If you’re ready to get your shuck on, you’ll definitely want a sturdy, reliable oyster knife for all of your bivalve needs. These knives are unlike a typical chef’s knife because the blades are much smaller, shorter, and duller. These short, dull blades allow you to loosen the hinge of the oyster gently so that you can remove the top shell and enjoy a dozen raw on the half shell. How frequently you’ll be shucking and the types of oysters that you’ll be shucking will play into your oyster knife decision.
Oyster knives come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, so it’s always a good idea to hold one in your hand so that you can best understand how it feels. The grip should feel comfortable and easy to hold, while the blade should be sturdy enough to crack open even the most cumbersome shells. Whether you're completely new to preparing oysters or an expert shucker looking to replace your favorite tool, we've listed the best oyster knives on the market to help you choose.
R. Murphy UJ Ramelson Duxbury Oyster Knife
Sturdy short blade
Comfortable, easy-to-grip handle
Not ideal for larger oysters
This New Haven-style oyster knife is a favorite among professional cooks, oyster farmers, and home cooks. The short 2-inch stainless steel blade can penetrate a tough hinge on an oyster without applying a ton of pressure. (Longer blades are prone to breaking or bending.) The blade tip is conveniently pointed, which makes it easier to pry into the oyster hinge and remove the top shell without breaking the bottom oyster shell. The green polypropylene plastic handle is not only a sleek look, but it’s easy to hold onto and comfortable in your hands.
This knife was designed with all the important considerations in mind because farmers at Island Creek Oyster were consulted during the design process. The knife is lightweight, and its blade and handle are well-balanced, making it easy to maneuver around the oysters.
Price at time of publish: $21
Material: Stainless steel blade, polypropylene plastic handle | Length: 2.125 inches | Care: Hand wash only
Mercer Culinary Boston-Style Oyster Knife
Comfortable to hold
Textured handle keeps grip from slipping
Not dishwasher safe
If you’re new to shucking oysters and want to start with an option that’s easy on your wallet, this Boston-style knife will get you the best bang for your buck. At under $10, this crowd favorite oyster knife is equipped with a sleek white polypropylene handle that’s just as attractive as it is functional, and the 3-inch stainless steel blade is efficient in gently prying open shells.
The rounded blade tip also makes for added safety, so if you’re new to shucking oysters, you don’t need to worry about any accidents. Reviewers are impressed by the quality and effectiveness of this knife, especially given how inexpensive it is. Some reviewers point out the blade is lacking in sharpness, but this can actually make the job a bit easier and safer.
Price at time of publish: $8
Material: Stainless steel blade, polypropylene handle | Length: 3 inches | Care: Hand wash only
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Non-Slip Oyster Knife
Easy to handle
Slightly bent tip
Blade has some flex and isn’t as sturdy
If you want a grip that is not only comfortable and stylish, but something that you can rely on staying put, the Oxo Good Grips is a great option. Whether you’re working with some difficult oysters or you just want the extra insurance of a non-slip grip, you'll love the sturdy and comfy grip that this knife offers. Even if the grip or your hands are wet or oily, you don’t have to worry about the knife slipping. The stainless steel blade boasts a slightly bent tip that allows it to easily pry open even the trickiest shells. The knife is dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
Some reviewers noted that the blade had more flex than they wanted, making it a little less durable than some of the other options. However, at such an accessible price point, this knife is a great option for any oyster-shucking beginners.
Price at time of publish: $11
Material: Stainless steel blade, plastic handle | Length: 3 inches | Care: Dishwasher safe
Toadfish Coastal Kitchen Collection
Includes oyster knife, shrimp cleaner, and crab cutter
Handles made from recycled plastic bottles
Great for gifting
Supports sustainable company
At Toadfish, their mission is to populate coastal areas with oyster beds full of pollution-blasting bivalves as a way to offset the human impact on our vital waterways. They also happen to have some of the highest quality and best-engineered gadgets on the market. The Coastal Kitchen Collection combines everything you love about eating seafood with sustainability. The items in the set feature a patented design to make your seafood preparation easy and safe, and include an ergonomic oyster knife, a shrimp cleaner, and a crab cutter.
