The difference between a chef's knife and a santoku knife (2023)

von Tsuyoshi Inagaki

The 7 inch Kamikoto Santoku knife.Learn more.

To the untrained eye, a santoku and a chef's knife appear very similar. But there are some key differences between each. It is important to understand these differences in order to choose the one that best suits your particular cutting needs.

Santoku and chef's knife: the main differences

Before we explain the differences, let's start with the similarities. Both are utility knives used for a variety of cutting tasks, including chopping, slicing, dicing, and shredding. For this reason it is one of the most used knives in the kitchen, both professional and private.

Both are made of different materials such as ceramic or metal. Most professional chefs prefer steel for its durability and high resistance to corrosion. A key difference is that Japanese blades, like the santoku, are often made of thinner but harder steel to allow chefs to perform precision tasks. Japanese Honshu steel is a case in point.

The difference between a santoku and a chef's knife lies mainly in its origin and the shape of the blade (the latter being responsible for the type of cut or slice that can be achieved).

Characteristics of the Santoku knife

The difference between a chef's knife and a santoku knife (2)

  • Originally from Japan
  • Broad goat's foot bladeno tip(a blunt spine that curves down to meet the straight edge of the front blade)
  • Blade thinner than a chef's knife for a finer cut
  • It can be a single (one side) or double (both sides) bevel - the bevel refers to the surface that was ground to form the razor blade
  • Usually no bolster (the piece of metal between the blade and the handle)
  • balanced weight
  • Easier to hold
  • May have a Granton edge (small nicks/scallops in the blade to prevent food from sticking to it)
  • Varies in size from 5" to 7.9"

Characteristics of the chef's knife

  • Originally from Germany and France
  • Broad blade that curves to a point (spine is thicker to add weight)
  • Comes in jagged varieties
  • It is usually only found in double bevel.
  • has an amplifier
  • harder to hold
  • May represent a Granton limit
  • Size range from 6" to 12" (8" is most popular, but many pros choose 10" or 12")

Why the shape of the blade is important to produce the right slice, dice or cut

A chef's knife features a blade tip that prompts the chef to "rock" the blade forward when the cut is complete. The lack of a point on the Santoku knife means you can cut in a single downward swipe. While many cooks successfully use the rocking method, the santoku method is faster and more efficient.

Another major difference between a santoku and a chef's knife is the bevel. Many santoku knives used by professional chefs are simply bevelled.A much smaller angle can be created when sharpening, resulting in a sharper blade.. For example, instead of the full 30 degrees of a double-bevel chef's knife, a santoku can be sharpened to just 15 degrees on one side, allowing for a much sharper cut. This is especially useful when you want to make very thin slices like those found in many Japanese dishes.

The best uses for a santoku knife

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The meaning of the word "Santoku" clearly explains what it is best used for: the "three virtues" or "three uses" of chopping, dicing, and chopping. Cope with all this work in an exemplary manner, but avoid cutting large bones of meat, slicing bread and precision work (e.g. peeling). Santoku knives are particularly adept at creating very thin slices of food, enhancing the overall aesthetics of finished dishes.

Best suited for:

  • cut meat
  • Slice cheese
  • Slicing, chopping or dicing fruits, vegetables and nuts
  • Chop meat or herbs
  • The wide blade allows food to be removed from the cutting board
  • Making thin slices, especially useful for vegetables and seafood

Since a santoku knife is slightly shorter compared to a chef's knife (8 inches, while a standard chef's knife is 10 inches) and has a seamless handle-to-blade design, they're ideal for those with small hands. little.

The best uses for a chef's knife

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A chef's knife is extremely versatile, which speaks for its popularity in the professional kitchen. It can handle a variety of tasks, but avoid shredding large meat bones, frozen foods, or complicated peeling and julienne tasks. When slicing bread, opt for a serrated version.

Best suited for:

  • Complex or versatile cut
  • Slice, slice and shred the meat (the tip is great for separating the pieces of the chicken)
  • Slice cheese
  • Slicing, chopping or dicing fruits, vegetables and nuts

Note: It's not as good at slicing thinly as a santoku knife. If this is important, a santoku is a better option.

The Differences in Caring for a Santoku and a Chef's Knife

Knives should serve you long as long as you give them a chance.the right careThis includes proper cleaning, sharpening and storage.

Hand washing and drying with a clean, soft towel is recommended for both a santoku and a chef's knife. Avoid using dishwashers or scouring pads and opt for a box or block of wood for storage.

The difference in care relates to the methods used for sharpening.


Sharpening refers to restoring the angle of a knife blade. Before we highlight the differences in sharpness between santoku and chef's knives, here are three key reasons to sharpen knives:

  1. security: Whether you use knives frequently or occasionally, they all eventually become dull. A dull knife poses a great risk as it requires you to use more force when cutting, increasing the likelihood of an accidental slip and injury.
  2. the right conclusion: Sharp knives preserve the integrity of the food. Slicing with a dull knife damages the food's cells, which can affect the taste and overall aesthetics.
  3. placeholder: It is infinitely more comfortable to cut with a sharp knife. Improves the overall cooking experience exponentially.

Santoku knife sharpening

Because many Santoku knives are simply beveled and made from a harder steel, it's easier to create a much finer angle on one side for a sharper knife. In general, Santoku knives can be sharpened at an angle of about 10-15 degrees.

Santoku knives are generally easier to sharpen because they don't have a bolster. Single bevel Santoku also requires less grinding compared to double bevel.

The most effective way to sharpen a santoku isuse a whetstone. Whetstone sharpening provides a longer (sharper) knife edge than other methods. The general process is as follows, but carefully follow the detailed instructions that came with your sharpening stone:

  1. Soak the whetstone in water and submerge it
  2. Angle the knife at the correct angle, thick side first
  3. Run the knife up and down the stone in one smooth motion.
  4. Be sure to cover the entire blade from the edge to the start of the handle.
  5. Repeat the process on the other side if the knife is double beveled.
  6. Turn the stone to the finer side and repeat again
  7. Wash and dry the knife well.

Note: Since Japanese knives are made from a more durable but thinner steel, using a sharpening steel can damage them.

Sharpen chef's knife

As already mentioned, honing is the superior method when it comes to creating a highly sharp, defined cutting edge. Sharpen a chef's knife to 15 to 20 degrees on both sides.

You can also use a chef's knife sharpener between sharpening rounds. If this is the case, here are some general steps for using a honing steel. It takes practice, so take your time in the beginning. Remember to always follow the steel manufacturer's instructions.

  1. Hold the handle of the knife with your dominant hand and the blade with your other hand, both facing up. Find them together in a V shape.
  2. Place the heel of the blade against the steel about 2 cm from the top of the steel. Pay attention to the right angle (approx. 15 to 20 degrees).
  3. Using moderate pressure, guide the knife across the steel to the tip of the blade (move the knife, not the steel). Make sure only the edge touches the steel, not the side. Do this 5 to 10 times. Try to be consistent about the angle. That's more important than speed. Repeat on the other side of the sheet.

As you can see, there are a number of distinct differences between a European chef's knife and a7-Zoll-Santoku-Kamikoto-Messer. Both are powerful partners in your chef's arsenal and, when appropriate,Beware, it will serve you for many hours while mastering your culinary world.

The 7 inch Santoku Kamikoto knife

The difference between a chef's knife and a santoku knife (5)


  • 7 inch Santoku knife
  • Handcrafted from Japanese steel.
  • Single beveled blade 音刃 Kata-ha
  • Handcrafted ash wood box for storage.
  • lifetime guarantee
  • certificate of authenticity

Learn more about the Kamikoto 7-Inch Santoku Knife.

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