If you’re looking at the photo for this post and thinking, “Those are just scissors,” you are not up on one of the trustiest tools in your drawer (or in your knife rack), kitchen shears. They’re sturdier and sharper than your average office scissors, often ambidextrous, and should come apart for easy cleaning and sharpening.

When your knife skills aren’t fantastic, tasks such as butterflying a chicken, trimming poultry fat, cutting through lobster and shrimp shells, and mincing or chiffonading herbs are all much faster and easier with shears. No one has to know that you uniformly diced or expertly boned a bird with something other than a knife.

Choose Your Weapon

For the first time user and the proficient cook:

Wüsthof Pull-Apart Shears, $19.95; Williams-sonoma.com

These ambidextrous shears are an essential for any kitchen. The straight blades are durable, sharp, and perfect for cutting anything you can think of (from chicken bones to impossible-to-open plastic blister-packs). Pull-apart is code for easy to clean and completely dry and sharpen. These also feature steel-toothed insets on the handles to help open bottles and jars.

For the gadget guru:

Kuhn Rikon Kitchen Shears, $20; amazon.com

The Swiss are known for their extreme precision in making everything from watches to chocolate, and these shears are no exception. They’re self-sharpening and spring-loaded for easier use on the toughest materials (both edible and industrial). Though these may resemble gardening clippers, they’re designed for kitchen work. Like the Wüsthof version, they have a bottle-opener feature, but this one also works as an herb stripper.


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