How To Use And Properly Maintain Your Nakiri Knife

By Kristy Warren •  Updated: 02/01/21 •  7 min read

If you ever see a chef chopping the vegetables then you must have wondered how they get each slice so even and thin. The secret is a ‘Nakiri Knife’. The chefs’ use a Japanese Knife called ‘Nakiri Knife’ to get that perfect, even and thin slice each time. If you are wondering what this magical knife is, then let’s dive in.

What is a Nakiri Knife?

Nakiri knives are mainly a Japanese style knife that is used for chopping the vegetables. This knife has a much thinner blade which is ideal for chopping the even the delicate vegetables without damaging the vegetable itself. The large blade has squared off tips and a straight cutting edge angles from both sides which let the knife cut the vegetables reaching even to the chopping board without any horizontal pull or push.

This will get you the ultimate straight slices every time you use it. The shape rectangular blade with a thin cutting edge and lightweight are what makes a Nakiri knife best for both home and professional use.

On a side note, we’ve listed up our favorite nakiri knives on the market, just in case you’re interested. 

How to use a Nakiri knife:

When it comes to using a Nakiri knife to cut vegetables you need to follow a certain pattern. A Nakiri knife has a straight tip that makes it very easy to use. While cutting the vegetables you need to move the knife in an up and down motion only, not in horizontal motion.

Keep your fingers bent in a claw shape and use your knuckles as a pattern to using the blade. Now just simply glide the knife up and down while touching your knuckles slightly. Go on straight to get the evenly cut. This way the knife will reach to the chopping board without any extra force and you can cut the vegetables smoothly. It might take some practices acquiring the skill for a perfect nakiri knife use. 

How to take care of a Nakiri Knife:

Taking a good care of your Nakiri knife will provide you with the ultimate smooth cutting each time you use it. There are several steps you need follow to ensure a good condition of your Nakiri knife for a longer period of time.

Cleaning properly:

You need to clean the knife after each time you use it. Don’t leave it for long before cleaning. If you think you need time to clean it, then at least wipe the knife with a kitchen towel for the time being and then clean it properly.

Look what you use the knife for:

You need to be careful while choosing what you are going to use the knife for. Don’t cut frozen vegetables with the knife. Don’t try to open a glass bottle cap or anything other than chopping.

Don’t bend:

Avoid bending the blade of the knife. This will damage the blade shape and cause micro-fracture in the blade. As a result, you might need to polish the knife more often than required. 

Take care of the handle:

The blade of the Nakiri knife is extended all the way up to the handle. So take care of the handle as well. If the handle feels loose then repair it immediately before using it again. A loose handle will cause accidents anytime.

Sharp the knife:

Blades get dull over time. So you need to sharpen the blade on a regular basis. A dull blade will not give you the best performance and the slices won’t be even and clean as well. But try to use the whetstone over the honing rod.

Store the knife properly:

Storing the Nakiri knife properly is another great way of taking a good care of the knife. After cleaning wipe the knife with a dry towel or let it air dry. Store the knives in a separate drawer or box. You can also hang it on the wall with a magnetic knife holder as well. But make sure the knife it totally dry before you put it in the storage.

Safety tips for using a Nakiri knife:

Comparing to other knives, the straight tip blade of Nakiri knives is less likely to cause accidents by poking the fingers while chopping. But there are still some other tips you can follow to ensure complete safety while singing a Nakiri knife:

  1. Make sure your blade is sharp before you use it. Because a dull blade is more prone to causing accidents.
  2. Use a good chopping board and keep the board on a flat surface while you are using it.
  3. make sure your grip is firm and comfortable. Keep a keen eye for the handle condition as well. Holding the knife properly comes first in the chopping rules. Use pinch grip method for this.Use your thumb to place the knife in your hand from one side. Our index will be on the upper side of the blade. Remaining three fingers will be on the handle. This will give a firm gripping as well as precise control. Always use hold the knife in your dominant
  4. Know the proper chopping rules. Keep your fingers in a claw shape and use your knuckles as a guide.

 How to sharpen a Nakiri Knife

Knives need sharpening, no matter what. For a Nakiri, there are several sharpening mediums available. Have a look- 

1. Whetstone or diamond stone:

First, check the angle your Nakiri knife is already designed. If can’t find the predesigned angle then contact the manufacturer and find the angle or you can choose any angle that will work for you. Then take a diamond stone or whetstone and lubricate with a little amount of mineral oil. This will act as honing oil to prevent unnecessary friction.

You need to keep the angle constant while sharpening the knife. So first find an angle guide and keep it in the place during the whole process. First, use the rough side of the stone to grind and then the fine side to sharpen the knife. After doing one side flip the knife and do the other side accordingly. For symmetric result drag the knife in the same direction each time.

2. Honing Rod:

You can also use a honing rod holding it at 20º with the knife and dragging the knife in the same direction each time.

3. Ceramic Mug:

For a temporary result, you can also use a ceramic mug. Put the mug upside down and drag the knife along the edge at 20º.

How to clean Kitchen Nakiri knives

Cleaning the knives properly plays an important role when it comes to the performance and longevity of the knives. After each use, you need to clean the knives with warm water and dish wash. Just simply swipe the knife with a towel dipped in the water-soap mixture.

If there is anything stuck on the blade, keep in in the soap mixture for a couple of minutes and then remove that with a light hand. Don’t use any sharp/rough scrubber that can scratch the blade. Don’t leave your knives in the sink for long and air dry them after each wash. Never wash a knife in the dishwasher. Store them properly afterward.

Final words

A Naikiri knife is what you need when it comes of making the dishes with the perfectly chopped vegetables like a professional chef. You can find many version of this Japanese knife on the market from many different brands. Each brand has their own way of making their Naikiri knife the best. So go for the one which suits your need the best.

And don’t forget to clean and store your Naikiri knife properly after each use. This way you can get the thinnest and cleanest cut from every type of vegetables each time you use the knife.

Kristy Warren

Hello, I’m Kristy and the person behind I regularly post daily life kitchen-oriented things like kitchen hacks, kitchen tools, utensils, and related articles. The purpose of this blog is to make an archive and share my ideas and knowledge with my followers.