What Are The Most Versatile Kitchen Knives

If you could buy just one knife, which knife would it be? Here at Sous Chef, we road-test hundreds of the world's very best knives every year. We like to have a varied and broad selection of knives in the kitchen for different tasks.

But we also often get asked about the best all-rounder knife. Or the most versatile knife you can buy. Or the knife we'd choose if we could pick just one.

So here is our guide to the most versatile kitchen knives.

Sous Chef knife experts

In this guide, you’ll hear from Sous Chef buyer Kristin Lohse, who has many years of kitchen knife experience - and is a true expert in sharpening and caring for knives. And Sous Chef food editor Holly Thomson, who has been trained in knife skills by expert chefs and cookery teachers. 

Plus Sous Chef founder Nicola Lando will share her insight and expertise. Nicola has worked in a Michelin kitchen, and knows first-hand which are the knives top chefs love. She also has over a decade of experience talking to knife makers, small producers and artisan kitchen knife brands, from around the world.

In this blog, we pick 6 of of the most versatile knives that we've tried, and explain exactly why we love them.

Or if you want to deep dive on kitchen knives, check our diverse selection of kitchen knives and read our guides to What Are The Best Kitchen Knives and How To Care For Your Kitchen Knives.


What is the most universal knife used in the kitchen?

In any kitchen, the king of knives is the chef's knife. It's the all-rounder, the go-to for pretty much everything.

What is a good all-round kitchen knife?

Sous Chef knife buyer Kristin says: “The chef's knife, gyuto and santoku knives are all great all-rounders. They all have similar functions in the kitchen. It's more about choosing the shape you prefer for your style of cooking.”

Each year we test hundreds of knives, to find our very favourites. And here are our favourite versatile knives:


Japanese AUS10 Chef's Knife 210mm

The Japanese AUS10 chef’s knife is ideal for high-speed slicing and dicing. This large, well-balanced knife, also known as a gyuto, is Japan’s answer to the Western chef’s knife. With a curved belly and a narrow point, it’s well suited to the ‘rolling’ action of slicing favoured by French chefs. ‘Rolling’ is that very quick method of slicing where the tip of the knife never leaves the cutting board.

AUS10 is a high-carbon steel, similar to the more well-known VG-10. It’s easier to sharpen than VG-10, so knives made from this steel are suitable for everyone from kitchen novices to professional chefs. This chef’s knife is made from three layers of cold-forged AUS10 with a very thick core. The cold forging increases the density of the steel’s structure, and combined with the thick core this means the overall toughness of the blade is very high.

The Japanese AUS10 chef’s knife was designed for use in kitchens where an all-purpose knife is used and abused! This knife will hold a razor-sharp edge and withstand the most demanding conditions.


Messermeister Oliva Luxe Chef's Knife, 23cm

The Messermeister Olive Luxe chef’s knife is the ideal all round kitchen knife for chopping and slicing a variety of meat and vegetables smoothly and efficiently. This larger 20cm blade offers powerful yet still precise control against tougher cuts of meat and larger chunky vegetables like cabbages and potatoes.

Messermeister’s Oliva Luxe knives are made of 1/4116 stainless steel, which has a high carbon content meaning they are incredibly hard wearing and resistant to corrosion. Made in Solingen, Germany which is world-renowned for quality stainless steel, these knives rank a high 57-58 on the Rockwell hardness scale to withstand toughest kitchen demands of professional kitchens. They are hand-sharpened at a 15 degree angle so attention to detail can be taken for the cleanest finish.

This oliva chef’s knife is made of a single piece of fully-forged metal, and has a half bolster at the base. This half bolster makes for easiest chopping as the entire length of the knife remains optimally sharp, as well as aiding comfort when using.

The Oliva range is named after the beautiful polished Italian olive wood handles the knives are made from, which have a sleek, smooth finish.


Senzo 33 Layer Gyuto Knife 240mm

Carve, slice and prepare all manner of fruits and vegetables with one spectacular knife – this 240mm gyuto. This large, yet lightweight, knife is Japan’s answer to the Western chef’s knife. Long, with a curved belly and a narrow point, it’s well suited to the ‘rolling’ action of slicing favoured by French chefs. ‘Rolling’ is that very quick method of slicing where the tip of the knife never leaves the cutting board.

This striking gyuto is formed of 33 layers of Damascus steel, with a VG10 core. VG10 is one of the most popular stainless steels among professional chefs – they covet its hardness, ability to hold an edge and its resistance to rust. The blade has been cold forged under extremely high pressure, for a denser, tougher blade overall. The Damascus/ VG10 combination gives you a knife that not only takes an exceedingly sharp edge, but is also easy to maintain. The indentations at the top of the blade prevent fatty, oily or starchy foods from sticking to the knife.

In between the stainless-steel bolster and hardwood handle, there is a thin ring of red. This is a heat resistant polymer, and it allows for temperature changes that may cause the knife and handle to expand or contract at different rates. So not only does it look great, but it protects your knife handle from splitting, too!

Do not use on any bones, as this may damage the blade.


Seki 3 Layer Gyuto Knife, 20cm

The Seki layer Gyuto knife is a great multi-purpose Japanese kitchen knife made of the highest quality steel, making it suitable for all essential kitchen preparation tasks. This 20cm blade is perfect for all chopping and slicing, from delicate fish to large root vegetables. The size of this knife also offers a powerful cutting action whilst maintaining control and precision.

The 3 layered blade of the Seki Gyuto knife is made of premium quality SG2 carbon steel, which is layered with stainless steel for easy maintenance and a blade that will hold its edge for an incredibly long time. Along with the double bevelled point, this provides easy release when chopping for extra efficiency and smoothness.

The Seki 3 Layer slicing knife is a premium quality Japanese knife that is built to last a lifetime. Featuring a long blade with a double-bevel point, this knife is ideal for slicing delicate fish and meats or julienning vegetables.


Yasuo Black Santoku Knife, 16.7cm

The Yasuo black Santoku knife is made from sharp, durable Damascus steel - perfect for busy home cooks and professional kitchens. It has a sleek Pakkawood handle for superior balance and precise cutting control.
The Santoku knife is a classic Japanese chef’s knife that is shorter and lighter than a typical Western chef’s knife. You can use it for slicing grilled meat, preparing fish and chopping and mincing vegetables. The smooth edge is ideal for uniform julienne cuts and the wide blade is great for scraping food off your chopping board.


Senzo 33 Layer Santoku Knife 165mm

If you only own one knife, make it this Senzo 33 layer santoku. Japanese for ‘three virtues’, the santoku knife is wonderfully versatile. Lighter in weight than its closest Western counterpart, the chef’s knife, santoku knives are especially at home with chopping, slicing and mincing vegetables. However, they are more than up to the task of fish and meat preparation as well.

This stunning santoku knife is formed of 33 layers of Damascus steel, with a VG10 core. VG10 is one of the most popular stainless steels among professional chefs – they covet its hardness, ability to hold an edge and its resistance to rust. The blade has been cold forged under extremely high pressure, for a denser, tougher blade overall. The Damascus/ VG10 combination gives you a knife that not only takes an exceedingly sharp edge, but is also easy to maintain. The indentations at the top of the blade prevent fatty, oily or starchy foods from sticking to the knife.

In between the stainless-steel bolster and hardwood handle, there is a thin ring of red – this is a heat resistant polymer that allows for temperature changes that may cause the knife and handle to expand or contract at different rates. So not only does it look great, but it protects your knife handle from splitting, too!


To continue reading, check out our guide to How To Properly Store Kitchen Knives or find out the Best Knife Blocks and Kitchen Knife Sets.



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