Kitchen tools are something we take seriously around here. While I'd love to tell you that your KitchenAid mixer is the most functional tool in your kitchen, I'd be lying. And it's true that I have a few favorite kitchen tools, just like Cara. But when it comes to multi-purpose use, only a few essentials can truly live up to the name. Before I tell you about the magical multi-purpose scissors that changed everything, you should know that I'm left-handed. For years, the only pair of scissors in my kitchen drawer was a red, dull pair that my right-handed boyfriend loathed. And one day, he finally caved and added a pair of multi-purpose kitchen shears to our grocery cart. That's the day everything changed.
Here's what I learned immediately: kitchen shears are not the same thing as scissors. Scissors have symmetrical finger holes with a blade that's typically less than 6 inches. Shears have a smaller finger hole and a larger one, with blades that are more than 6 inches in length. This matters for my roast chicken and spatchcocked birds, but we'll get there.
I once relied on my kitchen knives for everything, isn't that why I bought a high quality chef's knife, anyway? Not quite. Kitchen shears have changed the way I cook and it's mostly because they're designed to be used by left-handed and right-handed cooks. Nothing is as frustrating as trying to cut celery with kitchen scissors that are simply not made for your easy use. Here are the five reasons I love my new stainless steel kitchen shears.
1. My knives stay sharper longer.
By divvying up the tasks I use my kitchen knife set for, from the paring knife to the bread knife, I've found that I'm going longer between knife sharpening sessions. Because my knives aren't hitting the chopping board as often, I now have an easy cleaning routine in the kitchen. By doing less dishes regularly, I'm using less water. Now that's a win-win.
2. I'm saving money.
I've found that buying a whole chicken is much cheaper than buying portioned thighs and breasts, and ends up going a long way in my weeknight dinner recipes. At H-E-B, a Natural Fresh Whole Chicken is $7.36 at $1.70 per pound. The H-E-B Natural Split Chicken Breast clocks in at about $2.84 per pound, so I usually pay about $6.79 for a 2-pound package, per the Instacart estimate of H-E-B prices.
Those chicken breasts are usually for one meal on one night, and the leftovers are usually mine or my boyfriend's lunch for the next day or two. It's easy to see which choice is more economical. So where do kitchen shears come in? It's incredibly easy to break down a bird, even without specific poultry shears, into wings, breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Shears are also easier to control and offer a better hand grip.
3. I'm buying whole, fresh ingredients.
As much as I love farmer's markets and fresh ingredients, the reality is that it's an awful lot of work to prep fresh ingredients before cooking. Of course, I could make time to meal prep like Joanna Gaines on the weekend, and I could just suck it up and chop those fresh herbs instead of using their dried counterparts, but the truth is that I regularly don't. I swore by frozen vegetables to get me through the weeknight cooking slump.
I don't have specific herb shears, but I've begun using my come-apart kitchen shears as herb scissors and I've never "chopped" parsley or basil quicker. With that example in mind, I'm now buying fresh peppers, mushrooms, kale, spinach, and cabbage like it's my job. Come to think of it, it actually is. This reason alone was enough to convince me that my all-purpose shears are my new favorite kitchen buy, but still the list goes on.
And for the ingredients that aren't whole and fresh, they're whole and canned. Per Lindsay's suggestion to switch to whole canned vegetables, I found that kitchen shears make it so easy to dice down whole tomatoes, pineapple rings, and even pickles.
4. I'm a lean, mean carb-cutting machine.
I'm not going low-carb because I mean that literally. I'm cutting the extra dough from my pie crusts with new precision, and I'm even cutting down flour tortillas to fry for our own tortilla chips for this dip. Of course, you should be hand washing your utility scissors after every use if you, like me, use your kitchen shears on every item from raw meat to raw vegetables.
So my knife stays in the knife block where it belongs when I'm cutting bread into cubes for bread pudding, making croutons from stale bread, and opening up pitas to make pita pocket sandwiches. It does in half of the time what a high-carbon stainless steel bread knife could do, and that's all thanks to the heavy duty precision afforded by my shears and their stainless steel blades.
5. I'm eating healthier regularly.
You could have guessed this from the above lists, but with the addition of a whole chicken and fresh herbs to my cooking routine, my diet (and my boyfriend's) has exponentially improved. Laziness no longer threatens to overtake me at night as I fire up the stove because I know that my shears can handle things like snipping the tops off carrots and cutting up fresh mint without a cutting board and a few tedious moments.
That's not all, though. I'm chopping up dried fruit to put into yogurt and granola regularly. I'm wasting less vegetables by being able to easily snip away the parts gone dingy before the whole hunk of lettuce or box of kale. My slicing has become more precise so my stir fries and fajitas have meat and toppings with a more uniform consistency.
And that roast chicken I mentioned earlier? I use the carcasses to make my own chicken stock, and there truly is nothing like homemade stock.
The Best Kitchen Shears for Under $25
These global kitchen shears scored 4.5 stars out of 5 from 683 customer reviews from Amazon and can be held with either your right or left hand. The handle is even a helpful jar opener. Find them on Amazon here.
Made by ZWILLING J.A. Henckels, these shears earned 4.5 stars out of 5 from 685 customer reviews. For all of the features, it might as well be a kitchen shears set. They're corrosion resistant with a bottle cap opener in between the blades. The serrated handle acts as a nutcracker or a screw cap opener. Find the pair on Amazon here.
Of 409 customer reviews, OXO comes away with 4.5 stars out of 5, meaning the proof is in the pudding. Known for affordable kitchen products that are actually functional, these OXO shears even include an herb stripper. Find the shears on Amazon here.