Most chefs agree that a chef’s knife and a paring knife are the only two knives you really need. A paring knife is a smaller, more precise knife than a chef’s knife, which can be used for all kinds of tasks. If you like to cook at home and like to chop vegetables, mince garlic, or peel fruit, a paring knife can help you do these things faster and better than any other type of knife.
Before choosing a paring knife, think about what kinds of food preparation you do most often, how often you’ll use it, and how you’ll clean and take care of it. As far as kitchen tools go, paring knives are very simple, but their prices can vary a lot. To make sure you’re getting the right knife for you, you should think about how it will feel in your hands based on its size and weight.
We put a few of the best paring knives to the test to find out which ones are the best. We cut up fruit, peeled shallots, took the tops off strawberries, and even cut cherry tomatoes, which are known for being very slippery. Read on to find out which paring knives we think are the best.
Our Top Paring Knife Picks
- Best Overall: Misen Paring Knife
- Best Value: Victorinox 3.25 Inch Paring Knife
- Best Splurge: Shun Classic Paring Knife
- Best with Sheath: Kuhn Rikon Paring Knife Set
1. Best Overall: Misen Paring Knife
Misen’s paring knife is amazingly strong and light at the same time, making it our favourite knife out of all the ones we’ve tried. This strong but flexible knife will be a workhorse in your kitchen. It can handle tough tasks and small, precise cuts with the same level of accuracy and consistency everywhere. It’s cheap and of good quality, so it’s the best choice for any home cook.
This knife did well in every test we did. The handle is easy to hold and move, and it cut through sections of citrus fruit with ease and accuracy. Even when wet or dripping with orange juice, the handle feels strong. It has some weight to it, but when you grip the blade to hull strawberries, it still feels perfectly balanced. The blade is sharp from heel to tip, and it slides easily through the skins of tomatoes and shallots. The blade is thicker, which gives it more power and stability. This Misen knife made of stainless steel is a safe bet if you want a good knife to help you cut up vegetables quickly and easily. Don’t forget that this knife can’t go in the dishwasher. It should be washed by hand and dried right away.
2. Best Value: Victorinox 3.25 Inch Paring Knife
This sharp, light knife makes clean cuts and has a handle that doesn’t slip. It costs less than $10. This is a good choice if you want a simple, lightweight knife that can do a lot of different jobs and doesn’t cost too much. This knife’s 3.25-inch flexible and thin blade made it easy to cut through orange sections and remove the skin and pith. The blade is sharp all the way through, and the pointed tip made it easy to take the tops off of strawberries. The textured grip on this knife makes it very easy to hold, even when your hands are wet or sticky.
Even though we like how light this knife is, keep in mind that for hard vegetables, you’ll need something a little stronger. The blade is flexible, which is great for peeling fruit or taking the bones out of fish, but it isn’t as good for cutting harder vegetables. If you want a knife that can cut through squash or sweet potatoes, you might want one with a stronger, thicker blade.
3. Best Splurge: Shun Classic Paring Knife
This beautiful knife has a rippled pattern made from tiny layers of stainless steel, just like a Damascus steel knife. The Damascus-style blade has less friction, so food doesn’t stick to it. This knife is worth the extra money for serious home cooks because it has an ergonomic Pakkawood handle that doesn’t get wet.
When we tested it, we found that it did very well. The belly of the blade was sharp enough to make it easy to peel fruits and vegetables, and the knife easily cut through citrus and shallots. This knife was our favourite to hold and move because the 3.5-inch blade and 4-inch handle were perfectly balanced. It was by far the easiest to use, and we were able to work quickly and get accurate results with it. No other knife we tried came close to Shun’s paring knife in terms of balance and weight, but some of the tips were not as sharp as those on Shun’s. We had some trouble hulling strawberries and using the tip to cut through shallots.
4. Best with Sheath: Kuhn Rikon Paring Knife Set
For home cooks who don’t have a lot of room for knives but still want to be safe, a knife with a sheath is a great way to add extra protection. Our testers love the Kuhn Rikon paring knife that comes with a safety sheath because it’s easy to use, easy to hold, and very sharp. This amazing deal comes with three stainless steel knives that are each 4 inches long and come with their own sheath for extra safety. Not only does the sheath protect against cuts and nicks, but it also helps keep the blade sharp while it is in the drawer.
Our testers liked how easy it was to hold this knife. It has an ergonomic handle that feels secure and sturdy in your hand. The stainless steel blade has a coating that doesn’t stick, so even sticky foods will slide off. We found that it was easy to make precise cuts with it because it has a durable blade that stays sharp from heel to tip. We had no trouble peeling vegetables, cutting tomatoes, or hulling strawberries, and our testers were pleasantly surprised by how functional and effective this knife is. Best of all, this is a great value for the price. This set of knives from Kuhn Rikon is a great choice if you want to stock up on knives that will help you cut up fruits and vegetables faster and easier.
What To Consider When Buying a Paring Knife
Most paring knives are between 3 and 4 inches long. The handles of these smaller knives are much smaller than those of a chef’s knife because they are made to be more manoeuvrable. Paring knives are great for quick tasks like peeling shallots or slicing lemons because they are smaller and easier to control and slice with. Since they’re so much smaller than a normal chef’s knife, even a small difference in blade size can make a difference in how well they work. Think about whether you need a short or long knife before you buy one. Choose a 3-inch knife if you want to be in charge of every cut you make. Choose a knife with a 4-inch blade if you want to cut onions, limes, and tomatoes. You’ll get the best of both worlds if you choose a 3.5-inch blade.
Care & Cleaning
Before you choose a knife, think about how you’ll take care of it. Some paring knives can be put in the dishwasher, but others have to be washed by hand. Before using any knife, make sure to read the instructions and keep in mind that most knives should be dried well and right away after each use. If you don’t have a good place to store your knife safely, you might want to think about getting one that comes with a sheath.
Prices for paring knives can vary a lot, so you should first think about how often and what you’ll use it for. If you prepare fruits and vegetables often, you might want to buy a durable, heavy-duty option. If you want a knife to keep in your drawer for odd jobs, choose one that won’t break the bank. There are a lot of really cheap paring knives out there, so it’s a good idea to start with a cheaper knife and upgrade as you need to.
How We Tested
We put each paring knife through a series of cooking tests to see which ones were the best. First, we looked at each knife and made notes about its size, weight, and how it felt in our hands. We paid attention to the care and cleaning instructions from the manufacturer and thought about any other unique features. Next, we peeled and cut up oranges with each knife. Oranges can be slimy and sticky, so this test helped us see how sharp the blade was and how stable the handle was, even when it was wet. Then, we used each knife to cut the tops off of strawberries. With this task, we were able to figure out how sharp the tips of each knife were. It also showed us how easy each knife was to move and how comfortable they were to use for precise tasks. Next, we used each knife to peel and cut shallots and cherry tomatoes into thin slices. Since shallot skin can be slippery, this test helped us figure out how well each knife worked. Lastly, dull knives make it easy to crush cherry tomatoes, so a paring knife’s ability to cut through tomatoes cleanly was the ultimate test of its usefulness.