If you’re looking for a kitchen knife that’s great for cutting vegetables and greens, you should know the difference between a Nakiri and a Santoku. These blades will work well for general cutting, but they have their differences.
A Santoku knife is more versatile. It has a pointy tip, straight edges, and sheepsfoot-shaped blade. A Nakiri knife has rounded tips, straight edges, and a rectangular blade. It is specifically designed for chopping vegetables.
In this comparison of Nakiri and Santoku knives, you will learn about the specifications, differences, and similarities between the two.
Nakiri vs Santoku Knives: Comparison at a Glance
|Purpose of Use||Cutting Vegetables and fruit||Cutting Fish, fruit, vegetables and meat|
|Blade Design||straight blade edge||Straight edge with rounded tip|
|Sharpness angle||28-34 degrees total||20-30 degrees total|
|Blade length||6.5 to 7 inches||6 to 7 inches|
|Cutting action||straight, up and down||slicing, rocking, and cutting straight, up and down|
|Most Popular product||Shun Cutlery Premier Grey Nakiri Knife||Mac Knife MSK-65 Santoku Knife
1. Purpose of the Knife
Nakiri is a Japanese word that means greens cutter. You would find it in Japanese kitchens traditionally. However, It is still beneficial for professionals today.
This knife is handy for chopping vegetables and fruit due to its rectangular profile and flat edge. These profiles provide an excellent rhythmic cut. While you can use the Santoku for general chopping and slicing, the Nakiri is designed for a specific task.
The Nakiri knife is perfect for making a stir-fry meal. It requires cutting 4-5 kinds of vegetables and a few garlic cloves. It quickly cuts each ingredient uniformly, ensuring even cooking of the ingredients.
However, while it may be easier to sharpen, the Santoku is unsuitable for beginners. Investing in a high-quality Santoku is better if you are a serious chef.
While a santoku is ideal for general cutting, a Nakiri is better for cutting onions. A Nakiri knife is more likely to glide through the onion.
It’s not the most potent knife in the world, but it is better than a santoku for quick chopping. A santoku is the best option if you’re using a small kitchen.
When choosing between Santoku and Nakiri knives, consider the size and type of meat you will be cutting.
Nakiri is typically shorter, but you can use it to chop large meats and vegetables. However, you can use the Nakiri knife to chop significant cuts of meat with a wide-bladed edge.
2. The Design of the Blade
When preparing Japanese cuisine, a Santoku knife is preferred to a Nakiri knife. Although the Nakiri and the Santoku knives are similar in appearance, their blade design and handling differ.
The santoku blade consists of high carbon material, making it thin and resilient. The blade must also be at least 16 degrees to cut food efficiently.
In addition to an asymmetrical edge, a santoku knife has a straight edge. This makes it ideal for cutting large foods, such as vegetables.
Its wide blade is also ideal for chopping. Unlike Nakiri knives, a Santoku has a thicker, wider blade that’s great for chopping. A Nakiri has a belly, which is not desirable.
3. Historical Significance
Nakiri knives are classic Japanese kitchen tools. They have long been a mainstay in the Japanese kitchen.
While santoku knives have similar names, they were developed differently to fit the needs of home cooks. For example, the Nakiri knife is meant for chopping meat, while the Santoku is designed to slice and process food.
In addition to their names, both Nakiri and Santoku knives are designed to be more versatile and durable.
4. Shape and Weight
One of the significant differences between a Nakiri knife and a Santoku knife is their size and shape. Nakiri knives have a flat edge that makes full contact with the cutting board.
This results in cleaner cuts. In addition, Nakiri knives are perfect for producing uniform and thin slices. While santoku knives were first designed in Japan during World War II, Nakiri knives were made more convenient for home cooks.
A Nakiri knife is slightly shorter than a chef’s knife and has a flat and pointed edge. Both are excellent for chopping. However, the latter is better for cutting cooked ham.
Summary of the Features, Pros and Cons of Nakiri Santoku Knives
Nakiri Knives: Features
Blade Length: Nakiri knives are generally 6.5 to 7 inches in length.
Blade Design: These knives are thin and long with straight, squared edges.
Best Use: Nakiri knife is best for cutting fruits and vegetables.
Sharpness: Nakiri knives are 28 to 34 degrees sharp in total.
Cutting Action: Nakiri is used for slicing, rocking, and cutting straight, up and down.
- Famous for even and precise cutting slices
- Excellent choice for cutting up and down
- Fast and efficient knives
- The perfect knife for cutting delicate vegetables
- Not suitable for cutting thick meat slices
- Only helpful in cutting vegetables and fruits
Santoku Knives: Features
Blade Length: Santoku knives range from 6 to 7 inches in length.
Blade Design: These knives are long and thin with a straight edge and rounded tip.
Best Use: Santoku knives are more versatile in use, and thus, you can use them to cut meat, fruits, vegetable, fish, and cheese.
Sharpness: A Santoku knife has a sharpness of around 20 to 30 degrees.
Cutting Action: These knives are useful in straight, up and down cutting and chopping.
- Versatile in usability
- Very stable knives
- Precise and even cutting
- Dimples to reduce friction
- Perfect for cutting thin meat slices
- Usually, chip on thicker items
- Require proper storing
Similarities Between Nakiri and Santoku Knives
Let us summarize the similarities between Nakiri and santoku knives in one word: versatility. While both are suitable for all-purpose chopping, Nakiri is a better choice for heavy-vegetable meals.
Santoku is more versatile. However, both knives have different purposes. It is essential to understand what each knife is capable of before purchase.
Among the similarities between Nakiri and Santoku knives, the single-bevel-edged blade of a santoku is less likely to bend when cutting.
This makes Nakiri knives easier to handle. While a Santoku knife can produce thin slices, Nakiri knives are typically heavier. In order to use Nakiri knives, it is essential to learn how to sharpen them for the correct use.
Another similarity between Nakiri and Santoku knives is that they are equally helpful for general cutting. Nakiri knives are best for chopping and slicing vegetables, while Santoku knives are best for general cutting. You can use both knives for slicing vegetables, herbs, and meat.
When choosing the best knife, there are several factors to consider. Among these factors is the size and weight of the blade. Santoku knives are shorter than Nakiri knives.
However, Santoku is still an excellent choice for slicing fruits and vegetables. This knife style has many advantages over Nakiri. Generally speaking, Santoku knives are better for cutting meat and fish.
While both knives have distinct advantages, they are not ideal for all tasks. Santoku knives are better for general chopping. However, both knives are handy for various cuts, including stir-frying.
You will be able to slice vegetables, cut fruits, and make slicing vegetables easier and safer. So, the next time you consider buying a new kitchen knife, consider buying a Nakiri or a Santoku.