CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Kitchen Shears Are the Kitchen Tool You're Definitely Not Using Enough

Put some respect on this bona fide kitchen workhorse.

David Watsky Senior Editor / Home and Kitchen
David lives in Brooklyn where he's logged more than a decade writing about all things edible, including meal kits and meal delivery subscriptions, cooking, kitchen gear and commerce. Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he's toiled in nearly every aspect of the eats business from slicing and dicing as a sous-chef in Rhode Island to leading complex marketing campaigns for major food brands in Manhattan. These days, he's likely somewhere trying the latest this or tasting the latest that - and reporting back, of course. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.
Expertise Kitchen tech, cookware, small appliances, food innovation, meal delivery and meal kits.
David Watsky
4 min read

A sturdy pair of shears is a true workhorse and one of the most underrated tools in the kitchen tool kit.

David Watsky/CNET

It's safe to say I use my kitchen shears more than the average home cook, but I'm on a mission to change that. Kitchen shears are often overlooked and criminally underused, but this unsuspecting household tool is extremely versatile if you know how best to apply a pair. Sure, you'll grab them to bust open a box of meal kits or trim an overgrown fern, but there's so much more they can do. 

Kitchen sheers, or scissors if you're a total brute, are the Swiss Army knife of the kitchen and deserve far more respect and action than they typically get. Shears can do the obvious cutting and trimming, but the right set can accomplish a laundry list of other tasks around the kitchen, home and even the outdoors, many of which you may not have considered. Investing in a decent pair of kitchen shears is worth it, people, and if you're working with a dinky pair or (*gasp*) plain old household scissors, it's time to upgrade to the real thing. 

Below are some common and lesser-known uses for the mighty kitchen shears, and why this just might be the most underrated kitchen tool in history. Plus, we dropped in a few of the best kitchen sheers to buy for 2023.

Some obvious uses for kitchen shears

Having a pair of scissors handy is helpful for many reasons, and some are obvious. Breaking into a stubbornly packaged box of this or that, cutting twine for trussing a roast, trimming herbs and scallions or cutting up old cloth to make dish rags.


Breaking down poultry is a job tailor-made for kitchen shears. But the uses go far beyond that.

David Watsky/CNET

The most common culinary application is breaking down meat, specifically poultry. Kitchens shears usually have one serrated blade and one sharp. The serrated blade is key for grabbing slippery skin and meat so you can safely cut through a bird. Chef's knives and paring knives can do some of this work too, but not nearly as well as shears.

1. Breaking down food that's already in a pan

When I'm cooking for speed, it's a near guarantee I'll find I've lobbed some vegetables or pieces of meat into a hot frying pan or Dutch oven that aren't as small as I want them. In this case you could take the piece of hot food out again and chop it up, or call on your kitchen shears to snip it down to size and keep moving. 


Downsize food that missed your knife but made it into the pan. 

David Watsky/CNET

2. Opening stubborn jars

Good kitchen shears generally have two metal-teeth grippers inside the handles. These are excellent for opening stubborn jars or twist-off bottles. Just latch the teeth firmly onto two sides of the cap (it doesn't have to even reach to the other side) and you'll have far more torque than with your hands alone. This works particularly well on jars with smaller lids but can be effective on full-sized jars too.


Kitchen shears are a secret weapon against stubborn jars.

David Watsky/CNET

3. Cracking nuts and shells

Those same metal teeth are excellent shell-crackers and nutcrackers. I don't own lobster crackers so on the occasion I make shellfish or have some big walnuts to shell, it's kitchen shears to the rescue. 

4. Opening beer and soda bottles

There's no such thing as too many bottle openers, and kitchen shears often have one built into the handle or blades. Since my shears are generally in the same place as my knives, I always know where a bottle opener is.

kitchen shears opening a bottle

When no other bottle openers can be found, kitchen shears will bail you out. 

David Watsky/CNET

5. Building a fire and other camping tasks

Multitools like good kitchen shears are a camper's dream, from opening bottles to breaking down kindling for a fire and the hundred other little jobs a good pair of scissors will do. This is one piece of equipment that's useful far beyond the walls of your kitchen. 

How much should you spend on kitchen shears?

You can score a good pair of shears for under $10. As with anything else, you can also pay much more if you want but know that shears can't really be sharpened on account of the serrated blade. It's best to spend a bit less and replace them every few years when they begin to dull or lose their grip. 


If you're looking to save a buck, this $7 pair of Kitory shears will get the job done much better than regular scissors. They're not detachable but have a good gripping blade and a sharp cutting blade.

kitchen shears
J.A. Henckels

This pair by German knife maker Henckels is dishwasher-safe and comes apart for easy cleaning. 


If you want to splurge on shears, these All-Clad choppers in gauge-brushed stainless steel certainly have a good look to them. They come apart for easy cleaning and have a slender, more dexterous build.


This German brand is known for shears and makes them in several sizes and builds from basic to the take-apart variety.

More kitchen and home tips