Santoku knives and chef knives look so similar both in form and function that a lot of people wonder whether they are the same. Both knives are versatile and applicable to a variety of cutting tasks. In fact, they are so similar that the Santoku is considered as just the Japanese version of the Western-style chef knife. They are even interchangeable.
Much like a western chef knife, the Santoku is a general-purpose knife. But while these two cutting tools have gained popularity due to their exceptional performance on the job, there’s a lot that separates them.
Size: The standard Santoku knife measures 5-7 inches in size, while a chef knife measures 8-10 inches. This means that the Santoku is typically smaller than a chef knife. However, it is common to find shorter chef knives or longer Santoku nowadays.
Blade: A Santoku knife is characterized by hollowed-out indentations on the edge of its straight blade. The feature is meant to help make it easier to release food. On its part, the chef knife features a broad, tapered shape and a beautifully sharp edge that makes cutting a breeze.
Uses: The main difference between a Santoku knife and a Chef knife lies in the way they are used in cutting foods. The curved blade of a chef’s knife makes it ideal for rocking back and forth across a cutting board when you are chopping plenty of vegetables. The wide, flat blade of the Santoku knife, on the other hand, is perfect for chopping, since it cuts mainly with single downward movements.
Weight: The Santoku knife is shorter, thinner and lighter than the chef knife. This means that individuals with smaller hands will find it a bit more comfortable to handle than the chef knife.
Overall, both the Santoku and Chef knives are great cutting tools to have in your knife block (or drawer). You will find the chef’s knife handy for tasks that require a longer blade, while the Santoku knife will enable you to chop foods even without making much effort.
Which kind of knives do you have? How is your experience with the knives? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.
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Chef Maryam Ghargharechi
Proud mom, wife, and red seal chef with a passion!
Member of WACS, CCFCC, and BC Chefs' Association.
Juicy tomatoes and creamy burrata cheese join green olives, aromatic lemon zest, and dry oregano, all garnished with quality olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and a finishing sprinkle of fresh-cracked pepper and flaky sea salt.