11 best carving knives
Whatever you need to carve, make sure you choose the right tool for the job
Whether you’re aiming to slice through your turducken like a knife through butter or carve your nut roast with surgeon-like precision, one thing is for sure, you’ll need a carving knife that’s up to the job. Traditionally carving knives have longer thinner blades than a slicing knife, which can be used for kitchen prep. This type of blade ensures clean cuts through joints to form uniform slices of whatever meat happens to be on your dining table.
Carving knives come in different weights and it’s personal preference on which one will handle better for you. There are also different handle types and blade materials, which will dramatically affect price ranges. While knife choices can be as subjective as the way you roast your beef, it’s worth remembering a few simple rules when it comes to carving; firstly leave meat to rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes under foil. Secondly; slice don’t saw, use the entire length of the blade with each stroke travelling in one direction. And thirdly; sharpen them every few weeks, if you can’t do it at home, most butchers will oblige.
Tamahagane San Tsubame 21cm Carving Knife: £129, kitchenknives.co.uk
If you’re looking for a knife which will get guests talking over Sunday lunch, this is the blade for you. Tamahagane is the word used to describe the central core of a samurai knife, which has to be strong, precise and unbelievably sharp. At 21cm, it’s one of the longer knives on the list and the blade is hand hammered to give the appearance reminiscent of the Japanese forges, which made Samurai swords.
The lightweight handle is made of Mincarta, a pressed linen material that is mixed with resin to create a strong, durable but light handle with the most comfortable grip on the list. A lifetime guarantee most likely won’t be needed as this blade intends to last longer than you do. If you’re looking for a carving knife to hand down the generations, this is it.
Victorinox Swiss Classic Carving Set: £59, victorinox.com
While the thermoplastic handle might not look as elegant as some of it’s wooden counterparts, this lightweight carving knife handles extremely well and is dishwasher safe too, unlike some other models. Weighing in at just 234 grams and with a 19cm blade, the stainless steel knife cuts effortlessly through a rib of beef and leg of lamb without reaching the end of the blade, so it’s perfect for bigger joints. It comes with a lifetime guarantee too and while Victorinox might be more closely associated with penknives, the 134-year-old brand has applied its knife making experience to a great carving set.
Viners Eternal Marble 8” Carving Knife: £17.50, viners.co.uk
The curved marble handle makes the knife ergonomic to handle and if you like a weightier knife, this could be for you. The higher carbon content in the German steel blade means it won’t blunt as quickly as some other models and it comes with a 25-year guarantee. While the recommendation is not to put it through the dishwasher and to hand wash instead, it successfully went through on a high temperature cycle over ten times and counting in testing.
IoShen Carving Knife: £109.95, Lakeland
While it has a hefty price tag, the innovation into this design merits it. This is the only knife on the list to feature Triplex technology. Designed in Japan, the steel that makes up the blade is wrapped in two layers of softer shock absorbing Rockwell, which is made up of ten per cent steel. The result is a knife that will retain its razor sharp edge far longer than any conventional blade, but without the brittleness of reinforced steel which could shatter it. Perfectly balanced and the nicest to handle, the 24cm blade also comes with a lifetime manufacturers guarantee and coped as effortlessly with home smoked salmon as it did with a rolled rib of pork.
BergHOFF Ron Ash Wood Carving Knife 190mm: £25.99, kitchenknives.co.uk
This black steel blade has a two-layer titanium and ceramic non-stick coating so it glides through meat and fish effortlessly. Ash wood is a light, non-dense wood but is one of the harder woods and so is perfect for a strong handle. It’s recommended for hand washing as Ash doesn’t fare well when exposed to extreme highs or lows of temperatures, but it fared fine in over 10 washes in the dishwasher at a low temperature.
La Creuset 20cm Carving Knife with Olive Wood Handle: £135, lecreuset.co.uk
With a 20cm narrow blade, the LeCreuset model harnesses style and substance perfectly. The olive wood handle not only makes it a thing of beauty but is known to be strong and durable with a beautiful grain. Olive wood has also been found to have antibacterial properties from its natural oils, making it ideal for use in the kitchen. Its 20cm Damascus steel blade, which is made of multi layers of steel for strength and durability, means you most likely won’t need the warranty even after it’s expired in two years.
Robert Welch Signature V Carving Knife 23cm: £48, robertwelch.com
Fully forged from a single piece of German stainless steel, this is the only curved carving knife on the list – some people find a curve easier to flow through a joint than a straight knife. The sleek and comfortable handle made from thermoplastic is injection moulded onto the single piece of steel to increase durability and maintain tension. The knife is also dishwasher safe and comes with a 25-year guarantee. Adept at slicing and carving, the blade was ergonomic and comfortable in longer food prep sessions too.
JosephJoseph Elevate 8” Carving Knife: £20, Amazon
Epitomising JosephJoseph’s sleek and stylish design, the 8-inch carving knife is one of the cheapest on the list. Made from a stainless steel blade, what separates JosephJoseph’s carving knife is the fact it has a silicone-coated blade, which has been designed to allow the knife to cut through meat and fish without sticking. The ergonomic thermoplastic handle means it’s dishwasher safe and it comes with a two-year guarantee. During testing it was used on chopping boards and a wooden work surface and left no knife marks on either.
Wusthof Classic Ikon Crème Carving Knife 8”: £80.75, knivesandtools.co.uk
If you’re looking for a carving knife gift, this one can be engraved for a present, which sets it out from the others on the list. The satin finish on the carbon steel blade helps it flow through joints and it comes with a lifetime guarantee too. It’s dishwasher safe and the handle has been fit with hygiene in mind with no nooks or crannies meat or juice can get hidden in. It incorporates Wusthof’s secret precision edge technology and coming from a knife manufacturer that’s over 200 years old, there’s a lot of experience put into the blade.
Tramontina Churrasco 7” Carving Knife: £14.50, nisbets.co.uk
The only carving knife on the list specifically aimed at barbecue use, the extra long handle will ensure hands don’t burn while carving meat on the grill. The long handle is made from Brazilian hardwood and Brazilian cherry wood, which is sustainably sourced from a reforested area – perfect for the ecologically minded chef. While it’s not dishwasher safe, the price bracket is perfect for occasional barbecue use and the knife, which is made in Brazil, comes with a five-year guarantee.
G3 Global Carving Knife: £69.99, Amazon
The only single unit knife on the list, the blade and handle are made from one piece of tempered stamped steel with the handle hollowed out and weighted with sand to maintain balance and keep the knife ergonomic to use. Made in Japan the design – first developed in 1985 by Japanese designer Komin Yamadi, the unit has been designed with no dirt traps to maintain hygiene. The 8-inch blade is also rust and corrosion resistant.
The Verdict: Best carving knives
If you’re after effortless use, the Tamahagane is the perfect versatile carving knife. It slid through a fore rib of beef with ease and didn’t crumble a nut roast either. For style, elegance and beauty, the clever folks at La Creuset have done it again, this one received the most compliments of any tested and it’s balanced weight make it a delight to use. Joseph Joseph’s inimitable signature style, and the fact it’s dishwasher safe made this an affordable and hygienic choice too.
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