The oyster knife has handles made of recycled water bottles and a bent tip design to open oysters with ease. The shrimp cleaner peels, deveins, and butterflies shrimp in one motion. The crab cutter cuts shells instead of smashing them with a hammer. Plus, proceeds go toward installing more oyster beds and cleaning up the ocean.
Price at time of publish: $89
Material: Recycled plastic and stainless steel | Oyster Knife Length: 8.8 x 3 x 1.5 inches | Care: Hand wash only
Best for Large Oysters
Dexter-Russell 4-Inch Galveston-Style Oyster Knife
Made of strong, high-carbon steel
Tip may be hard to get between tighter shells
If you find that you’re shucking a lot of large oysters, you’ll probably want a knife that can accommodate the size and strength of these shells. This Galveston-style knife has a 4-inch blade, making it almost twice as long as other oyster knife blades. This allows for an easy time maneuvering into large hinges and shells. The sturdy carbon steel blade is strong enough that it won’t bend or break, and it’s thin enough that it can open hinges without breaking the entire shell.
Reviewers note that they’re able to open a large number of oysters quickly and that this knife has lasted them for a very long time. For best results and longevity, it’s ideal to hand wash and dry after each use.
Price at time of publish: $15
Material: Carbon steel blade, plastic handle | Length: 4 inches | Care: Hand wash only
Made In Oyster Shucker
Walnut wood handle
Crosshatched design for non-slip grip
Custom engraving available
Full tang blade
Wooden handle may require more care
Made In's oyster shucker is a piece of art, with its crosshatched walnut handle and full tang blade accented with bronze pins. We love how the grooved design on the handle is both stylish and functional since it helps keep your hand from slipping during use. The blade itself is made of 420HC stainless steel (meaning it's super strong and resistant to stains), with a sharp point and signature Made In etching. This tool is perfect for special occasions and makes a great gift for seafood lovers. Make it extra special with a custom engraving.
Reviewers praise this knife for its balanced and sturdy construction. Although the straight blade is ideal for New England oysters, it can be used for all types. Keep in mind that the wooden handle requires a bit extra case, as it absolutely can not go in the dishwasher and must be dried immediately after hand washing to maintain its quality.
Price at time of publish: $49
Material: Walnut wood and stainless steel | Oyster Knife Length: 2.63-inch blade, 3.87-inch handle | Care: Hand wash only, dry immediately
DragonFruitee Oyster Shucking Knife
Blade doesn’t have a bent tip
This sleek oyster knife blade is made of high-quality carbon stainless steel for added durability and strength. Home cooks and restaurant professionals alike love this option. After hundreds and hundreds of shucked oysters, this knife’s blade will not have a groove or dent to be found, which is super ideal. Reviewers love how quickly and easily they are able to get through a ton of oysters. The non-slip grip (that comes in a fun, neon color) is made of polypropylene, and the grooves help make it easy to hold onto. The knife is dishwasher safe, and it’s perfectly lightweight and balanced in your hand.
Price at time of publish: $8
Material: High-quality carbon stainless steel | Length: 3 inches | Care: Dishwasher safe
Best for Beginners
Rösle Stainless Steel Oyster and Mussel Knife
Hand guard for safety
Durable and strong stainless steel
Hanging ring for easy storage
Blade doesn’t have a bent tip
Shucking oysters can seem intimidating at first, so you definitely want a knife that you trust and can rely on for easy results. This Rösle knife is great for novices because it has a built-in hand guard that protects your fingers and hands from injury when opening oysters. Of course, it’s still advised to nestle the oyster in a kitchen towel and use a glove. The stainless steel construction makes it sturdy and durable, plus the handle and blade are well-balanced for an easy-to-use feel. The knife is also designed with a small hanging ring, which makes for easy storage when it’s not in use.
