Kitchen Knife Basics: What is a Nakiri Knife Used For?

I hope you love the products that I recommend! As an Amazon Associate I earn small commissions from qualifying purchases. Thank you if you use my links, I really appreciate it!

Japanese knives are a growing trend in professional kitchens. Their different designs fit various uses of knives making them ideal for certain purposes. From Santoku to Gyuto knives, each knife is carefully crafted differently to cater to different needs but they are all designed to also cut your prep time. One of these knives is the Nakiri knife or Nakiri Bocho. 

What is a Nakiri Knife Used for?

The Nakiri knife is primarily designed to cut vegetables. Its main feature is its straight blade that easily slices through tender stalks and leaves. Unlike many knives that require a push or pull motion as you slice, the nakiri eases through your food vertically giving you a smooth clean cut. However, since it is a thin-bladed knife, it’s purpose is meant for gentle uses and not intended to cut tough meat and the like.

Why is Nakiri Ideal For Cutting Vegetables?

Here are the four main reasons why you should start using a high-quality nakiri knife to cut your daily vegetables:

  • Long Length

The blade length of this Japanese knife is quite generous. It stretches from 5 to 7 inches perfectly fit to handling most types of vegetables.

  • Thin Straight Cut

With a straight blade, you have a knife that lets you make quick effortless vertical slices. This simplifies the slicing process since you’re only doing a single motion cut. The thin blade also prevents any of your plant juices from oozing out which commonly happens as you slice and pull your knife while cutting juicy fruits and veggies. Thicker blades often break vegetables and won’t allow you to make thin even slices.

The Nakiri is thinner than a cleaver (though it has the same type of cut) and a santoku knife. This makes it easier to create equally precise salad cuts of leafy vegetables.of vegetables. 

  • Beveled Edge

The distinguishing characteristic of a Nakiri knife is its beveled cutting edge. The thin inclined edge allows you to perform a straight and fast cutting action. This is great for mincing spices, cutting thin strips of tender veggies, and smooth less messy fruit slices. The beveled edges on both sides of the blade shorten cutting time especially when you’re dealing with delicate vegetables like celery, leeks and soft veggie stalks. Unlike knives that are made for cutting meat such as carving knives or brisket knives, the blades slice your greens all the way through without squishing and ripping them.

  • Squared Ends

Like a cleaver, the Nakiri is squared off at the ends. This makes the entire length of the knife usable for cutting and slicing. The squared ends also simplify the task and gently cut through soft juicy fruits like tomatoes without ripping the fruit apart.

How to handle a Nakiri knife?

The Nakiri is a lightweight knife and since it’s designed for gentle but precise cutting, you don’t have to put as much effort in slicing your greens. Gently curl your finger over the handle and push down in a straight vertical line. This reduces the effort on your arms and shoulders.

Holding onto your knife with a full grip makes your arms tired and also stresses your shoulders out. Surprisingly, the Nakiri is crafted to reduce the tension. With a gentle but tight grip, you can effortlessly make precise even cuts of veggies for all types of dishes without any problems.

Other Uses of a Nakiri Knife

As a vegan tool, the Nakiri cannot be used for other purposes than gentle slice work. However, you can also use it for:

  • Peeling

The long blade lets you peel, prep, and slice paper-thin cuts of vegetables and root crops. It’s also ideal for peeling tender fruits like mangoes, avocados, ripe peaches, and more.

  • Slicing Bread

Though a serrated knife is ideal for slicing bread, the Nakiri Knife is also a great alternative for soft bread. The thin blade eases its way through your tender and delicate pastry. With its straight cutting motion, you don’t have to saw your way through. You can simply glide through the bread without crushing it.

  • Spreading Butter

The butter knife is solely intended for spreading butter, for this reason, not everyone finds the need for one. The Nakiri is a great alternative since it is flat and thin making it easy to spread butter on your toast.

The Nakiri Bocho is the ideal vegan knife. With its thin and straight cutting edge and design, anyone can easily make salads and create thin even slices of veggies with less effort. Characterized by its long straight rectangular blade, mincing and cutting vegetables into precise slices is simpler compared to other types of knives.