A boning knife can easily cut through meat, and the best boning knife is made of high carbon steel with an extremely sharp blade to help you yield the most of what you’re cutting, although some will prefer stainless steel options for their easier maintenance. To find the right knife for you, keep the following tips in mind when shopping.
Boning knives usually have a straight blade with a sharp tip for cutting through the skin of tougher meat or separating cartilage from the bone; those with a blade that curves upwards can also be used as a fillet knife for poultry or fish. The long, thinner blade of a boning knife typically measures between 5 and 7 inches, though you’ll want to look for one that is at least 6 inches to give you the ability to tackle a range of cuts. A boning knife is semi-flexible, though sometimes models are stiffer for taking meat off the bone. Look for a more flexible blade on a boning knife if you need to maneuver into tight spots.
The best material for boning knives is high carbon steel, which is very durable and maintains a sharper edge for longer. Despite the fact that this blade material has superior edge retention, it does require more careful cleaning to avoid rust. For those who don’t want the high maintenance of carbon, a quality stainless steel blade is a reliable alternative because it is durable and easy to clean.
All of the knives below are highly rated on Amazon. Some of the knives also bear approval from NSF International, so you know they’re independently tested to a strict public health and safety standard.
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1. The Overall Best Boning Knife
This overall high-quality boning knife is made of high carbon Japanese steel for a seriously sharp blade. The 6.5-inch blade is semi-flexible and slightly curved, so it can bone beef and pork but also fillet fish, poultry, and wild game. Dalstrong is a well established and respected brand that uses a high-tech process called Cryo-tempering to create an even more durable blade that stands the test of time.
Cutting into meat with this knife is also made more seamless thanks to hollow divots in the blade that reduce dragging and friction on the meat. The handle is designed in a Japanese D-shape and made of pakkawood, a composite of engineered wood and plastic that looks like wood but is basically waterproof and resists warping.
This highly rated knife also comes with a sheath for storage that protects the blade and your fingers.
A helpful review: “Very glad to have made this purchase. […] The blade has a nice stiff flex feel which lends itself very well to its purpose. Boning a whole chicken, and filleting a full length fish both felt very comfortable and controllable as should be the case with a quality knife. I am very pleased to find the quality comparable to some of the more expensive brands of kitchen knives, at the price point more affordable to the every day person.”
2. The Best On A Budget
This cult favorite with a 4.8-star Amazon rating and over 9,000 reviews is also an affordable boning knife for under $20. The 6-inch blade is stiff and slightly curved, which makes it excellent at removing tougher meat and poultry from bones, as well as filleting meat and fish. It’s made of high-carbon, stain-resistant Japanese steel.
The handle is made of a polypropylene blend for a sturdy grip. Plus, this knife is NSF-certified. One reviewer said this pick makes “meat prep or really any prep a breeze.”
A helpful review: “I purchased this knife for preparing and trimming meats prior to smoking them. The cushioned, non-slip handle is very comfortable in my hands and the curved, sharp blade makes easy work of trimming and de-boning meats. We used this knife during a recent competition and it was frequently sought out by our team to use in prepping chicken thighs, brisket and pork shoulder. I didn’t need to hone it once during the four days of use.”
3. The Easiest To Maintain
The best boning knife for you may be this one made of especially low-maintenance stainless steel that won’t rust or stain as easily as other metals. Its 6-inch, semi-flexible blade is straight and suited to boning medium and thicker cuts of meat. Its design relies on the same technology used to create Swiss army knives, so you can feel secure that you’re purchasing a sturdy knife that will last.
This NSF-certified knife is also highly rated with more than 3,000 reviews and it has a sturdy non-slip synthetic handle.
A helpful review: “There are many things about this knife that make it effective, useful, and worthy of buying … The blade arrived in perfect condition and has not rusted since despite being put away wet. Out of the package, this knife was sharp, not sharp enough to shave with, but sharp enough to easily cut meat and other food. This knife has stayed sharp enough (though it is honed before most uses) in the 6 months I have owned it.”
Nice To Have: A Glove To Protect From Cuts
Boning knives can be especially sharp. Protect your fingers while you work with this pair of cut-resistant gloves. They’re made of a blend of lightweight, comfortable, and cut-resistant materials like polyethylene, glass fibre, and spandex and are four times strong than leather. They were even awarded EN388 level 5 cut resistance, which passes European standards as the highest anti-cut resistance. They’re highly rated with over 14,000 reviews and come in sizes small to extra large.
These gloves will protect your hands when cutting with a knife, and they’re also useful when handling mandolines or other sharp tools.
A helpful review: “I bought the gloves because I had two nasty cuts in quick succession from a cheese grater. Anyone who has had injuries to their fingers know how difficult it is to continue to do every day activities and meal preparation, while still protecting your wound. I received the gloves quickly after my order and pressed them into use immediately that evening. I am most impressed. My fingers/hands were protected from my very sharp grater and knife while I prepared dinner.”