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If your arsenal of kitchen supplies dedicated to slicing consists of only a few knives, it’s time for a serious upgrade. From peelers and graters to mandolines and zesters, there are slicing tools for every task under the sun that will make your meal prep so much easier. While some folks say that they can do absolutely every cutting task with a good kitchen knife, it’s much easier and faster to peel a carrot with a dedicated peeler or grate a block of cheese with a simple box grater.
You might not need every cutting tool that exists, but it’s a good bet that your cooking will take less time and effort with at least a few of these sharp tools to help you. Here, the 10 best slicing tools to stock your kitchen.
Best Mandoline: Progressive International Prepworks Adjust-A-Slice and Julienne Hand-Held Mandoline
Mandolines are great when you have a lot of slicing to do, and particularly when it’s important that the slices are perfectly even and all the pieces are the same size. It’s also great for making super-thin slices of foods, such as potatoes for potato chips, that would be harder and take longer to cut by hand.
This inexpensive mandoline adjusts to three different thicknesses and has julienne blades that flip up for cutting zucchini, carrots, and other vegetables ideal for salads and stir-fry. It also comes with a protective hand guard and is dishwasher safe, but it might be best to carefully hand wash it in order to really clean out all the nooks and crannies.
Best Peeler: Oxo Good Grips Swivel Peeler
A vegetable peeler is such a simple tool, but if yours doesn’t work well or it doesn’t feel right in your hand, it can make everyday jobs an unpleasant chore. The OXO peeler has a fat, soft-grip handle that’s comfortable to hold, even when you have a lot of peeling to do. The blade swivels easily to perfectly peel fruits and vegetables without gouging too deeply into produce flesh, which can cause the peeler to stick or skip.
The blade is sharp and stays that way through years of use, and it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Even better, this must-have tool is inexpensive enough to have a spare of for those times when the first one is in the dishwasher or when you want some help in the kitchen.
Best Food Processor: Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor
Food processors have become quite common in kitchens these days, and many long-time cooks have owned two or even three different models over the years. The machines have come a long way since the early models that had fewer frills, options, and attachments.
This one has two large paddle buttons, one for “on” and one for “off/pulse,” a 14-cup work bowl large enough for family cooking, and an extra large feed tube so you won’t need to cut bulky foods to make them fit. It has small and large pushers, one shredding disc, one slicing disc, and a removable disc stem that fits both of them, along with a metal blade for chopping, mixing, blending, and emulsifying. When it comes to kneading, our reviewer found that the swift-acting blade "turned dough elastic in a matter of minutes with minimal effort."
Best Chef's Knife: Wusthof CLASSIC Cook's Knife, 8-Inch Hollow Ground Blade
A chef's knife is a kitchen must-have, and this version from Wusthof is a true workhorse. The hollow edge on the 8-inch blade features vertical indentations, which create small air pockets between the blade and food to keep ingredients from sticking as you chop, mince, slice, and dice everything from thick vegetables to cuts of meat.
Forged from a single block of high carbon stainless steel, this heavy-duty knife has a full tang with a triple-riveted synthetic handle for balance, security, and a traditional look. The full tang keeps fingers away from the blade and helps promote a proper grip when cutting, for more efficient and safer use. When it comes to weight, some say this one is on the heavier side.
Best Paring Knife: Wusthof Classic Ikon Paring Knife
With their small blades and hand-sized handles, paring knives are designed for peeling and slicing fruits and vegetables, and for other small tasks that require agility and precision, like coring tomatoes and strawberries. The German-made Wusthof Classic Ikon Paring Knife is built for cutting performance with a highly durable synthetic handle designed for kitchen use. It's sturdy, comfortable, and easy to hold—even when your hands are wet.
Three rivets and a full tang give the knife impeccable balance and precise control, while the sharp 3.5-inch blade effortlessly slices through small produce items, from garlic cloves and herbs to apples and limes. The bolster gives a lightweight feel and allows you to sharpen the full length of the blade when necessary. Hand wash only.
Best Bread Knife: Mercer Culinary Millennia Wide Wavy Edge Bread Knife
A knife just for bread might seem rather specific, but bread is quite different from most things you slice. It has a crust that might be very crisp or very chewy, surrounding a soft, fluffy, squishy interior. The knife has to be able to cut through the crust easily without the user exerting a lot of pressure that would crush the bread, and then it needs to slice through the delicate interior without tearing it. This knife does exactly that, creating beautiful slices of any bread you bake.
If all of your bread comes pre-sliced, a bread knife might not be the best use of your money. If you’re an avid bread baker, having a knife like the Mercer Culinary Millennia Wide Wavy Edge Bread Knife—made from high-carbon, stain-resistant Japanese steel—will help you present your bread in the best possible way. It has a comfortable handle, curved edge, pointy tines, and generous 10.5-inch blade that is also great for slicing cakes into layers or trimming cake tops flat.
