What Are Paring Knives Used For?

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Go to a well-stocked kitchen, and you will find different types of knives. It goes without saying that different knives tend to have different roles when used. Take the chef’s knife, for example.

A chef’s knife is a go-to knife for any cook to cut vegetables, fruits, and meats. This works great to chop, cube, slice, and so on. We are certain you may have also heard about paring knives. These tend to be quite small, so what are paring knives used for?

While the chef’s knife is great for when you want a powerful cut, the paring knife is the go-to knife if you need a more delicate touch. This small knife will allow for dexterity while you dice, which means that they are great for detail-oriented tasks.

What Is a Paring Knife?

A paring knife is a knife that has a blade that tends to be quite short in comparison to other knives. While they are smaller in size, they are still very powerful. They typically measure anywhere between 2.5 inches to four inches.

Its small design makes it ideal for cutting those hard to reach places or tackling tasks wherein you need a ton of precision. For several cooks, the paring knife becomes the knife of choice when the chef’s knife becomes too large.

Since these knives are much smaller in size, you may not always need a cutting board when using them. Its handle is sized in a way that it fits your grip perfectly. This will give you the exact control you need over the blade movement when you are peeling, coring, and slicing.

Make sure that you are moving very slowly and carefully when you first start with this knife as its blade is extremely sharp. With that said, once you learn how to control it correctly, it becomes easy to manage.

What Are Paring Knives Used For?

Once you get comfortable using a paring knife, you will find that more and more tasks you use it for, it becomes easier to manage. This knife is the dream for meal prepping, especially when you are prepping vegetables and fruits.

Below, we have listed some of the top uses of a paring knife.

Peeling Food

Paring knives make a great alternative to traditional peelers. Although, there is a bit of a learning curve that comes in when you are going to use a paring knife for the first time to peel something.

Just like you would do with a regular peeler, make sure you are holding down the food firmly with one hand and then grip the handle of the paring knife with the other hand. Then, slowly move the blade towards you, cutting right under the skin of the food.

In using a paring knife, what you need to remember is to make sure that you are moving lightly; else, you will end up taking off much more than the peel.

De-veining Shrimp

Whether you use a regular knife or a paring knife, it is a given that no one enjoys deveining a shrimp. However, it is something that needs to be done if you want to eat it.

To ensure that the process is made as simple as possible for you, you must make use of the paring knife. When you use a paring knife to de vein a shrimp, the entire process becomes quite manageable, thanks to its small size.

To do so, grip the shrimp and then find the dark line that runs down its back. This is basically the intestine, which you need to discard. With the help of your paring knife, begin by making a small incision. Then, with the tip of the knife, pry the line up.

De-casing Sausages

When you buy sausages, you will notice that they are often encased in a delicate sheath that keeps all the ingredients contained. This can become a problem when you are cooking, especially if you want to break the sausage into small pieces.

By using a paring knife, you will be able to draw a line lightly on one side of the sausage, but not so deep that you entirely slice your way through. Make sure that you do it gently so that you only break that skin.

Once you do so, just slit it all the way down and then peel the casing back to reveal the sausage inside.

Scoring Meat

It is a known fact that certain cuts of meat tend to have fatty pockets, which you will want to leave when you cook it. For instance, if you are planning on roasting the meat, this fat will provide it with that amazing flavor that seeps through the meat over the course of several hours. Instead, you will just need to score the meat.

In order to do this efficiently, you will need to use your paring knife to draw lines through the fatty section of the meat. This technique will obviously vary depending on the cut and the type of meat you are using. For example, a pork chop will need two equal cuts on its fatty edge.

Coring Tomatoes

To core a tomato efficiently with your paring knife, all you need to do is insert the tip of the knife about a centimeter to the left of the core. Now, just dig down about an inch and then saw your way around its core. The circle will pop right out when you do this correctly.

Hulling Strawberries

Whether you are using strawberries in your dessert or simply eating them straight from the box, you will get more from this fruit if you hull it properly. This process is very similar to coring a tomato.

Just insert the paring knife into the side of the fruit’s stem and then carve a circle around it. After that, just pop it right out, and you can now enjoy your delicious fruit.


We hope that this article has answered the question of what ​paring knives are used for. We are sure that you are quite surprised knowing that paring knives have so many applications.

We absolutely recommend to everyone to look for a good paring knife, especially if you are buying an entire knife set. Bookmark us to be updated on the new knives we review and knife advice.