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Discover Nakiri Knives - The Cotswold Knife Company

Discover Nakiri Knives

What Is The Nakiri Knife?

The Nakiri, with its straight blade and squared-off tips, stands apart from the usual curvature found in many kitchen knives. Directly translating to "vegetable cutter" in Japanese, the Nakiri boasts a thin, razor-sharp blade designed specifically for precision in chopping and slicing vegetables. Without the typical curve of other knives, the entirety of the blade edge can come into contact with the cutting board, ensuring uniform and clean cuts with every motion.
Historically rooted in Japan's vegetarian traditions, the Nakiri knife ensures that vegetables, the stars of many Japanese dishes, are treated with the utmost respect and finesse. Its design, flat and wide, isn't just functional; it's also symbolic of the harmony and balance found in Japanese cuisine.
Whether you're julienning carrots, thinly slicing radishes, or chopping leafy greens, the Nakiri knife promises an unparalleled experience, turning each culinary task into a rhythmic dance of precision.


As mentioned earlier, the nakiri knife is specifically designed for chopping, slicing, and dicing vegetables. The straight edge allows for the entire blade length to come into contact with the cutting board, ensuring clean and efficient cuts without the need for a rocking motion.

The Nakiri's design makes it particularly adept at producing thin, even slices of vegetables, making it a favourite for precise tasks like julienning. The flat blade is also excellent for chopping leafy vegetables, as it can cut straight down without pushing or pulling the food. Its wide blade can be useful for scooping up chopped vegetables and transferring them from the cutting board to a pan or bowl.

Whether a Santoku is "better" than a Nakiri depends largely on your specific culinary needs and preferences, as each knife has its own unique strengths and applications.

Santoku Knife:

  • A Santoku is a general-purpose kitchen knife originating from Japan.
  • It features a shorter, lighter, and thinner blade than a traditional Western chef's knife.
  • The Santoku is versatile and well-suited for slicing, dicing, and mincing. Its design allows for easy maneuverability and is ideal for a variety of tasks, including cutting meat, fish, and vegetables.
  • The blade often has a slight curve, which provides a rocking motion that is beneficial for chopping herbs and making finer cuts.

Nakiri Knife:

  • A Nakiri is a Japanese knife specifically designed for cutting vegetables.
  • It has a straight blade perfect for making clean and precise cuts. The straight edge allows for full contact with the cutting board, ensuring even slicing without the need to rock the knife.
  • The Nakiri is excellent for slicing, dicing, and chopping vegetables, especially for achieving thin and uniform slices.
  • Its design is not ideal for tasks that require the blade to pierce or for those that involve a rocking motion.

Comparison and Choice:

  • If you need a versatile knife for a range of kitchen tasks, including cutting meat and fish, the Santoku is a great choice.
  • If your primary need is for preparing vegetables, especially if you prefer straight cuts and uniform slices, the Nakiri may be more suitable.
  • The best choice depends on your typical cooking habits and what you feel most comfortable using.

In summary, neither knife is objectively "better" than the other; they are designed for different purposes. Your choice should be based on which knife's specific characteristics best suit your cooking style and needs.

Maintaining your nakiri knives involves several essential practices to ensure they stay sharp, durable, and in top condition:

  1. Cleaning: Always wash your nakiri knives by hand with warm water and mild detergent immediately after use. It's important to avoid using the dishwasher, as the harsh environment can damage both the blade and the handle over time. After washing, dry the knives completely with a soft cloth to prevent any rust formation.
  2. Honing: Regular honing is key to keeping your nakiri knives sharp and maintaining their edge. Use a honing steel before or after each use to realign the blade's edge. Hold the steel vertically and gently slide the knife down and across the steel at a 20-degree angle.
  3. Sharpening: In addition to regular honing, your nakiri knives will need periodic sharpening, typically once or twice a year depending on how frequently you use them. You can sharpen your knives using a whetstone, a handheld sharpener, or opt for professional sharpening services.
  4. Storage: Proper storage is crucial for the longevity of your knives. Store your nakiri knives in a knife block, on a magnetic strip, or within protective sheaths. This not only prevents the blades from dulling but also helps avoid accidents. Storing knives in a drawer is not recommended, as they can easily get damaged.
  5. Cutting Surface: To maintain the sharpness of your knife edges, always use wooden or plastic cutting boards. Cutting on hard surfaces like glass, metal, or stone can quickly dull your knives.
  6. Avoid Misuse: Remember that nakiri knives are specifically designed for cutting food. Avoid using them for any non-food related tasks, as this can damage the blade and potentially void the warranty.
  7. Handle with Care: Always be mindful of the knife's balance and handle it with care. Avoid dropping or carelessly tossing your knives, as this can lead to damage to both the blade and the handle.

Some would argue the Japanese brands will make the best nakiri knives as this is where they originated from but at the end of the day this really does come down to your own preference. The handle, weight, balance are all very personal things and we know professional chefs with lots of different opinions. Don't worry though, as we have you covered! We stock nakiri knives from: Flint and Flame, Global, Kai, Miyabi, Tamahagane, Wusthof and Zwilling to ensure you have options from all the masters in their craft.

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