Santoku Knife Guide | Chop, Slice, and Dice with Japanese Santoku Knives

Santoku is a Japanese kitchen knife ideal for a wide variety of kitchen tasks including precision mincing, dicing, slicing, and more. It’s suitable for various ingredients including vegetables, meat, and fish.

If you are looking for a multi-purpose addition to your knife collection, Santoku knives are your best bet. With little maintenance, this knife can last a lifetime in your kitchen.

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History of the Santoku Knives

Santoku knives are a more recent addition to Japanese kitchen knives,originating in Japan during the mid-20th century, just after World War II. It blends Japanese and Western design, since at the time of its creation the Japanese had discovered the new western-style cooking, and needed the right knife to use. These Santoku knives are typically double bevel knives, in the traditional western style.

In Japan, Santoku means “three uses”. This describes what the knife is popularly used with – chopping, dicing, and mincing. Additionally, the Santoku is great for meat, vegetables, or fish.

What are Santoku Knives Used For?

Slicing

These knives are flatter than the typical Japanese kitchen knives and have a small upward curve near the tip, which makes slicing smoother. As Japanese knives tend to be more slender than German knives, they make slicing through items extremely easy. When using the Santoku knife effectively for slicing, you use a pulling or pushing motion which should be more backward or forward motion, more than downward. This uses the design of the blade to do the hard work. This technique allows you to create thin, crisp slices.

Dicing

The Santoku kitchen knife excels at precision cuts like dicing, thanks to their small, easily controllable blade size. The blade length is typically between 160mm to 180mm (or 6-7”) with an edge angle of 20-30 degrees which gives them the ability to dice more precisely than other knives.

When looking for the right dicing and mincing tool, you can never go wrong with a Japanese Santoku knife.

Chopping

The sharpness of the Santoku blade enables them to cut through foods quickly while their flatness allows for uniform dices.

When you’re chopping with this Japanese knife, cut through ingredients with quick, intentional pushes rather than a back-and-forth roll. Since you don’t need to focus too much on precision and uniformity when chopping with Santoku, you can work faster.

Features of Santoku Knives

Steel Blade

Santoku knives are made of stainless steel or high carbon steel, making for a sharper, stronger, and durable blade. They’re also sleek enough to complement the rest of your utensils in your kitchen.

Taller and Thinner Blade

The length and thinness of the Santoku knives give more clearance for the knuckles of your hand to cut directly above the cutting board. It also provides a good surface for the knuckles of your free hand to guide the blade during cutting and chopping.

Dimples on Blade

Many times, a Santoku knife has a row of shallow dimples on the side of the blade. Also known as kullenschliff or a Granton edge, these depressions reduce friction and prevent food from sticking to the blade.

Handle

As with many Japanese knives, with the Santoku knife there is the option of a western style handle with a full tang as well as a more traditional Japanese handle with a partial tang. The western style handles are more agronomical and the tang going the full length while the Japanese style handle is either oval or octagonal with a tang that goes about 2/3rd of the length of the handle. Either option make for comfortable use for various hand sizes and cutting styles.

Upgrade Your Knife Collection with Japanese Santoku Knives

Looking for a sharp, strong, and functional knife to add to your knife collection?

Look no further than Santoku knives. They have a fine cutting form, making repetitive chopping, dicing, and slicing easier and less tiring.

Testimonials

I have used Sakai Takayuki knives for over 5 years and through all that time the blades are incredibly durable and comfortable to use.  Repetitive cutting motions are easy and do not tire your hand out.

Setsuko, Owner, Modern Japanese Restaurant, Seattle