15 Reasons You Should Be Using Kitchen Shears More Often

Kitchen shears are often an overlooked and under-appreciated tool in the kitchen. Ask any chef about their must-have items and almost all would include a strong, high-quality pair of kitchen shears on their list. While chef's knives are often included in those lists, too, and believe us, they're very important, knowing when it's the right time to put the knife down and opt for shears can save you a lot of time and hassle in the kitchen.

Kitchen shears make simple tasks like finely snipping herbs or breaking down poultry and seafood easier, and they can be a safer approach to tackling certain foods. Since your knives can slip when tackling slippery foods like canned tomatoes or raw chicken, kitchen shears are a great alternative in those situations. And even if you have a pair sitting in your drawer or knife block set, odds are, they aren't living up to their potential. Whether you're a seasoned home chef or are new to the kitchen, there are a number of reasons you should be reaching for this kitchen tool more often.

1. Resize parchment paper for round baking pans

If seeing the direction to line your round cake pan with parchment paper makes you break a sweat, that is totally understandable. Luckily, you can easily tackle this step with a pair of kitchen shears and the right technique. Simply fold a square piece of parchment paper in half twice, then into a triangle, and then in half again until the piece is about an inch wide. You'll then line up the point of the thin triangle with the center of the round pan and cut off any access along the edge of the pan to create a perfectly shaped parchment round — all with the help of your handy kitchen shears.

Lining baking dishes, loaf pans, or cake pans with parchment paper can be an essential step in ensuring your baked goods don't stick to the bottom of your pan, and having a pair of kitchen shears handy makes tackling this quick step in the baking process a no-brainer. While this might seem like a job for any pair of scissors, sticking to one pair of shears for all food-related uses is always a good idea. After all, you should be in the habit of cleaning them after every use. This holds especially true if you are using these same shears for any tasks involving raw meats, food packaging, or cutting sticky, messy foods.

2. Easily cut up whole tomatoes in a can

Making homemade pizza or pasta sauce is easier, quicker, and more cost-effective than you might think — and it's usually more delicious than any store-bought, jarred sauce you have in your pantry. But there is no denying that the process can be a bit messy, especially if you're dealing with a can of whole tomatoes. Rather than dicing or crushing those whole tomatoes with a knife or your hands, take this as an opportunity to reach for your kitchen shears.

Slicing the tomatoes directly in the can means you can chop them to your desired size without the mess of transferring the saucy tomatoes to a cutting board or dirtying another bowl — and anything that cuts down on dishes is definitely considered a win. If you want to have more control over how finely you're chopping your tomatoes, you can also chop the food directly in the pan with your kitchen shears. Just make sure your pan's surface can handle metal utensils first, as you might scratch the bottom of the pan with the tip of the shears. This can come in handy if you find that some of your food wasn't cut to your desired size.

3. Chopped salad ingredients come together quickly

A salad loaded with greens, veggies, and protein is a great go-to meal option, but the prep work of chopping all of your ingredients can be a huge deterrent (or an excuse to just go to your favorite to-go salad chain instead of cooking). Luckily, you can achieve the same chopped texture of your favorite restaurant salad at home without adding another tool to your arsenal. Kitchen shears are a great way to effectively cut down your food and preparation time with little effort.

You can use the shears to chop your veggies individually as you add them to the salad, or you can throw everything into a bowl and give the whole thing a good chop at the same time. While you might not get the most even dice with the latter option, you'll ensure an easy and fast prep time. Either way, you'll cut down on dishes by not having to pull out a cutting board, and you'll upgrade your lunch with little effort.

4. Shears are strong enough to cut through shells and crack nuts

Lobster tails are high on the list of intimidating foods to cook and eat, especially without the right tools. If you've ever wondered what the right way to eat a lobster tail is, you'll need a good pair of kitchen shears, for starters. Kitchen shears are made strong enough to cut through hard shells, but they are also precise enough to get between the meat of your lobster tail and the tough exterior. You'll slice through shells with ease without sacrificing any precious pieces of tender lobster meat.

Don't stop at lobster tails, though. Kitchen shears can also come to the rescue when tackling other hard-shelled fish like crab legs. The inner lining of the handles is typically equipped with metal prongs, perfect for doubling as a shell cracker. Just slide the leg in between the handles and give it a strong squeeze — you'll be pulling out the perfect slice of meat every time. This inner handle area also acts as a great nutcracker for shell-on walnuts, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts.

