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A mezzaluna is a type of knife with a thick, curved blade (its name means “half moon” in Italian). It most often has a single blade, but some models have two or even three blades. More traditional versions feature a handle at each end, but modern designs often feature a single handle or no handle at all. A mezzaluna knife is used with a rhythmic back-and-forth rocking motion to quickly reduce food to an even mince. They’re typically used for finely chopping and mincing herbs, aromatics, and vegetables but they can also be used for cutting cheese, nuts, chocolate, and meat.
In Italy, mezzaluna knives are traditionally used for making soffritto or pesto but these days, with multiple modernized versions available, their uses have expanded. Very large, single-blade models are even used for slicing pizza. For home cooks without professional-level knife skills, they're a great way to get even and consistent results more quickly and safely and without the need for a bulky, pricey food processor. Double-handled models offer a sharp chopping blade while eliminating the risk of accidentally cutting yourself. Here are our picks for the best mezzaluna knives currently available.
Best Folding: Joseph Joseph Mezzaluna Folding Herb Chopper
This practical option from Joseph Joseph features a razor-sharp Japanese stainless-steel blade and twin handles in spring green, BPA-free plastic. The handles offer a balanced grip when mincing and chopping and then fold down over the blade when it’s not in use, doubling as a blade guard. This makes the knife super-compact for easy and safe storage in a drawer—protecting the cutting edge from nicks and damage and your hands from accidental cuts.
A potential disadvantage to this knife’s compact size is that it’s better suited for mincing and chopping herbs and vegetables but less ideal for slicing larger or harder foods.
Best Retracting: Microplane Herb & Salad Chopper
This ergonomically designed, double-bladed chopper fits comfortably in the palm of your hand for one-handed mincing of herbs and vegetables. It’s from the same manufacturer as our pick for the best grater, and the sharp, rust-resistant stainless steel blades offer the same sharpness and durability.
The award-winning design allows you to easily flip the twin blades into the BPA-free handle for compact and safe storage, and they lock into place in either the retracted or cutting position for added stability. This mini mezzaluna chopper is also dishwasher safe, making cleanup just as easy as use.
Best for Pizza: American Metalcraft 20-Inch Rocker Pizza Knife
From a commercial foodservice-supply manufacturer, this massive, heavy-duty mezzaluna knife is designed specifically for pizza cutting. The 20-inch stainless-steel blade has plastic handles at either end for a sturdy grip, and it’s long, sharp, and strong enough to slice even a large pizza in a neat single pass.
Slicing pizza with a rocker-style knife rather than a roller or shears has several advantages: It’s a snap to cut in a straight line across the pie with no wobbling, and the cut can be made with a single rocking motion rather than multiple back-and-forth passes.
A potential downside is that this blade is so large and sharp that those with small kitchens might find it difficult to store. But if you are a dedicated pizza lover or regularly make large batches of food that require precise cuts, the convenience of this sturdy knife can outweigh the drawback.
Best with Stand: Ulu Alaskan Knife
An ulu is a one-handed curved knife traditionally used by Alaskan Natives that is very similar to a single-blade, single-handle mezzaluna chopper and it can be used in the same way.
While some mezzaluna knives come with blade guards or retracting blades so that they can be easily stored while protecting the cutting edge, others don’t and that can make them a bit tricky to store. Another solution is to store your mezzaluna knife upright on your countertop. This rocker knife with a 6-inch stainless-steel blade and a sturdy wooden handle is attractive enough to display on your kitchen counter, and comes with a handy, matching wood-block stand to hold it when not in use.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Danette St. Onge, formerly the Italian Food Expert for The Spruce Eats and a features editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine (part of America’s Test Kitchen). An avid kitchen appliance junkie, she spends hours combing the Internet, comparing options, reading reviews, and testing devices to find the best tool for every job.
What to Look for in a Mezzaluna Knife
The size of your mezzaluna knife dictates what you can cut. Shorter-length blades are good for finely chopping up herbs and smaller vegetables. If you want to cut larger and harder ingredients, look for a mezzaluna knife with a longer blade.
Single vs. Double Blades
Mezzaluna knives come with single or double blades. Double blades offer quicker cutting times, however, they can get messier than their single-blade counterparts since food often gets stuck between the blades. If you're set on having a double-bladed knife, look for one where the blades pop out separately for easy cleaning.
Your mezzaluna knife should be easy to hold and provide a comfortable grip. Mezzaluna knives can come in both single and double-handled designs. Double handles are generally preferred as they offer more control and keep both your hands away from the blade. Single-handle mezzaluna knives can take longer to build up a comfortable rhythm, but once you get the hang of it they should work just as well as their double-handle counterparts. Also, consider the handle material. Rubber and durable plastic are great options as they'll provide a comfortable, non-slip grip in comparison to wood.