A carving knife will come in handy during the holidays when you need to maneuver around a giant bird without making a mess. But it can serve you elsewhere too—thwack up massive fruits and veggies à la Fruit Ninja, saw through layer cakes, and slice up crusty boules of bread. A classic chef’s knife can do a lot, but it can’t do everything. Likewise, a carving knife can’t do everything, but it can do more than meats the eye.
Here are the seven best carving knives you can buy online, according to chefs and butchers who use them on and off the job. If you’re on the hunt for a practical pick or budget-friendly buy, we’ve got you covered. And if fancier options that scream “restaurant-quality” are more your style, we’ve got those, too.
1. Victorinox 12-Inch Slicing Knife, $46.66
“For carving and slicing cooked or raw meat, it’s helpful to have a long, thin blade,” says Aaron Rocchino, owner of The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, California. “I find this makes for beautiful slices as long as you use the whole blade and is very easy to use on any size roast. I would use this on any boneless piece of cooked or raw meat.” To carve something like a turkey, Rocchino first likes to remove the meat from the bone with a designated boning knife, then go in with something like the Victorinox to slice the boneless meat. This way, “you get a way better yield and a nicer-looking final product.”
2. Dexter-Russell Scalloped Slicer 12", $16.75
Throughout my interviews with various chefs and cooks, the Dexter-Russell Scalloped Slicer was mentioned often as a reliable knife with a very sharp blade that slices with ease. I was also immediately struck by the knife’s clean, white handle and its budget-friendly price.
3. Misono 440 Molybdenum Sujihiki, $189
For chef and culinary director at Nice Day Chinese Anthony Nichols, this is a trustworthy pick for carving turkey. In Japanese, sujihiki means "muscle cutter” and wow, does it live up to the name. “The blade is the perfect length for maneuvering around bones,” Nichols says. “It delicately slices through the skin, it’s a comfortable weight, and it’s appropriate for everyday use.” To achieve the perfect slice of turkey breast, he suggests using the entire length of the blade. A little under $200, this pick is on the higher end of our list, but considering how long it can last you (given that you take good care of it!), it ends up being a good investment. Need more proof? “My Misono 440 is 20 years old,” Nichols says.
4. Misono Handmade Molybdenum Honesuki, $128
Here is another solid carving knife from Misono. This poultry boning knife comes highly recommended by chef Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted and Maison Yaki in Brooklyn, New York. “The Honesuki knife is a Japanese-style poultry boning knife,” says Baxtrom. “It’s a high-quality knife from my must-go-to store Korin, where I get all of my chef knife supplies. At Maison Yaki, we use it for our yakitori skewers.”
Japanese supplier Korin is beloved among professional chefs as a mastermind in the knife game with an excellent range of cutting-edge tools. “I like Japanese-style knives because they suit my personal cooking preferences,” says chef Alexander Harris, culinary director at Emma’s Torch in Brooklyn. “I’m short, so I tend to favor a smaller, lighter knife. The [Korin] Sujihiki is comfortable and lightweight, so it’s easy for me to control. From carving the Thanksgiving turkey to filleting a salmon to slicing pounds of brisket for events, this knife has never done me wrong.”
And with that, Harris brings up an excellent point. Choosing a good knife abides by a principle akin to choosing the perfect T-shirt or pair of jeans: one size—and shape—does not fit all. The knife proportions are relative to the person using it, so find a knife that is the best suited for you.
6. Wüsthof 14" Brisket Slicer, $129.95
At Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan, head chef and managing partner Rodger Bowser likes to use a 9-inch high carbon steel blade with a bullnose. “The best knife, in my opinion, for carving a turkey is not actually what's known as a carving knife,” says Bowser. “You'll want a knife with some heft and a point to get into the tendon as you break down the various pieces.” Bowser uses a vintage knife with a curved bullnose from French cutlery brand Sabatier, which is unfortunately discontinued. Instead, try a modern German option from Wüsthof. Along with a similar rounded tip, Wüstof’s brisket slicer is elongated in such a way that it can easily sever big roasts in one fell swoop.
If you’re feeling ambitious, maybe because it’s your first time hosting Thanksgiving and you want to go all out, a carving set might just fit the bill. Like Bowser, Rocchino gets all of his knife provisions from Sabatier. While he stands by this high carbon steel carving knife and fork set, he admits the level of TLC needed to maintain its quality may be too much for the average home cook to bear. “It needs to stay clean and get wiped off right after tasks are complete or else the knife can rust, dent, and permanently damage.”
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