The 6 Best Carving Knives of 2020

The right carving set can make a big difference

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Our Top Picks
"The 8-inch blade is made from one piece of high-quality German steel and will hold up to wear and tear."
"A nice assist for slicing big, mostly boneless pieces of meat."
"This knife reduces drag for quick boning and filleting"
"This blade is very sharp, ideal for carving the toughest meat off the turkey."
"Precisely cuts while keeping delicate slices intact."
"It slices through the chicken without tearing it apart."

Correctly handling and carving meats may seem intimidating, but the right knife will help you cut like a pro in a safe and harmless way. You don’t need to be a chef, butcher, or sushi master to wield a carving knife, but you can get professional results—and prevent bruising or damaging your prime rib, juicy turkey, or delicious roast.

We considered blade sharpness, grip comfort, safety, stability, maneuverability, and strength. Whether you are slicing special-occasion meat like Thanksgiving turkey and ham or the everyday chicken or roast, here are the best carving knives for every occasion.

Best Overall: Messermeister Avanta 2-Piece Pakkawood Kullenschliff Carving Set

The Messermeister Avanta two-piece carving knife and fork set earns our top spot for its quality and price. This carving and slicing knife was developed for one of the leading culinary schools in North America, Le Cordon Bleu, and it holds up well to daily wear and tear. 

The knife's 8-inch blade is made from one piece of German stainless steel. Not only is it incredibly sharp with superior blade/edge retention, but it's also rust-resistant and easy to maintain. Its curved blade makes cutting meat on the bone easier, and because it's designed to decrease friction, you won't have to deal with food sticking to the blade when cutting large pieces of meat.

It also boasts a forged bolster, which gives it balance. The knife comes with a 7-inch, heavy-weight bolstered fork, and both have water-resistant handles made from pakkawood, an engineered wood that's particularly durable.

Best Electric: Hamilton Beach Electric Knife

Electric knives definitely have a place in the kitchen. Mostly whipped out on special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other holidays associated with large roasts, an electric carving knife is handy for everyday situations, like Sunday meal prep, too.

Since cutting a turkey, ham, or roast beef can be a big undertaking with a basic carving knife, this electric knife is ideal for those who aren’t comfortable using one or don’t have the muscle power to carve on their own. The oscillating, serrated double blade and power of the electric knife make slicing large meats into thin servings easy and precise. It never needs sharpening and removes easily for fast cleaning. Wrists can get tired of wielding large appliances, so this one was designed with an ergonomic handle.

Outside of carving meats, this knife can be used to slice hearty breads without mangling the loaf or remove kernels from cooked cobs of corn. Electric carving knives are generally on the bulky side, but this one was designed to be kept neatly together with the included fork in a sleek, storage case.

Best Boning: Shun Cutlery Classic 6-Inch Boning and Fillet Knife

Some carving jobs require you to dig deep and extract bones while keeping food intact (think delicate fish). The Shun cutlery classic 6-inch boning and fillet knife is a good friend to have.

The narrow, Damascus-clad blade—a type of blade with a wavy, mottled pattern—not only creates a close cut that's smooth, but it also reduces drag for quick boning and filleting. The curved blade cuts close beside the bone while the super-sharp edge effortlessly trims fibrous tissues and skin off tenderloins, roasts, and other cuts. It features VG-MAX stainless steel that's rust-resistant, which increases edge retention. The D-shaped pakkawood handle is beautiful and also provides a secure grip for confident control.

Best for Turkey: Wüsthof Classic Two-Piece Hollow Edge Carving Set

Don’t leave one of the most important meals of the year to the wrong blade. This super-sharp, high-carbon stainless steel knife from Wüsthof is ideal for carving the toughest meat off the bones of your Thanksgiving turkey. The 8-inch knife comes with a triple-riveted, synthetic handle for absolute firm support, balance, and comfort when carving deeply into a turkey. 

The included 6-inch, two-pronged fork helps guide the carving knife away from your hands and efficiently slice large birds, and when serving, it's perfect for holding each piece in place.

Best for Beef: Dalstrong Shadow Black Series 9-Inch Carving Knife & Fork Set

To keep your delicious brisket or roast in perfectly intact slices, go for the 9-inch Dalstrong carving knife and fork set. The blade is high-carbon German steel, and thanks to non-reflective titanium nitride coating, it's a striking shade of black. This makes it corrosion-resistant, nonstick, and extra durable.

The 16- to 18-degree angle is fine enough to create clean, precise cuts in meats but strong enough to maintain chopping performance for many cuts. It has great edge retention with minimal drag, and the blade is weighted for balance to minimize hand fatigue—something that's helpful if you're carving a large brisket all at once.

The temperature-resistant handle is designed to fit comfortably and confidently into your palm, giving you a firm grasp, and the G10 resin handle is slightly textured to make it less likely to slip out of your hand.

Best for Chicken: Farberware 5-Inch EdgeKeeper Santoku Knife

Like all Santoku-style knives, the 5-inch Farberware EdgeKeeper has a firm yet flexible blade that slices through chicken easily and without tearing it apart. The bolster in this Santoku knife puts extra pressure on chicken meat, making it even easier to cut through.

Santoku knives have a Granton edge, a blade with a row of dimples, or scallops, on each side. The cutting edge is not serrated but very sharp, which enhances the knife’s cutting and slicing performance. Its blade is made from high-carbon steel that's rust-resistant, and its sheath automatically sharpens the blade with each use.

The Final Verdict

The high-quality Messermeister Avanta Pakkawood Set is made to stand up to daily wear and tear, and it comes at a decent price. If you'd rather have an electric model, go with the Hamilton Beach knife.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Marisel Salazar is a food writer and recipe developer with a degree in communications and a concentration in nutrition from Cornell University.

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