Every product covered here is independently selected by opinionated humans. But so you know, buying stuff through our links may earn us a small share of the sale or other compensation.

Alexa Fishman / BuzzFeed

11 Ways Kitchen Shears Will Sharpen Your Cooking Skills

Watch me *snip*, watch me nae nae.

One of the most important cooking rules is having your tools at the ready. A sharp knife, a durable cutting board, and a dependable sauté pan are essentials, but there’s one more thing you should add to your daily arsenal: kitchen shears.

Kitchen shears may not seem like a big deal, but the truth is a good pair can change the way you approach cutting pretty much anything. An easy-to-use tool that’ll make quick work out of cutting parchment paper and breaking down a whole chicken, among other things? Your chef knife could never.

Now, when shopping for a pair of do-it-all kitchen shears, there are a few things to consider. First, we’re firm believers that kitchen shears should stay in the kitchen; get a dedicated pair and keep them there. And while this is more of a bonus than a requirement, shears that come apart in two pieces are easier to clean more thoroughly. In terms of the blades, one side should have a strong, serrated edge (i.e., little grooves) to help grip whatever you’re cutting and snip through with precision. They should be lightweight, ideally with comfort grips on the handles to make them, well, comfortable to use.

Now that you know what you’re looking for in your kitchen shears, here are 11 ways they can change the way you spend your time in the kitchen, along with recommendations for our favorites across three price points.

ADVERTISEMENT

1. They Snip Herbs Quickly
Least favorite herb to cut? Mine are chives, which have a tendency to fly all over the cutting board when cut with a knife. Trim chives and other herbs right over a bowl and get through bunches in a minute. To cut basil, sage, or other larger leaves, try rolling them up for an easy chiffonade.

2. They Make Cutting Pizza As Easy As Pie
Weird to say it, but scissors make cutting pizza just plain fun. Granted, it’s a little hot to handle pizza this way, but you can snip right through the crust for easy serving.

3. They Help You Break Down a Bird Without Breaking a Sweat
Spatchcocking is a big word for butterflying a chicken so it cooks faster. Long story short: You cut out the backbone of the chicken so it can lie flat. Intimidating? Yes. But not so much with a pair of sharp kitchen shears! You can also easily break down a raw or cooked bird into parts, whether cutting it into quarters or removing individual pieces.

4. They Slice Meat Into Manageable Pieces
Cutting bacon into lardons? Shears. Need to make a stir-fry with thin pieces of meat that will cook quickly? Shears. Trimming off fat? Shears again! You can also use them to cut cooked meat if you’re fixin’ to top a salad with steak or cut chicken for a quesadilla.

5. They Peel and Devein Shrimp Like a Fishmonger
Buying whole shrimp can save you at least a few dollars per pound, but you’ll have to clean them yourself. To peel shrimp easily, just cut through the shell with the shears, then snip up the back with shallow cuts to devein them. The process goes much faster using scissors, and is safer than using a paring knife with something so small and slippery.

6. They Trim Noodles Down to Slurpable Sizes
A lot of Asian noodles, including glass noodles and sweet potato noodles, do not come pre-cut. After boiling, they can be a few feet long and hard to slurp up in dishes like Korean japchae. Instead of wrestling with noodles on a cutting board, just snip them into manageable lengths right in the pot or bowl.

7. They Prune Vegetables in a Snap
If you need to cut off some sad-looking stems from vegetables, using kitchen shears makes pruning fast. Also great for cutting florets from heads of broccoli and cauliflower.

8. They Make Dough D’Oh-Proof
Once you transfer pie dough to the pan, there is usually a fair amount of excess to trim off before you can crimp. Use shears to go all the way around the pan and trim evenly. Shears can also be used to cut the top of sourdough loaves before baking, cut challah dough into segments to braid, or make strips of dough for sticky buns.

9. They Cut through Sticky Dried Fruit with Less Mess
Putting whole dried apricots or figs on top of a salad can be a bit much. Cut ‘em into bite-sized pieces with shears first. When making, say, sticky toffee pudding, you can remove the pits from dates and chop them up with scissors. And for packing lunches, snip dried mango and pineapple into pieces that are more snackable.

10. They’re Killer at De-Stemming Kale
Hardy leafy greens like kale and collards have a tough and fibrous center rib that needs to be removed. Rather than taking all the leaves off individually, just trim on either side of the rib for quick greens prep. You can then snip the greens into salad-appropriate lengths, or roll up leaves and cut thinly for a ribboned kale salad.

11. They Make DIY Chopped Salad in Seconds
Stop paying $15 for a chopped salad. Add all the ingredients you want into a bowl and chop like crazy with your shears. Add dressing, mix — and cut ties with the overpriced salad spot next to your office building.

ADVERTISEMENT

KitchenAid Shears with Soft Grip Handles

Budget Pick: KitchenAid

These $9 shears (which I have found for as low as $6 at T.J.Maxx) were my first-ever pair of kitchen scissors, and they are the best bang for your buck. They struggle a bit with cutting heavy-duty things like chicken, but work great for tender herbs, making chopped salads, and cutting dough. They don’t come apart for cleaning, so they’ve become my backup pair, and the one I gifted to my parents since they only use them occasionally. They are dishwasher-safe, though, so they can get some good sanitation in there. Wash them with the blades open on the top rack and then dry immediately.

KitchenAid Shears with Soft Grip Handles, $8 at Amazon

Oxo Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors

Mid-Range Pick: OXO 

At $18, OXO’s shears are double KitchenAid’s price, but they have twice as many features. These have an herb stripper built in to take rosemary off its stem in seconds. Their grips are as good as the name implies, with large, comfortable handles that can fit a range of hand sizes. Cutting through bones is a little difficult for these shears, but it can be done, and the shock-absorbing grips help make it less hard on your hands. OXO also makes poultry-specific shears that have spring action to help with tougher kitchen jobs, like cutting through bones.

Oxo Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors, $18 at Amazon

Material Kitchen Good Shears

Splurgeworthy Pick: Material Kitchen 

It’s rare to see kitchen shears and call them beautiful, but Material Kitchen’s latest offering manages to do that. The design is not just for aesthetics, though: They are highly functional, and also affordable at $35, considering they are made entirely of German stainless steel rather than part plastic like our other picks. They are the sharpest shears I’ve ever used, with nice micro serration on the blades, and they cut as easily through a chicken (raw and cooked, bones and meat alike) as they do more delicate things like scallions. The silicone grips are nice and can be removed for cleaning, as well as taking apart the blades to make sure they’re super clean. They can go in the dishwasher, but I recommend hand-washing and drying to make sure they don’t get damaged or rusted (though Material claims they are indestructible).

Material Kitchen Good Shears, $35 at Material

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Every product covered here is independently selected by opinionated humans. But so you know, buying stuff through our links may earn us a small share of the sale or other compensation.

More on The Journal

FujiFilm Instax Mini Link vs. Polaroid Lab: Which Instant Photo Printer Is Better?

We Ordered 6 Picture Frames to Find the Best Online Framing Service

It’s Winter: How Should I Change Up My Skincare Routine?

Actually, Kitchen Sponges Are Really Gross When You Think About It