5. Easily handle delicate and tough herbs

Whether your recipe calls for basil, rosemary, or oregano, knowing the right way to handle each herb can actually make a huge difference in how your meal turns out. Luckily, turning to kitchen shears each time can make the task of handling fresh herbs an easy one. A sharp pair of kitchen shears helps when snipping delicate basil leaves, which can be prone to bruising when handled with a dull knife. Kitchen shears are also handy when clipping off the leaves from their stems when handling bunches of parsley, cilantro, and dill.

Plus, some shears come with extra features, including herb strippers that can make it faster to remove tougher herbs like rosemary and oregano from their rough stems. You can also opt for herb-specific kitchen shears, which have multiple blades to make quickly chopping through foods like scallions a breeze. Whether you're prepping large bunches of herbs to add to a simmering soup or marinade or possibly adding a light garnish of fresh herbs to a ready-to-eat meal, these shears will come in handy.

6. Make kid-friendly bites in less time

When you're preparing food for your kids, convenience and efficiency are more important than ever. When preparing lunch, breakfast, and dinner, part of the process is inevitably breaking the food down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Having a way to do that quickly and efficiently is a game changer. Whether you're cutting the crusts off bread for sandwiches, cutting tortillas or pita into smaller pieces for snacking, or breaking down foods like quesadillas and pasta, kitchen shears are your best friend. You'll have bite-sized pieces for your little one with minimal effort.

This holds equally true when breaking down food for any reason, whether that be making little appetizer sandwiches for a party, slicing pita into smaller pieces for dipping into hummus or tzatziki or cutting tortillas into smaller, triangle-shaped pieces for homemade tortilla chips. Stack the tortillas and pita while cutting, so you can cut more pieces in less time. You'll save both time and effort with this tip.

7. Spatchcock chicken and break down poultry

If you're looking for tips to get dinner on the table faster or make Thanksgiving turkey less intimidating, spatchcocking might be your answer. The process, which involves removing the backbone of a whole chicken or turkey and then flattening the bird, results in faster cooking times as well as more evenly cooked meat. That might sound like an intimidating and time-consuming task, but when done with a pair of kitchen shears, it can be almost foolproof.

The reason kitchen shears are preferred for this task compared to a knife is that you have to cut through cartilage and bone directly along the spine of the bird, which requires a sharp utensil and a little muscle, so you'll likely be more accurate and successful with shears. Plus, a knife can easily slip off the surface of a raw chicken or turkey, where shears offer more control. Spatchcocking isn't the only use case for shears when handling poultry, though. They make it easier to remove small pieces of fatty tendons from raw cuts like breasts and thighs without losing any meat in the process. If you plan to use your shears for handling raw meats, make sure to purchase a pair that is dishwasher-safe for a thorough cleaning.

8. Peel and devein shrimp with precision

Handling shrimp, especially when you plan to serve it raw, requires a few steps of preparation that are extremely important, including removing the veins and shells properly. Since both the shells and the veins are rather delicate, the accuracy and precision of shears can be really helpful. Shears are agile enough to slide under the shell, between the casing and the flesh, to cut through the shell without damaging the shrimp. Similarly, for deveining, the precision offered by shears helps you cut the small vein out without much hassle.

If you're curious about how to find the correct vein and how to remove it, follow this helpful guide to make sure you're handling the food correctly. Even after you've prepped and cooked the shrimp, the shears can come in handy. Whether you're making the shrimp for a salad or to add to pasta, shears are a great tool for quickly chopping up the cooked fish to top your dish.

9. Slice pizzas and flatbreads

While pizza wheels are the typical utensil for divvying up a pizza into slices, they're not always the best option and some households might not even have one in their arsenal of products. Instead of adding a single-use product to your cart, make the most of your shears. Reaching for a pair of kitchen shears to divide a pie can actually lead to more evenly portioned slices that pull apart more easily — no more ripping apart two slices that didn't get fully cut through.

Some shears are made for the task of slicing pizzas and flatbreads in mind and have a flat edge below the bottom blade, so the shears easily slide along the base of the pizza. But whether you opt for the pizza-specific shears or just reach for the universal pair you already have, the result will be the same. Naturally, this method can be utilized for flatbreads, garlic bread, quesadillas, or any other large, card-based dish meant for a group.

