Slice, Peel, Devein, Hull – Using a Paring Knife

By / Food / August 23rd, 2013 / 1

A paring knife, as its name suggests, is most commonly used to peel or remove the skins from fruits and vegetables. Similar in shape to a chef’s knife but with a smaller blade – measuring anywhere from 2 to 4 inches – the paring knife has a variety of uses in the kitchen.

Peeling thin or thick skinned fruits and veggies

Hold the knife in your dominant hand with the fruit of veggie in your other hand. Make a small slice under the skin and with the blade facing you, rotate the fruit or vegetable.

Sectioning citrus fruits

Holding the already peeled fruit in your hand, with the blade facing the center of the fruit, cut each section as close the white membrane as possible.

Tip: Have a bowl under your fruit to catch any juice or hold over the sink when sectioning.


The paring knife is often easier to use than a chef’s knife when slicing smaller produce such as garlic, green onions, shallots and carrots.

Deveining shrimp

Carefully hold your knife with your thumb and index finger, about 1.5 inches from the tip of the blade. Slide the knife into the underside of the shrimp, detaching and pulling the vein from the shrimp.

Hulling Strawberries

Again, hold the blade itself at 1.5 inches from the tip and insert the knife downwards, towards the center of the fruit; twist the strawberry to remove the stem-cap without sacrificing too much of the meat.

Removing the ribs from peppers

After slicing or sectioning, hold the pepper or place it rib side up on a cutting board. Holding your knife with the blade towards you, gently slide under the rib and slice to remove.

Fine detail work

Any precision detail work, such as carving vegetables and fruits or creating intricate cuts for decorative garnishes, requires a good paring knife, preferably one with a bird-beak tip (curved tip). How you hold and use your knife in these instances will depend on the size of the blade and the job at hand.


Did we leave anything out? How do you use a paring knife?


Shannon is an urban soul living (and loving) a small-town, country life. Short term goals include always keeping her wine glass, and outlook on life, half-full. Long term goal…taking her three boys on a 6 month south Pacific adventure. We’ll keep you updated.

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