The 10 Best Paring Knives

These kitchen essentials are great for cutting and peeling smaller foods

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Our Top Picks
"Great for peeling, dicing, or trimming, this 3.5-inch long blade is easy to grasp and keeps its edge for a long time."
"For a very reasonable price, you'll get a carbon steel blade that stays sharp and a plastic protective sheath for storage."
"This ceramic blade stays sharp for longer than a traditional steel blade, and won't rust, corrode, or stain."
"With a non-traditional sheepsfoot shape, this Japanese-style paring knife makes it easy to make small, even chops and slices."
"This three-piece set will guarantee that you have the right paring knife for any job."
"The included sharpening sheath makes sure you always have a sharp edge with which to cut your fruits and herbs."
"With a hand-hammered finish that reduces drag when cutting, this Damascus steel blade is worth the splurge if you love cooking."
"The serrated edge of this paring knife is perfectly made for cutting through tough-skinned fruits and veggies."
"These cheerfully colored knives will be at home in the picnic basket or in a drawer at work."
"Earns praise from users for its balance, grip, and sharpness out of the box."

While it may not be the most essential knife in the kitchen, paring knives are perfect for making precise, small cuts or for peeling fruits and vegetables. They're great to have on hand for a home bar since you can cut tiny wedges and citrus peel for cocktails. They also work well for deveining shrimp. Paring knives are small with a short blade so they travel easily—whether you want to take one along on a picnic or to work and use it for slicing up your fruit at lunchtime. Plus, they're often inexpensive so you don't have to worry that they aren't the most versatile of kitchen knives.

Best Overall: Wusthof Classic Ikon Paring Knife

Made in Germany, this knife is built for cutting performance, no matter what grip you’re using. You’ll feel confident with it in your hand, whether you’re peeling an apple for a snack or slicing a lemon for a garnish. The handle is a synthetic material that’s designed for kitchen use and is easy to hold even when your hands are wet.

Three rivets and a full tang give the knife great balance, while the sharp 3.5-inch blade slices easily through fruits and vegetables. The bolster is designed to allow you to sharpen the full length of the blade when required, while still giving you excellent control of the knife blade. Like all fine knives, this should be hand washed.

Best Budget: Zyliss 3.5-Inch Paring Knife with Sheath Cover

This budget paring knife comes with its own sheath, so it’s perfect for tossing into the picnic basket, tucking into the tackle box with fishing gear, or taking to work with your lunch. While it’s a fine knife for the price, it’s inexpensive enough that if you lose it, you can replace it without too much angst.

Even though you won’t spend a lot on this knife, it still has features you’ll appreciate. The 3.5-inch carbon steel blade retains its edge well and is easy to re-sharpen when needed. The handle has soft rubber inserts so it’s easy to hang onto, even if you’re peeling under running water, and it provides a comfortable grip as well. The sheath protects the knife from bumps and nicks, no matter where you store it, and it protects your hands from accidental jabs when you reach into the drawer for a peeler.

While this knife is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended.

Best Ceramic: Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series Paring Knife

When it comes to ceramic knives, Kyocera is one of the prominent brands, thanks to their long history with all sorts of ceramic products. This Kyocera paring knife is very affordable and very, very sharp. Rather than a more typical point tip, this blade has a rounded tip that is less likely to break. It has a molded black handle (although similar knives from this company are available in other colors) that is comfortable to hold.

The 3-inch long blade is a pristine white color and is made from a proprietary zirconia material in Japan that’s extremely hard, which keeps the knife sharp for a long time. The ceramic blade also can’t be affected by acids, oils, or salts, and it will never rust, corrode, or stain.

When sharpening is necessary, the knife can be sent to Kyocera, or sharpened with a tool that is specifically made for ceramic blades. While ceramic blades are very hard, they are also brittle, so this should not be used for very hard or frozen foods, or for prying around bones. This knife should be washed by hand.

Best Japanese: Tojiro DP Paring Knife

Japanese knives are known for their sharpness and precision, and this paring knife is a good example of why. The blade has three layers of metal, with stainless steel on the outside to resist rust and corrosion. The angle and shape of the 3.5-inch long blade (called a sheepsfoot-style blade) are not the same as what you’ll find on typical paring knives, but users found that it was easy to get used to and was very comfortable to use when slicing. This knife comes in a box that can be used for storage. Hand washing is recommended.

Best Set: Wüsthof Gourmet Three-Piece Paring Knife Set

This affordable set includes a drop-point paring knife with a 3-inch blade that will come in handy for cutting cheese, a sharp-point paring knife with a 3-inch long blade, and a bird’s beak paring knife with a 2.25-inch blade that’s great for peeling fruits and vegetables. All three have full tangs, riveted composite handles, and stamped stainless steel blades. They are dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended.

Best for a New Kitchen: Farberware Paring Knife with EdgeKeeper Self-Sharpening Sheath

Great for new kitchens that don’t have a lot of extra gear, this paring knife comes with a self-sharpening sheath that automatically gives the blade a little sharpening swipe each time it’s inserted into or taken out of the sheath. The sheath also makes it great for tucking into the picnic basket or taking to work for lunch, and it means you can safely store the knife just about anywhere, without worrying about nicking the blade or stabbing yourself when you reach into a drawer. The 3.5-inch long blade is made from rust-resistant high carbon steel, but it should be hand washed and dried immediately for the longest life.

Best Splurge: Shun Premier Paring Knife

Shun is known for premium knives, and this 4-inch paring knife is no exception. It has a layered Damascus steel blade with a hand-hammered finish that reduces drag when you're cutting and helps prevent food from sticking to the blade. The handle is made from pakka wood and is shaped to provide a comfortable grip. While it is dishwasher safe, hand-washing and air drying are recommended. Because these knives are hand made, the actual length of the blade can vary between 3.75 to 4 inches long.

Best Serrated: Victorinox 3.25-Inch Rosewood Paring Knife with Serrated Edge

You might be familiar with the Victorinox name from their very popular Swiss army knives, but they also make kitchen knives. This one has a 3.25-inch long serrated blade made from European stainless steel that’s perfect for cutting through fruits and vegetables with a tough skin and delicate flesh, like tomatoes or plums. The short blade and longer handle give you accurate cuts no matter how you grip it. The handle is made from rosewood, which is naturally heavy and crack-resistant. This knife should be washed by hand.

Best for the Picnic Basket: Kuhn Rikon Straight Paring Knife with Safety Sheath, 4", Set of 3

These cheerfully colored knives will be at home in the picnic basket, in a drawer at work, or in the RV. They’re inexpensive enough—and an even better bargain when buying three—that losing one won’t break the bank, but they’re sharp enough to handle kitchen tasks with ease. The sturdy sheaths keep the knives safe for travel or storage, keeping the blade safe from nicks while keeping hands safe when digging in the picnic basket. The nonstick surface makes cleaning easy, so they can be wiped off easily with no need for serious scrubbing. These knives are also available as a single purchase, in a wide variety of colors.

Best Basic: Misen Paring Knife

Misen made its name on Kickstarter, selling a chef’s knife that earned praise from both websites and average customers, and since then it's expanded the product line. While the original Misen knives came with a blue handle, now they’re also available in black or grey to blend in with any kitchen décor. The sloped bolster is designed to encourage a proper pinch grip when cutting and also makes sharpening easier, when needed. The blade is made from AUS-10 steel, which offers lasting sharpness, and the knife has a full tang for good balance along with two rivets for security. Like the original chef’s knife, this blade earns praise from users for its balance, grip, and sharpness out of the box.

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