What Do You Use A Santoku Knife For?

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Many words have already been written about the Santoku knives on this blog, yet I am still getting questions about them. One of the most common questions is – What do you use the Santoku for?

Well, the answer is not entirely simple. As you may know, the Japanese word “Santoku” can be translated as “three virtues” or “three uses”. The three uses are – slicing, chopping, and dicing. Sometimes, crushing is also mentioned, more about that later.

The three virtues give a pretty clear clue that the Santoku knife is a very versatile knife. In fact, it is regarded as one of the most versatile kitchen knives in the world. It can be used in pretty much all scenarios where you would use a traditional western chef’s knife.

Of course, the knife can be used for more than three basic things, right? Let’s have a look at some of them now.

7 Things You Can Do With A Santoku Knife

Before you try to cut anything with your Santoku, make sure it’s sharp.


The extremely sharp edge of the Santoku knife makes it an ideal choice for chopping vegetables. You will have zero problems using the knife for chopping cabbage or green leaves. Do not use it for chopping meat with bones though.


Since it’s a great knife for chopping, you may expect it to be good for dicing as well. And you are not mistaken. The Santoku works magnificently for dicing onions, carrots, and other vegetables.


The Santoku is a fine choice for slicing as well. It has no problems slicing vegetables, pastry, or even meat. It’s great for slicing fish as wells.


If you love cooking fresh fish, you will love the Santoku knife. Either its blade or its spine can be used to remove fish scales. Of course, if you would like to do it the Japanese way, you can cust the scales off.


The thick spine of the santoku knife can be used as a tenderizer. However, it should be noted that a dedicated tenderizer will always be a better and safer choice.


You can use the wide blade to crush garlic cloves. Simply lay the blade flat over the clove and press it hard with the heel of your hand. You can also hit the blade if you like, but that’s usually not necessary and you may risk injuring yourself.


You can use the sheep’s foot tip of the knife for cleaning purposes. For example, it works great for removing seeds from chillis or bell peppers.

So these are my tips about what you can use the Santoku knife for. Obviously, there are many other scenarios where the Santoku knife would be useful.

Read moreWhat Is The Best Santoku Knife?

What Is A Santoku Knife Not Good For?

As good as the Santoku is, there is simply no knife that can do everything or at least excel at everything.

You certainly don’t want to use the Santoku for chopping meat with thick bones. In doing that, you are risking damaging the sharp edge. A meat cleaver is obviously the better choice here.

Due to the shape of its tip, this knife is not a good choice when you need to pierce something. Even a regular chef’s knife would do a better job here.

If you are used to cutting food utilizing the rocking motion, know that the Santoku is not very good for this technique. That is because of the shape of its edge or belly if you wish. There’s simply not enough curve to it to support the rocking motion effectively. Instead, you should be using a vertical chopping motion.

Happy cutting!