Price at time of publish: $28
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 7.1 inches | Care: Dishwasher safe
The best choice for most shucking circumstances is the R. Murphy UJ Ramelson Duxbury Oyster Knife, which was made with the consultation of farmers at Island Creek Oyster. If you're new to oyster shucking, the Rösle Stainless Steel Oyster and Mussel Knife will keep you safe, since it's designed with a hand guard to prevent injury.
What to Look for in Oyster Knives
Type of Knife
There are five general categories for oyster knives. For the most part, New Haven blades are short and wide with a slightly curved blade, and then there are Providence blades, which are similar to New Havens, except they don’t have a curve. Next, there are Bostons and Galvestons, which are much longer and have more narrow blades. Lastly, there are Frenchman oyster knives, which are short in length and wide. Frenchmans typically have sharper sides that will make it easier to locate the weak part of your oyster where you can break it open.
Type of Blade
Beyond the look of the knife, the blade is also an important factor. The blade length can be anywhere from 2 to 4 inches, and some have tapered or rounded ends, while others do not. Most blades are made from stainless steel, though some possess carbon, which makes those blades slightly tougher and more durable.
Type of Handle
The grip is just as important as the blade because this is what you’ll be holding on to when it comes time to use the knife. Blades are usually made of either plastic or wood. Unlike other knives, it’s okay to put oyster knives in the dishwasher because their blades aren’t too sharp, and you don’t need to worry about dulling them. The handle should feel comfortable in your hands and be heavy enough that you have some leverage (but not too heavy), and a non-slip grip is an added plus.
How do you shuck oysters with an oyster knife?
To shuck an oyster safely and efficiently, you’ll first need an oyster. Lay a clean dish towel on your work surface and place the oyster, flat side up, on the towel. Fold the towel over the oyster so that only the hinge of the oyster is exposed. Use your non-dominant hand to hold the oyster from the top and keep it in place.
"Every oyster has a hinge or spot where the oyster knife fits in," says Adam Evans, Executive Chef and Owner of Automatic Seafood & Oysters. "Once you find that, the knife needs to get wedged inside. After you find this sweet spot, then it’s a matter of cranking the knife like a motorcycle until the shell pops."
Use your dominant hand to gently wiggle the blade of your oyster knife into the hinge, subtly twisting until the seal breaks and you’re able to wiggle off the top shell. Run the knife to the top of the oyster so that the entire top shell comes off, and scrape the knife gently along the inside of the top shell to loosen the muscle. Clean the oyster if necessary and enjoy.
Should oyster knives be sharp?
No, oyster knives do not have a sharp blade, and they do not need to be sharpened or maintained. The dullness of their blade is advantageous for safely and easily opening an oyster. "Your new oyster knife should last a long time," says Evans. "They do break if you try to pry your oysters open as opposed to cranking them open. If the tip breaks, then it’s best to just get a new one.”
Can you open oysters without an oyster knife?
If you don’t have an oyster knife, you can always grill or bake your oysters to open the shells easily. In order to enjoy an oyster raw, you’ll need a knife to shuck it.
What's the difference between an oyster knife and a clam knife?
Because the thickness of the shells on oysters and clams differ, the implements we use to open them differ also. An oyster knife has a blade that is shorter and sharper than that of a clam knife, whose blade is generally longer, thinner, and with a rounder end. While the sharp point of an oyster knife is intended to bore through thicker shell and pry open the shell, a clam knife uses a blunt knife to open the back of the shell and take out the meat. Using the wrong knife runs the risk of damaging the shell and ruining the meat. If you're a regular home shucker, you may want to invest in both.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane has written nearly a dozen buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. She is a professionally trained chef in addition to an oyster shucking enthusiast. Born and raised on Long Island, she is no stranger to a dozen on the half shell and learned how to shuck from a young age. She also interviewed Adam Evans, Executive Chef and Owner of Automatic Seafood & Oysters, while researching this roundup.