The Right Way to Hold a Knife

Get a grip before you start slicing and dicing.

Daniel Modlin|Mar 04, 2022
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Holding a knife isn’t as hard as it sounds. If you aren’t holding it by the blade, you’re off to a good start and chances are, you’ll end up with a fine result.

Just how fine and how exact however, is where the proper technique comes into play. If you know how to hold a knife like a professional chef, your cuts will be cleaner, your slices thinner, and your cubes more even.

The Handle Grip

The first way you may instinctively hold  a knife is actually called the Handle Grip. As the name suggests, this is simply holding the knife by the handle. To do so, wrap all four fingers around the handle, like you might hold your phone or a water glass, and start chopping.

While this grip works, it's mostly for beginners, and if you try it, you can see why. It is difficult to balance the blade in your hand and you’ll end up sporadically whacking the knife across the cutting board with little to no precision.

The Pinch Grip

Instead, we recommend the Pinch Grip. First, choke up on the knife, curling your three bottom fingers around the handle and pinch on opposite sides, where the base of the handle meets the blade. Your pointer and thumb should be pinching the blade, not the handle.

While this might feel awkward at first, give it some practice. It’s like learning to use chopsticks or holding a pen or pencil the wrong way then the right way—the more you try, the more dexterity you’ll build and the easier it will become.

The Claw

As for what your other hand does, it plays an equally important role. Turn your non-dominant into a claw-like formation, and place it on top of your ingredient, say an onion, with your fingertips curled away. Your knuckles will press into the ingredient and your thumb, tucked behind, will help stabilize.

The flat part of the blade should be flush against your knuckles and you should move your claw backward as you slice. This not only keeps the ingredient secure, it also ensures that if your knife slips, it’s hitting the flat part of your knuckles instead of slicing into your fingers.

Now that you know how to hold a knife, try

these five knife cuts out

. You’ll master them in no time. To see these knife grips in action, check out our video.