What Is A Cleaver Used For?

How to Use a Cleaver
How to Use a Cleaver from www.cutco.com


A cleaver is a versatile kitchen tool that is commonly used for chopping and cutting through large pieces of meat and bone. It is characterized by its thick and heavy blade, which allows for powerful and precise cutting. While primarily used in butcheries and professional kitchens, cleavers are also popular among home cooks who enjoy preparing their meals. In this article, we will explore the various uses of a cleaver and how it can be a valuable addition to your kitchen arsenal.

Cutting Through Bones and Meat

One of the primary uses of a cleaver is to cut through bones and large pieces of meat. Its thick and sturdy blade makes it ideal for tasks such as splitting chicken or duck, cutting pork ribs, or chopping through beef bones. The weight and design of the cleaver provide the necessary force to make clean and precise cuts, saving you time and effort in the process.

Chopping Vegetables and Fruits

Aside from its meat-cutting capabilities, a cleaver is also excellent for chopping vegetables and fruits. Its broad blade allows for efficient slicing and dicing, making it perfect for preparing stir-fry dishes, salads, or any recipe that requires a lot of chopping. The heavy weight of the cleaver helps to apply even pressure, ensuring consistent cuts and reducing the risk of injury.

Tenderizing Meat

Another useful function of a cleaver is its ability to tenderize meat. By using the broad side of the blade, you can pound and flatten tougher cuts of meat, making them more tender and easier to cook. This technique is commonly used in preparing dishes like schnitzel or chicken-fried steak. The weight and thickness of the cleaver provide the necessary force to achieve the desired results.

Crushing Garlic and Ginger

A cleaver can also serve as a handy tool for crushing garlic and ginger. By placing the flat side of the blade on top of the garlic or ginger cloves and applying pressure with your hand or a hammer, you can easily crush them, releasing their flavors and making them easier to incorporate into your dishes. This technique is popular in Asian cuisine, where garlic and ginger are frequently used as key ingredients.

Serving as a Scoop

Due to its shape and size, a cleaver can also be used as a scoop. Whether you need to transfer chopped ingredients from the cutting board to a pot or scoop up diced vegetables, the broad blade of the cleaver provides a convenient surface to carry and transport food. This versatility makes the cleaver a valuable tool that can replace multiple utensils in the kitchen.

Cracking Open Coconuts and Nuts

If you enjoy fresh coconut or need to crack open nuts, a cleaver can come in handy. Its heavy blade can be used to crack open coconuts or shell nuts, allowing you to access the delicious flesh or kernels inside. This can be particularly useful when preparing tropical dishes or when you need to add nuts to your recipes.

Smashing and Mincing Herbs

When it comes to herbs, a cleaver can be used for both smashing and mincing. By placing the blade flat on top of fresh herbs and applying pressure, you can easily crush them, releasing their aromatic oils and intensifying their flavors. Additionally, you can use a rocking motion to mince the herbs finely. This technique is widely used in recipes that call for fresh herbs, such as pesto or chimichurri sauce.

Opening Shellfish

Opening shellfish, such as lobsters or crabs, can be a challenging task without the right tools. A cleaver can be used to crack open the shells and extract the meat inside. Its heavy blade provides the necessary force to break through the tough shells, making it easier to enjoy the delicious seafood within.

Maintaining and Care

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your cleaver, it is essential to properly maintain and care for it. After each use, be sure to wash the blade thoroughly with warm water and mild soap, then dry it immediately to prevent rusting. Additionally, store the cleaver in a safe place, such as a knife block or a sheath, to protect the blade and prevent accidents.


In conclusion, a cleaver is a versatile kitchen tool that can be used for a variety of tasks. From cutting through bones and meat to chopping vegetables and fruits, a cleaver offers a range of uses that can make your cooking experience more efficient and enjoyable. Whether you are a professional chef or a home cook, investing in a high-quality cleaver is a decision that can greatly enhance your culinary skills and repertoire.