What is a Nakiri Knife?

Nakiri are traditional Japanese style knives that are used for chopping and mincing vegetables and fruit. You might mistake the Nakiri for a meat cleaver with its thin rectangular blade. While they may look the same and while they are both chopping knives, the meat cleaver is obviously for meat while the Nakiri is for vegetables. It is a lightweight knife and is therefore not suitable for heavy duty chopping.

Unlike many knives, including the cleaver, the Nakiri blade is much thinner than knives that are designed to chop meat and bones. The thin blade means that you slice through the vegetables rather than potentially breaking the vegetables which can happen with a thicker blade.

So why is the knife squared off at the tip? It is so you can use the full blade to slice. It also makes the knife feel more robust and secure than the pointed tip of the Santoku and Gyuto and allows it to cut dense products at the tip. This is compared to a pointed blade which can be used to cut around things you don’t want in your food or to cut around bones.

Sizes of the Nakiri vary but you usually find the between 165 mm and 180 mm in length.

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