What Type of Knife Do You Use for Basil?

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 | 0 Comments
What type of knife do you use for basil?

After all the shopping, washing and drying of those sweet green leaves, you might find yourself staring down the cutting board and wondering, what type of knife do you use for basil? Some knives are best for chopping through tough meats and vegetables, while others handle detailed cuts and peel with precision. 

Every good home chef should have a good variety of different types of kitchen knives in their collection, but what type of knife do you use for basil to cut cleanly and quickly without mashing the delicate herb? Should you use a different knife for mincing or chiffonading? Check out this knife guide to learn more about the best type of knife to use for basil (and any other type of food) and gain some tips for making the perfect cut every time.

In the meantime, let's address this question of the best knife for basil.


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What Type of Knife Do You Use for Basil? 

In general, the best type of knife to use for basil is a chef’s knife. The term “chef’s knife” doesn’t just refer to any old knife that a professional chef might use; it’s an actual style of cutting tool popular in Western cuisine. Chef’s knives usually have a blade between 6 and 10 inches long, with a sharp pointed tip and a gradually curved blade. Chef’s knives are one of the most versatile of all types of knives, and they can be used for everything from chopping meat and vegetables to mincing herbs and alliums. 

Any standard kitchen knife set should come with a chef’s knife, but you can also purchase them separately. Investing in a high-quality chef’s knife is a good choice for anyone who loves to cook frequently, and the versatile tool will last a lifetime with proper care and storage. Some of the best chef’s knives on the market include the Steelport 8-Inch Carbon Steel Chef Knife, Zwilling Professional S Chef’s Knife and Miyabi Kaizen II Chef's Knife.

Miyabi Kaizen II Chef's Knife
via Miyabi

A chef’s knife is the best type of knife to use for basil and other fresh herbs because it has a steady weight and fine blade edge that helps it quickly sever the leaf. Basil is a tender herb that can bruise easily. While bruising can release flavor if you’re using it as an ingredient, it doesn’t make for a very appealing garnish. The curved edge of a chef’s knife allows you to “rock” the blade across the basil leaves, rather than pulling, tearing and bruising. 

When it comes to the question “What type of knife do you use for basil?”, there really is no wrong answer. A chef’s knife may be the most comfortable and reliable choice for most people, but the best kitchen knives are the ones that work for you. Some people may enjoy the nimbleness and lightweight feel of the best paring knives, while others prefer the tidy chop of a small cleaver. As you grow and strengthen your culinary skills, feel free to try various knives and cutting techniques until you find the best knife to use for basil. 

chopping herbs
via Canva

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Tips and Safety for Cutting Basil

1. Achieve the Perfect Chiffonade

Chiffonading (seen below on fresh collard greens) is one of the best knife cuts to use on fresh basil. It may sound fancy, but this technique is rather simple and time-saving. Start by stacking about four to six basil leaves, with the larger leaves at the bottom of the pile. Starting at the stems, tightly roll the leaves until you have a cylindrical shape, then grab your trusty chef’s knife and chop the roll perpendicularly from one end to the other. Unfurl the pieces and you’ll have perfect basil strips to use as a garnish, topping or ingredient. 

chiffonade collards
via Canva

2. Treat Your Knives Right

No matter what type of knife you use for basil, you want it to be a sharp one. In some ways, a sharp kitchen knife is actually much safer than a dull one. Dull knives will cause you to exert more force, feel frustrated and become careless with your finger placement. Hand wash your kitchen knives whenever possible, and keep the blade sharpened, polished and free of rust and crust. 

What type of knife you use for basil makes a difference.
via Canva

3. Bet on Your Board

A good cutting board is almost as important as a solid chef’s knife. Any cutting board material will do, but make sure it’s clean, has a non-slip grip and is in good condition. Deep cuts and scratches in the board can harbor bacteria, so be wary of cleanliness when processing fresh herbs. 

cutting board and knife
via Canva

4. Practice Proper Hand Posture

When cutting basil, don’t wrap all five fingers around your knife handle. Instead, firmly grip the handle with four fingers and press the pad of your thumb against the side of the blade. This will give you better stability and control. Work carefully when cutting fresh herbs, and use a “claw” grip to hold the basil steady while keeping your fingertips clear of the blade.

Hand positioning is important when cutting basil or other foods.
via Canva

Now when a friend asks, “What type of knife do you use for basil?” you’ll know that the best knife to use for basil is a chef’s knife. Cooking isn’t an exact science, but there are some tools and techniques that are sure to help you along your culinary journey. Investing in a reliable chef’s knife is a must for cutting basil and more! 

For even more ways to elevate your kitchen, check out chef-recommended cutlery in the Cozymeal Shop.