This Is the Most Underrated Kitchen Tool (and Also the Best)

Over the past couple of years I’ve become more and more reliant on a somewhat forgotten, but incredibly useful culinary tool. The underrated utensil I’m talking about is kitchen scissors. Sometimes referred to as poultry shears, these super-sharp blades are similar to the pruners that gardeners use. Culinary shears can cut through chicken bones, stalks of kale, and flatbread pizza. My obsession with them has gotten so out of control that I asked for a whole set (with blades in different lengths) for my birthday.

Whenever I’m too lazy to get out a cutting board and knife, I grab the kitchen scissors. This is a lesson I learned from watching Nigella Lawson’s cooking shows where she is often seen snipping herbs with scissors directly into a pot of bubbling soup. If you don’t have a pair of shears in your kitchen, I highly recommend you get some. If you do have them, but can’t remember the last time you used the scissors, dig them out of the junk drawer and add them to your daily tool arsenal. What sort of things can you do with culinary scissors? Here’s 17 ways they’ll make your life a lot easier in the kitchen.

  1. Cut up raw bacon. Simply snip off pieces of the bacon and drop directly in a hot pan.
  2. Use them to cut fresh thyme leaves off of the sprig. They are also handy for slicing the parsley leaves from the stems and for cutting fresh herbs from plants.
  3. Cut pizza, flatbread, or quesadillas into perfect triangles without wrestling a knife!
  4. Snip day-old bread into chunky croutons.
  5. Chop dried fruit, like apricots or figs (which often stick to a knife) into small pieces.
  6. Stick the blade into any sort of canned vegetables or fruit, like tomatoes or pineapple, and cut everything inside the can into smaller pieces. Snip, snip, snip!
  7. Slice open vacuum-packed cheese, like goat cheese, without getting your fingers dirty.
  8. Quickly chop chives and green onions by holding them in one hand and using the scissors in the other hand.
  9. Next time you come across a giant piece of onion in the sauté pan, grab the shears and slice it into smaller pieces.
  10. Chop boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Slice the backbone out of a whole chicken to halve the cook time.
  11. Slice lobster tails in half. Cut off shrimp heads, then use the scissors to peel the shrimp.
  12. Snip grapes into smaller clusters.
  13. Point the blade into a bag of spinach and snip away to chop it into pieces.
  14. Trim fat from raw meat.
  15. Cut parchment paper rounds for baking cake.
  16. Trim the pointy sharp ends off of artichoke leaves.
  17. Cut flowers before arranging in a vase. 

How do you use your poultry shears?

Opening image: Patrick Cline