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The Best Boning Knife

🕚 Updated June 2023

While a boning knife may look small and unassuming, this tool will help you reduce food waste and expedite your meal-prepping process. Here are some fantastic boning knives we recommend.

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  Top Choice Best with Sheath Best Multipurpose Best Budget Also Great
  Mercer Culinary
M23820 Millennia 6-Inch Curved Boning Knife
Viking Knives
Boning Knife
German High Carbon Stainless Steel Boning Knife
Mercer Culinary
6-Inch Curved Boning Knife
Fillet Knife and Bait Knife
Our SummaryCrafted with one-piece high-carbon Japanese steel, this boning knife is exceptionally sharp and accurate.The dimpled texture of the blade and soft leather sheath make this knife beautiful and portable.Precisely separate meat from the bone with this ultra-sharp carbon stainless steel blade.This colorful boning knife has a nonslip grip, so it's safe and easy to use.Razor sharp and precise, this boning knife features a German stainless steel blade and a beautiful black finish.
Pros✓ High-quality steel blade
✓ Easy edge maintenance
✓ Textured finger points for nonslip grip
✓ Beautiful design
✓ High-quality leather sheath
✓ Giftable packaging
✓ German steel and pakka wood design
✓ Finger protection space
✓ Precise angles
✓ High-carbon Japanese steel
✓ Ergonomic handle
✓ Color-coded for food safety
✓ Great for filleting fish
✓ Multiple uses
✓ Super polymer grip for safety and comfort
Cons✗ The handle is too thick and heavy for some✗ May rust prematurely✗ The center of the blade is duller than others✗ Must be sharpened often✗ The sheath could be better quality
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The Best Boning Knife

A chef cuts pork ribs with a boning knife on a wooden cutting board.

Buying Guide for Boning Knives

Delicious dry aged raw rubia gallega beef steak on a wooden board with knife, green salad and seasoned with sea salt flakes and pepper.
Luca DAddezio/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a boning knife?

A boning knife is a unique and useful kitchen tool. Sleek and compact, this knife is an easy addition to your kitchen toolkit while you build up your culinary skills. It features a thin blade that allows you to cut close to the bone of any type of firm meat. With the right boning knife, you can carve through delicious meats to create delectable dishes with ease.

What should you consider in a boning knife?

  • Blade: Boning knives can sometimes have specialized blades for certain types of meat. Flexible blades are ideal for cutting thinner meats. Semi-stiff blades should be used on thicker meats that require more pressure. For beginners, opt for the semi-stiff blades as they are easier to handle. Long blades create deeper cuts, making them great for large pieces of meat. However, shorter blades can be easier to handle because they are less likely to bend accidentally.
  • Handle: For the most stability while cutting a piece of meat, consider a full tang knife. This type of knife has a continuous piece of metal that reaches from the point of the blade to the tip of the handle. You will find various tang lengths on the market, but full tang offers the most control. Outside of the tang, you should consider a handle with an ergonomic shape so that your hand is comfortable during the cutting process.
  • Material: Stainless steel is a common material for boning knives as they are durable and rust-resistant. Carbon stainless steel is an elevated version of this material, allowing for the same durability and strength while remaining lightweight.

How do you sharpen a boning knife?

Because of the curvature of most boning knives, sharpening a boning knife all the way down the blade can be tricky. A long, handheld whetstone is the ideal sharpening tool for sharpening a boning knife. A steel sharpening rod can also work, but it doesn’t get the ultra-sharp results of a whetstone. If you’re using your boning knife in the great outdoors, a folding knife sharpening rod or a travel-sized whetstone can be ideal at the moment, but you should be sure to give it a thorough sharpening once you return home.

Our Picks for the Best Boning Knives

Top Choice

Mercer Culinary M23820 Millennia Boning Knife

Crafted with one-piece high-carbon Japanese steel, this boning knife is exceptionally sharp and accurate.

Pros: With a 6-inch, high-quality steel blade, you can be sure of easy edge maintenance and long-lasting sharpness. And it’s built-to-last ergonomic handle has textured finger points that offer a non-slip grip with added comfort, durability, and safety. This boning knife has a ton of practical uses that include slicing bagels and scoring sourdough, separating red meat from the bone, deboning chicken, slicing ham, filleting and deboning fish, or trimming fat and sinew from just about any cut of meat. And this simple yet effective knife is easy to clean. Simply hand wash it with mild soap and carefully wipe it dry.

