4 Best Paring Knives of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

These small-but-mighty knives are great for prepping produce and tedious kitchen tasks.

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Updated on January 18, 2024

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Our Top Paring Knife Picks

Tested by Laura Denby for Food Network Kitchen

Most chefs will agree that the only two knives a person really needs is a chef’s knife and a paring knife. Unlike the all-purpose chef’s knife, a paring knife is a smaller knife that’s made to tackle nimble tasks with extra precision. If you’re an avid home cook who likes to prepare vegetables, mince garlic or peel fruit, a paring knife can add a level of efficiency to your toolkit that’s unmatched by any other style of knife.

Before selecting a paring knife, first assess what types of prep work you do most often, how often you’ll use it, and how you intend to clean and care for it. Paring knives are a super simple item as far as kitchen gadgets go, but they can vary greatly in price. To make sure you’re getting the right knife for you, make sure to consider the size and weight of the knife to determine how functional it will feel in your hands.

In order to find the best paring knives available, we put a few of the leading models to the test. We sliced fruit, peeled shallots, hulled strawberries and even cut notoriously-slippery cherry tomatoes. Read on for our list of the best paring knives.

$35.00
Photo Courtesy Amazon

Misen’s paring knife is miraculously heavy-duty yet lightweight at the same time, which makes it our absolute favorite knife of all we’ve tested. This durable yet nimble knife will become a workhorse in your kitchen — it can handle tough tasks and small, precise cuts with the same level of accuracy and consistency across the board. It’s affordable and high quality, which makes it the best overall pick for any home cook.

This knife excelled in all of our tests. The handle is easy to hold and maneuver, and it easily sliced through sections of citrus with precision. The handle feels sturdy even when wet or dripping with slippery orange juice. It has some heft but still feels perfectly balanced when choking up on the blade to hull strawberries. The blade is sharp from heel to tip, and it glides through tomato and shallot skins with minimal pressure. The blade is thicker, which provides stability and power. If you’re looking for a reliable knife to help streamline your vegetable prep, this stainless steel option from Misen is a safe bet. Keep in mind, this knife is not dishwasher-safe and should be washed by hand and dried immediately.

$6.84
Photo Courtesy Amazon

This sharp, nimble knife ensures precise cuts and a nonslip handle, all for under $10. If you’re looking for a simple, lightweight knife that can tackle a variety of tasks at an affordable price, this is the option for you. With a 3.25-inch blade that’s flexible and thin, this knife easily sliced through orange sections and removed any skin or pith with ease. The blade is sharp from end to end, and hulling strawberries was easy to do with the pointed tip. This knife is particularly easy to handle, the textured grip ensures that it doesn’t slip, even when wet or sticky.

Though we like how lightweight this knife is, keep in mind that you’ll want something a bit more heavy-duty when handling dense vegetables. The blade is flexible — which is great when peeling fruit or deboning fish — but the flexibility doesn’t lend itself to denser vegetables. If you’re looking for a knife that can cut through squash or sweet potatoes, a stronger, thicker blade might be better suited to you.

$99.95
Photo Courtesy Williams Sonoma

This gorgeous knife uses micro layers of stainless steel to create a ripple effect, much like you would find on a Damascus steel knife. The Damascus-style blade helps reduce friction and prevent food from sticking. Made with a Pakkawood handle that’s ergonomically designed and resistant to moisture, this knife is a splurge-worthy option for serious home cooks.

We found that it excelled in our tests — the belly of the blade was sharp enough to peel fruits and vegetables with ease, and the knife cut through citrus and shallots easily. The 3.5-inch blade and 4-inch handle are perfectly balanced with each other, which made this knife our favorite to hold and maneuver. It was by far the easiest to use, and we found that it made it easy to work quickly and produce precise results. Though the balance and weight of Shun’s paring knife was unmatched by any other we tried, we found the tip to be slightly less sharp than some other knives. We had some challenges when hulling strawberries or cutting through shallots with the tip.

$32.49
Photo Courtesy Amazon

For home cooks with limited knife storage who want a bit of added safety, having a knife with a sheath is a great way to add extra protection. Our testers love Kuhn Rikon’s paring knife that comes with a safety sheath because it’s comfortable to hold, easy to use, and super sharp. This incredible value includes three 4-inch, stainless steel knives, all of which come with their own sheath for added safety. Not only does the sheath protect against cuts and knicks, it also helps keep the blade sharp while sitting in the drawer.

Our testers found this knife to be comfortable to hold — it has an ergonomic handle that feels secure and sturdy in your hand. The stainless steel blade has a nonstick coating, so even sticky foods will slide off. We found that it was able to achieve precise cuts with ease, thanks to the durable blade that’s consistently sharp from heel to tip. We had no problem peeling vegetables, cutting tomatoes or hulling strawberries, and our testers were pleasantly surprised at how functional and efficient this knife is. Best of all, this is an incredible value for the price. If you’re looking to stock up on a set of knives to help streamline your produce prep, this set from Kuhn Rikon is a great option.

Photo by: Photo by Laura Denby

Photo by Laura Denby

What To Consider When Buying a Paring Knife

Size

Generally, paring knives range from three to four inches long. These smaller knives are made to be more nimble, so the handle of the knife is much smaller than that of a chef’s knife, too. The smaller size often lends itself to more control and precision, which makes paring knives the ideal option for quick tasks like peeling shallots or slicing lemons. Because they’re so much smaller than a standard chef’s knife, even a small difference in blade size from knife to knife can make a difference in efficiency. Before selecting a knife, consider if a short or longer knife is best for you. If you want to have complete control over your cuts, opt for a 3-inch knife. If you want to slice onions, limes and tomatoes, opt for a knife with a slightly longer 4-inch blade. By selecting a 3.5-inch blade, you’ll get the best of both.

Care & Cleaning

Before selecting a knife, consider how you plan to care for it. Some paring knives are dishwasher-safe, while others must be washed by hand. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions before handling any knife, and keep in mind that most knives should be dried thoroughly and immediately after each use. If you don’t have a safe place to effectively store your knife, you may want to consider one that comes with a sheath for safer storage.

Price

Paring knives can vary greatly in price, so first determine how often you’ll use your knife and for what types of tasks. If you prepare produce frequently, it might be a good idea to invest in a long lasting, heavy-duty option. If you’re looking for a knife to keep in your drawer for the occasional task, opt for a more affordable knife. Luckily there are many paring knives available at really affordable prices, so it’s a great idea to start with a cheaper knife and upgrade as needed.

Photo by: Photo by Laura Denby

Photo by Laura Denby

How We Tested

To test the best paring knives, we ran each knife through a series of culinary tests. To start, we observed each knife and evaluated, size, weight, and the feel of the handle. We took note of the manufacturer’s instructions for care and cleaning, and considered any other special qualities. Next, we used each knife to peel and section oranges. Oranges can be slippery and juicy, so this test helped us evaluate how sharp the blade was and how sturdy the handle was, even when wet. Next, we used each knife to hull strawberries. This task allowed us to properly assess how sharp the tip of each knife was. It also gave us an idea of how comfortable the knives were when performing precise tasks, and how easily each knife moved. Next, we used each knife to peel and dice shallots and slice cherry tomatoes. Shallot skin can be slippery, so through this test we were able to determine the effectiveness of each knife. Lastly, cherry tomatoes are easy to crush with dull knives, so a paring knife’s ability to cleanly slice through tomatoes was the ultimate test of functionality.

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