10. Cut bacon into strips for salads or pasta

Everyone loves garnishing a salad with bacon bits or incorporating slices of bacon into a pasta dish for added flavor. But cutting down those slices might be more work than expected, and, if done the wrong way, you might be sacrificing a lot of that precious flavor.

Since bacon is naturally fatty with a slippery surface, cutting through it with a knife isn't an easy task. Plus, the juices left behind on your cutting board just mean your bacon is packing less of a punch in your dish. Eliminate those problems by chopping each slice of bacon with your kitchen shears. You can do it directly over a pan, so you dirty fewer dishes. Plus, the shears are sharp and precise enough to cut through both the meaty and fatty pieces. It's overall an easier way to handle bacon when cooking in small pieces, and you'll do so with less mess and hassle.

11. Chop meat into smaller pieces for kabobs

Even a sharp knife can slip when trying to cut through a thick, raw chicken breast or steak when making kabobs. As mentioned, shears can help in these instances by offering more precision, safety, and control. Any time you're cooking smaller pieces of meat, whether it's for a stir fry, stew, or kabobs, it's important that those pieces are cut into similarly sized pieces because this ensures an equal cooking time for each piece.

This process also helps keep your kitchen surfaces like cutting boards and countertops free from potential bacteria, especially if you're cutting your meat on a porous surface. Plus, if you notice a piece of meat looks a little big once it's added to the pot, you can reach your shears in and quickly cut it into smaller pieces. They're handy and dishwasher-safe, making them great for tackling almost any raw meat project.

12. Trim rough tips off artichokes

Artichokes can be a frustrating and difficult vegetable to prepare when cooking. You need to trim the pointy tips off of each leaf, cut down the stem, scoop out the bristly hairs inside the artichoke, and discard before enjoying the hearts, which are often the best part. While a sharp knife is best for trimming the cap and stem off the artichoke (one with a serrated edge is preferable), you'll need to use shears to get the leaves trimmed.

The process can be tedious but shears make it much easier — and the delicious result makes them worth the effort. In order to remove the prickly tips while still leaving enough leaf for nibbling, kitchen shears are practically essential. Once you've cleaned up your artichokes, you can prep them for cooking any way you desire, including stuffing the leaves with a breadcrumb mixture, cutting them in half, and grilling, steaming, and serving with melted butter... the options are nearly endless.

13. Slice through dried fruits and section batched fruits

Dried fruits like apricots, mangos, dates, and prunes are extremely versatile foods that can be used for mixing into a salad, baking into desserts, or accompanying a bountiful cheese or charcuterie board. Depending on the use case, though, you might have to handle them differently, including chopping them into smaller pieces in some instances. If you find your knives are too dull, you might find the knife is slipping off the slick exterior of the fruits, and, even if your knives are sharp enough, the stickiness of the fruit can make the process messy. Shears can solve these problems. They'll cut through large pieces with ease and cut down on prep time and mess.

Shears are also convenient when handling large batches of fresh fruit like grapes. If you want to section off these large batches for portioning or to use the vines for decoration, shears can be a useful tool. They'll cut through the stems of the vines without damaging the fruit.

14. Trim pie dough and create lattice top

Baking a pie might be a science, but handling the dough to create an even crust and beautiful topping is definitely an art. If you know the struggle of spinning a pie dish with one hand while trying to trim the extra dough off the edges with a knife with the other, kitchen shears are for you — and they can offer some much-needed relief.

Once you've trimmed the excess dough from the edges (leaving enough to ensure a hearty but not-too-thick crust), you can also use your shears to create a design with your remaining dough for the top of the pie. You can cut even strips for a lattice topping or simply slice some slits for ventilation if your pie requires a full top crust. Also, use the shears to create patterns and divots along the edge of the crust to create a decorative element.

15. Shears can double as a bottle and can opener

Depending on the pair of shears you have, you might not realize there are extra features hiding on these otherwise straightforward utensils. One extra feature is a bottle-opener that is either found on the inner handle or on the blade. While you might already have plenty of bottle openers hanging out around your kitchen, it's never a bad idea to have one in a reliable spot in a pinch.

The same goes for the rounded metal grippers located between the handles, which can come in handy if you have a tight jar or twist bottle you can't seem to get open. Open the shears and grip the lid with the metal teeth when twisting off the lid of a bottle or jar. The strong, ergonomic handles will give you a tighter grip than you'd get with your hands, and you'll likely save yourself some wrist pain in the process.