegetables, its small size should be able to slice through cooked or ready-to-eat meal items as well.

It can be used on sandwiches, burgers, or dinner rolls.

It can also be used as a replacement for a steak knife too.

This small-sized cutter can also be used for cheese or charcuterie boards, or a mix of them.

Its blade is enough to handle slicing cheese or cold cuts, and can also be used while eating them.

The straight-edged blade also allows having smooth and clean slices and cuts.

If you would use it more often with cheeses, it is better to get the one with grantons.

Grantons are the indentions that you would see on the blade’s surface near the sharp edge.

This will allow air to pass through while slicing the item, making it easier to make clean and uniform slices by not sticking to the surface.

Some utility knives are available in serrated edges, but they may not give smoother slices on soft items.

The one with a serrated edge will assist in slicing items with hard skin and soft interior such as bagels.

It is usually used for tasks that are too small for a chef’s knife and too big for a paring knife.

Maintenance tips

Belonging to the family of kitchen knives, the blade of it is usually made from stainless steel.

This material is highly food-grade while being highly resistant to corrosion, which avoids food contamination.

Though you can place it on a dishwasher, it is recommended to have them hand washed to avoid too much immersion in water.

When immersed in water for a longer period of time, it can damage the handle which can make it dangerous to use.

It is important to keep knives sharp, and this one is no exception.

Using dull knives can slip through the item being sliced, which can cause accidents and injury.

You can use a honing rod or the ceramic one before every use to maintain its sharpness.

You may also use a whetstone or an automatic sharpener, but make sure not to let the heel touch the stone.

It can damage the blade causing it to chip, or crack the handle.

Where to buy it?

Some knifemakers would bundle it with their other kitchen knives as a set, replacing the fillet or boning knife which has a similar size.

It is commonly bundled in a set because most users have a small and general-purpose knife that can do the task too.

But this does not make it hard to find in supermarkets or home supplies stores.

The only concern in buying this item online is how it is confused with one for an everyday carry choice.

Try searching the words ‘kitchen utility knife’ and it would show all available items in the list.

Check the specifications in buying this item, as it may seem too small compared to the seller’s photo.

Retailers, Online marketplaces, and official maker’s online stores would be carrying this kind for their customers.


It can help in the kitchen by dealing with smaller items.

Not just for raw stuff, it can also be used for cooked or ready-to-eat foods.

It can be a great replacement for other smaller knives in the kitchen.

This multi-purpose cutter will allow you to deal with small items with a small knife, instead of using the big ones like the chef’s knife.

Last Updated on July 22, 2021 by Andy Wang

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.