Cons: The handle might be a bit too thick and heavy for users with smaller hands.

Bottom Line: This is a very sharp boning knife, so be careful! If you are, you’ll enjoy its ability to cut through just about anything.


Best with Sheath

Viking Knives Black Forged Boning Knife

The dimpled texture of the blade and soft leather sheath make this knife beautiful and portable.

Pros: This knife’s beautiful design is only outshone by its quality materials and construction. The brown leather sheath is soft to the touch and ideal for protecting the blade when traveling. The curved blade is made from high carbon steel that has been sharpened and polished to a 16-degree edge. You will have ultimate control over this blade with its full tang handle and large finger hole. The 4.4-millimeter blade is corrosion- and wear-resistant, so you can use this blade for many meals to come. And this boning knife comes in a beautiful, giftable box.

Cons: Without proper maintenance, this high-carbon knife can begin to rust prematurely.

Bottom Line: This boning knife is sharp, sturdy, and designed to be well-balanced. The massive amount of carbon in the blade means you must keep it clean and dry and properly sharpened at all times to prevent rusting. The included sheath is also very nicely made and attractive.


Best Multipurpose

imarku German High Carbon Stainless Steel Boning Knife

Precisely separate meat from the bone with this ultra-sharp carbon stainless steel blade.

Pros: Create the perfect cut with the German steel and pakka wood boning knife. The handle is ergonomically designed and features a finger protection space to keep your hands safe and comfortable. The German carbon stainless steel blade gives you 6.8 inches of room to easily slice meat from the bone. The blade is only 2.3 millimeters thick and is sharpened to a 14- to 16-degree angle on each side for the sharpest cut. The balance between the smooth wood and precise blade makes this blade ideal for chefs of all skill levels.

Cons: The center of the blade is not as sharp as some others. The best thing to do is bust out your knife sharpener and give it a once-over when it arrives.

Bottom Line: The feel, the sharpness, and the overall design of this knife are superb. It’s well-balanced and nice to look at. Overall, this knife is an excellent value.


Best Budget

Mercer Culinary 6-Inch Curved Boning Knife

This colorful boning knife has a nonslip grip, so it's safe and easy to use.

Pros: This knife is crafted with one piece of high-quality, high-carbon Japanese steel for easy maintenance and lasting sharpness. And its attractive, ergonomic handle is available in a variety of fun colors but is also comfortable, built for safety, and perfectly balanced. If you choose, you can purchase several of these knives for a food-safe, color-coded collection (blue for seafood, red for red meat, yellow for poultry, etc.). This knife is ideal for cutting just about any meat quickly and precisely. It’s easy to clean with mild soap and a clean cloth.

Cons: If you use this knife often, you’ll need to sharpen it often.

Bottom Line: For a less expensive boning knife that stands tall beside its more expensive competitors, this is a great find. The color-coded handles are great for aspiring chefs. It’s also well-balanced and easy for most people to grip.


Also Great

KastKing Fillet Knife and Bait Knife

Razor sharp and precise, this boning knife features a German stainless steel blade and a beautiful black finish.

Pros: Perfect for the avid outdoorsperson, this razor-sharp Germain stainless steel boning knife works beautifully as a fishing fillet knife. It will maintain its edge when cutting red meat, poultry, or game, too. It has a comfortable and slip-resistant polymer grip for your safety and comfort. This knife is also easy to clean and maintain. And it comes with a lightweight and durable protective sheath for safety.

Cons: Given the quality of the knife, some buyers were disappointed in the quality of the sheath.

Bottom Line: This is a solid boning knife for fishers and hunters. It has a well-balanced handle, and the black finish looks great but also helps you find and clean up messes more efficiently.

Final Thoughts

Every chef and angler needs a good boning knife for the most precise cuts on meat and fish. Our top picks are solid options for cutting close to the bone.

Camryn Lang Camryn Lang
Camryn Lang is a freelance writer and copyeditor that has produced a wide variety of content, from breaking news and memorial tributes to web content and fiction novels. While working on her bachelor's degree in English at Texas A&M University, Camryn led writers and editors at the nationally recognized university newspaper, The Battalion. During her free time, she enjoys reading thrillers and fantasy novels and eating desserts. Read Full Bio »
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