Best Y-Peeler: Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler, 3-Piece Set
A Y-peeler is oftentimes a more comfortable alternative to mass peeling with a standard vegetable peeler. With an ergonomic handle and sharp carbon steel blade, it's great for tackling pretty much anything with minimal effort, from tomatoes to broccoli stems. Plus, you can use it in either your left or right hand.
Chefs love the Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler for its durability, lightness, sharpness, and consistency. Like a swivel peeler, it has an integrated potato eye remover, and the sharp carbon steel blade cuts better than most other peelers. However, it's not dishwasher safe.
Best Grater: Microplane Elite Box Grater 34009
Box graters have been around for a long time, and they’re still popular—for good reason. You get multiple grating surfaces in one gadget. This one is particularly sturdy and has rubber feet for stability on the kitchen counter or cutting board. It also has small windows on the sides so you can see just how much of your cheese or veggies have been grated, and a removable bottom so you can catch and hold the grated food. It has five grating/cutting surfaces: coarse, fine, ultra-coarse, ribbon, and shaving.
A box grater takes a little more storage space than flat graters, but it’s often preferable when grating large piles of cheese or other food as it's more stable. It’s also easier to hold than most flat graters.
Best Zester: Microplane Ultimate 3-in-1 Citrus Tool 34720
If you like to bake, make cocktails, or whip up your own salad dressings, you probably use a fair amount of citrus zest. There are several different forms that zest can take: grated, thin strips, or those wider strips for garnishes.
This combination zester from Microplane does it all. It has a comfortable handle and a grating surface that’s large enough for easily zesting any citrus from limes to grapefruits, and there’s a cover that protects the grating surface (and your hands) during storage. The garnishing blades are on the end of the handle for easily cutting thin or thick curls of the peel. It comes in bright green or yellow color options, which makes it easier to find in your kitchen drawer.
Best Kitchen Shears: OXO Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors
Not only are the OXO Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors inexpensive, but thanks to pressure-absorbing cushioned pads, they're also very comfortable. These hardened stainless steel shears can seamlessly cut through meat, flowers, vegetables, and more. They even have a built-in herb stripper to pluck your favorite flavors from tough stems. If you’re looking to up your cooking game, you might want to invest in a category-specific pair, like poultry shears, but for getting everyday basics accomplished, this product is essential.
What to look for in slicing tools
One consideration when dealing with kitchen tools that have blades is how to care for them. Do you prefer items that can go in the dishwasher? Some tools can do that without any trouble, such as your food processor bowl, blade, and accessories, and most vegetable peelers, for example. Other items may need more delicate handwashing in order to ensure their longevity and efficacy such as your paring and bread knives. And for items such as mandoline slicers, which are incredibly sharp, you might want to opt for one that can go in the dishwasher; you'll lessen your risk of cutting yourself if you don't have to take it apart to clean it.
There are some style variations within each product category. For example, if you're shopping for a grater, do you want one that can lie flat in your drawer or another storage cabinet, or are you ok with one that's a box grater? Similar considerations of design can be made for mandoline slicers; some are hand-held and others come with a stand and are therefore more stable.
Ease of Use
Sometimes something is designed so well, it's a joy to use. If you're looking at items such as a mandoline, they can have a bit of complexity to them, so you will want to make sure you can use it easily. For a food processor, for example, you'll want to see how easy it is to put the parts into place, and take them apart for cleaning. Another question to consider is storage; if something is easy to store, it's definitely easier to use. Knives and peelers need to feel safe and stable in your hands, and need to have a well-designed blade that effortlessly cuts, zests, slices, or peels through whatever you're working with in the kitchen.
Are food processors worth it?
If you do any kind of cooking on a regular basis, you may quickly wonder how you survived so long without a food processor, once you get one and start using it.
Food processors speed up prep, but they're also intrinsic to bringing together many different kinds of dishes whose preparation would be arduous or very difficult without one. Food processors are key to making things such as pesto, hummus, and salad dressings. They excel at cutting in butter quickly for a pastry dough. They are helpful for making salsa, nut butters, energy balls, dips, cauliflower rice, and all kinds of sauces.
What makes a bread knife different?
A bread knife typically has a longer, thinner blade with a serrated edge, designed to easily cut through the crust of bread but without shredding the bread's interior. The blade is not as thick as a chef's knife, and it generally has about the same length and width, whereas the blade of a chef's knife is more tapered, or triangular in shape.
What are the most important points to using a chef's knife?
When shopping for a chef's knife, you want to consider three things: the steel, the handle, and weighting. The steel is typically German or Japanese, which has to do with the type of blade, the angle, and what sorts of cutting they excel at, for example. The handle is pretty self-explanatory, but you will want to feel how the knife sits in your hand, and how it's weighted. Does it feel heavy, does it feel light? Does the knife feel balanced as you use it to cut? If you're shopping at a brick and mortar cooking store, they typically will have knives out for demonstration purposes so you can feel how it fits in your hand and slices through simple fruits or veggies. Don't be afraid to ask.