Essential Knife Set

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Knives are the most important tools in your kitchen.

Good knives make cooking safer, easier, and more fun. Unfortunately, shopping the staggering array of knife styles, materials, and specialties can be bewildering. By focusing on high­-quality essentials, you get better performance for your money (and your counter space!).

Victorinox 8" Swiss Army Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife


Reviewed February 2019

We butchered whole chickens, chopped butternut squash, diced onions, and minced parsley to assess each knife’s performance completing standard kitchen tasks. We noted blade design issues as well as handle comfort and security. Before, during, and after testing, we evaluated each knife’s sharpness.

Steel Type: x50CrMoV15
Blade Angle: 15 Degrees

Mercer Culinary Millennia 10" Wide Bread Knife


Reviewed January 2019

We ran nine serrated knives through a series of tests to find one capable of handling all our usual tasks. We worked through 50 pounds of tomatoes, 18 yellow cakes, nine loaves of challah, 30 crusty rustic loaves and nine towering BLT sandwiches. Multiple testers, with varying dominant hands, hand sizes, and skill levels assessed the knives and rated them on their cutting ability and comfort.

Dimensions: 5" x 1" x 18"
Blade Length: 10"
Weight: 4.8 oz

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Paring Knife


Reviewed June 2017

We gauged precision and agility by hulling strawberries and tested sharpness by sectioning oranges, mincing shallots, and slicing ginger root. Knives with good balance, weight, and proportion and comfortable grips performed best.

Weight: 0.75 oz
Blade Length: 3¼"

J.A. Henckels International Take Apart Kitchen Shears


Reviewed May 2018

We evaluated shears on their performance and comfort while cutting whole raw chickens, twine, parchment, woody fresh rosemary stems, and tender pie dough. We paid attention to tension, handle design and material, blade length, and overall balance.

Cleanup: Separable blades
Clean: Dishwasher Safe

Victorinox 8" Swiss Army Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10" Wide Bread Knife
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Paring Knife, 3 1/4-inch
J.A. Henckels International Take Apart Kitchen Shears
Item Number: ATKKNIFE
Item Weight: 2.45 pounds

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Knife Tips

Depending on the food being prepared, you will use different parts of the knife blade and different motions. Here are four basic motions used.

Small Items - Keep Top Down

To cut small items, such as celery, push the blade forward and down, using the blade’s curve to guide the middle of the knife through smooth strokes.

Large Items - Lift Blade Up

To cut large items, such as eggplant, lift the entire blade off the board to help make smooth strokes.

Mincing - Use Both Hands

To mince herbs and garlic, grip the handle with one hand and rest the fingers of your other hand lightly on the knife tip. This grip facilitates the up-­and­-down rocking motion needed for mincing. Pivot the knife as you work through the pile of food.

Tough Items - Use the Heel

To cut tough foods like winter squash or bone­-in chicken parts, use the heel of the knife. Use one hand to grip the handle and place the flat palm of your other hand on top of the blade. Cut straight down into the item, pushing the blade gently. Make sure your hand and the knife are dry to prevent slippage.