Knife safety: how to hold a knife, finger and hand positioning

Chef Debra demonstrating proper technique for holding a kitchen knife

How to hold a knife: safest finger positioning for the hand holding the knife

Cuts and scrapes from kitchen knives are common but entirely preventable. Learn how to hold a knife in this first part of a series covering kitchen knife safety for cooks who are blind or vision impaired and everyone else!

Pinch the blade tightly between your thumb and index finger

First, hold the clean dry knife in your clean dry dominant hand, the hand you are cutting with.

Second, pinch the lowest portion of the side of the steel blade tightly between your thumb and index finger. Your index finger will be curved — not extended along the spine of the knife. Your pinch should be just above the top part of the handle.

Third, curl your other three fingers safely around the handle of the knife. 

Chef Debra demonstrating how to hold a knife while cutting fresh parsley.
Chef Debra demonstrates the safest way to hold a knife in the dominant or cutting hand – pinching the blade to keep the sharp side always facing downward.

Regardless of the length of the blade, pinching the lowest portion of the blade, the portion next to the handle, and circling your remaining fingers around the handle will keep the sharp side of the blade facing downward and keep your hand safe. This is true regardless of the length of the blade. 

Pinching the knife is the safest way to keep it from turning in your hand should it get wet or oily and allows you to keep the sharp blade always facing downward.

Use a Cut Glove

The Blind Kitchen Cut Glove will also help to keep your hands safe while using knives in the kitchen, though these are designed for use on the hand holding the food.

Read more about knife safety

This post is part of our series about knife safety. To learn more, read these posts:

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