I love my kitchen shears, or kitchen scissors. These are scissors specifically for use in the kitchen, and they are one of my top used kitchen accessories. As long as I can remember, this is also something my mom has always had on hand, so they must be good!
What are kitchen shears?
Generally speaking, these are scissors designed especially for the kitchen. The blades tend to be sturdier than standard scissors, and the blades and handles are typically equal size. Most of them come apart for easy washing. Some may have extra features like an herb stripper or bottle opener built in. You will want to keep these with your kitchen supplies and avoid using them like regular scissors (opening food wrappers is fine, but avoid regular use on things like paper and boxes).
Where do I get kitchen shears?
You can purchase a pair online or at any home or kitchen store. This Kitchen Aid pair is highly rated on Amazon, and this fancier pair at Williams Sonoma. They often also come included with a knife set, so you may already have a pair at your disposal! I prefer the kind that are more like scissors rather than a spring-loaded garden snipper.
What do I use these for?
Cutting herbs or fine garnishes. I use kitchen shears to cut up a single green onion, or a little bit of herbs like parsley as a garnish. They provide enough dexterity to get a fine chop and avoid having to get out a knife and cutting board if you haven’t already used one. You will want to chiffonade your herbs still, which means roll them into a little tube and then snip off small bits from one end.
Cutting pizza. Geoff thought I was crazy that I cut my pizza with scissors instead of a pizza cutter. However, at 5’1″ I get pretty much zero leverage to push weight into a rolling pizza cutter and don’t find them particularly effective. The shears let you cut it across and also cut off smaller pieces and slivers as needed when you don’t quite want a whole extra piece.
Cutting food into smaller pieces. At every dim sum restaurant (Chinese tapas/small plates), if you ask them to cut or divvy up your dish, the employee will bust out a pair of kitchen shears and snip all the bao, shu mai, hom soy gok, etc. right in half for you. You can pretty much do the same thing for any food soft enough to be cut. This is great for quickly cutting up food from directly above its current plate or bowl, when you may not have the luxury of a good knife angle or transferring to a cutting board. A lot of people also use this for toddlers to cut their meal up smaller for easier eating and reducing choking hazards.
Cutting meat into bite-sized or stir fry pieces. Shears are fantastic for cutting up bacon – no stringy pieces, no stretching, no getting stuck to a cutting board. I hold a few slices at a time in one hand and snip directly into the pan or a prep bowl. I also cut up raw chicken with kitchen shears for soup, stir-fry, or even just trimming off weird fat or cartilage. I find the shears easier to handle than a knife in this case. You will want to use a knife if the size or shape needs to be more exact (e.g., thin slices, perfectly even dice), and you can slightly freeze or thoroughly chill your protein in this case for easier handling.
Trimming fresh flowers. I use my kitchen shears to trim flowers when putting them in a vase arrangement. They work on all but the toughest, woodiest of stems – most are like a vegetable! I don’t, however, use kitchen shears for my patio garden and use garden shears for that purpose.
And there you have it! Go forth and conquer with your kitchen shears.