Paring knives may be taken for granted, but they have a lot of uses as a utility knife, whether you are a serious chef or just trying to fix a meal for yourself.
The best paring knife is one of the main kitchen knives you will use because of the many things you can do with it. You need one that is capable, but simple enough to be used whether you are peeling, mincing, timing, or hulling.
The Kai Wasabi Black Paring Knife, the four-inch one, is the best one we have found. It is light but still strong enough to handle a job. It has a sharp blade that stays sharp, and a handle that feels good in your hand.
It is just the right size and could be a knife you find yourself going to, again and again, because it is just handy to use.
Finding the best paring knife is a matter of balance. Find that sweet spot that is not too heavy and not too light, that is just right.
Keep reading to learn why the Kai Wasabi Black Paring Knife is the best paring knife, as well as how we came to that conclusion.
7 Top Paring Knives: Our Picks & Recommendations
- Best Overall: Kai Wasabi Black Paring Knife, 4-Inch
- Best Budget Knife: Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Paring Knife
- Best Paring Knife Set: Wusthof Classic 3 Piece Paring Knife Set
- Best Japanese Paring Knife: Zelite Infinity 4-Inch Knife
- Best Serrated Paring Knife: Zyliss Control Serrated Paring Knife
- Best Curved Paring Knife: Dalstron Paring Tourne Knife Peeler
- Best Ceramic Paring Knife: Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution 3-Inch Paring Knife
Features of A Good Paring Knife
Good feeling handle
The paring knife is for detailed work, so you need one that will feel good in your hand. This is true whether you are among culinary professionals, culinary amateurs or anyone in between.
A utility knife that feels good may be the most important considerations as control is what you are after with this kind of knife. What it is made of is a matter of personal taste, but it does need to have a good grip and needs to fit well in your hand.
The blade must be small enough for detail, but still strong enough to not break or bend easily. This is a balance that is hard to find, but the best paring knife has found this balance.
It must handle peeling, mincing, trimming, or hulling with equal ease.
Paring knives notoriously get dull fast, but there are some that hold the edge a little longer. Kitchen knives that stay sharp awhile are worth any extra cost. Higher quality metal usually results in a knife that will hold its edge longer.
The back side
The spine or the opposite side of the edge is also important. A thicker backside feels duller because you have to pull more knife through what you are cutting. At the same time, you want enough of a spine to give the blade some strength.
The end of the blade needs to be sharp because of precise cuts you will be making with the best paring knife. A rounded end may look cool, but it cannot be as sharp as a pointed edge.
The sharper the tip the better because it gives you more control.
This will be a personal preference, but the more expensive knives should by hand washed only. A less expensive one can be put in the dishwasher. If you want a less delicate blade you can go the cheaper route, even if it means sacrificing utility to some degree.
How to Choose The Best Paring Knife
There is a lot of variety, and kitchen knives range from just less than $10 to as much as $50 or more. Usually, you get what you pay for, but the most expensive is not always the best for you in your search for a utility knife.
Some people would rather invest in the best that will last. Other people don’t mind replacing cheaper ones often.
This is very subjective, but peeling, mincing, trimming, hulling are all detailed work so you need a handle that feels good in your hand. What feels good to you may not feel good to someone else.
A handle that fits good and is easy to handle is what you need in the best paring knife.
Finding the balance
Some of it is personal taste and what kind of cooking you will be doing. Look for a knife that fits your style as you look for one that feels good.
A sharp blade with a light handle gives you the most control, but maybe not as much cutting power.
Fits the job
A smaller blade is best for detailed work like peeling, trimming, or cleaning. Mincing also requires a smaller blade. A larger (relatively speaking) blade is better for marking or segmenting things like fruit.
You may want a couple paring knives for different jobs, or find one that finds the right balance between the two.
You may choose to go the cheaper route, but you still need a knife that has basic quality. You don’t want a knife that will separate from the handle easily. Make sure it is well-made and has a good quality of finish.
There are slightly different shapes of blades to watch for. One is called a bird’s beak because it is similar to a cycle. This one is best for peeling or trimming.
The classic has more of a straight-forward tip and is the most versatile. Another one is a flatter blade and has a rounded spine at the back, which is best for any light carving you might want to do.
7 Best Paring Knife Reviews
Best overall: Kai Wasabi Black Paring Knife, 4-inch
What you will love: This utility knife seeks the perfect balance to your food preparation needs and does a good job of finding the sweet spot of cutting excellence. It is light enough to feel good and just heavy enough to let you cut what you need to cut with precision control.
Eastern and Western Style knives are different, and Wasabi tries to bring you the best of both worlds with this paring knife. This is why culinary professionals, culinary amateurs both like this one.
Single bevel blades are best when precision is wanted, while double-bevel blades offer more versatility.
It is made after the tradition of Japanese style knives that are great for coring fruit, peeling, and detail works on vegetables. It is made of
This gives it a good edge that will not dull quickly. Blades are bead-blasted, which is attractive as well as making it stronger. The handle is made of polypropylene, so it is sturdy and light. It is sharpened on one side is useful to know when you want to sharpen it again.
The four-inch blade is just the right size, and its shape is perfect for peeling or coring. It will make you feel like a chef regardless of your experience level.
The blades are sharpened on only one side, which reduces the problem of food sticking. For most cooks, it will not matter, but the single side sharpening is designed for right-handed people, but most left-handed people can use it without a problem.
The handle is made of polypropylene, mixed with bamboo powder and an antibacterial agent, so you get high quality along with clean food preparation. The blade itself is traditional looking, and the handle is more modern looking.
This is a high-level knife that requires some care. It is stainless steel, but it can still get spots or even rust if allowed to get wet and stay wet. Wash by hand and then dry immediately with a towel. A light coating of food-grade oil is recommended as well.
- Very high-quality knife made of great materials
- Holds its sharpness well.
- Great for coring and peeling, and does a good job with detail work as well.
- Point not as sharp as some might want
- Very high quality but requires some extra care
- Needs to be sharpened out of the box
Best Budget Knife: Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Paring Knife
Why you will love it: This is a budget utility knife, and that is a great positive. It is also a pretty good knife you can count on, so while it is nice to the budget it is not a “cheap” product. Kitchen knives like this are ergonomically designed knife that feels good in your hand. It has a nice grip so it won’t slip out of your hand, and it is durable. Keeping with its budget-friendly tone.
This is a nice low-maintenance knife you may use a long time, and it being at a fairly low cost is a bonus. Even though it is stainless
This knife is a 3.5-inch blade that will give you even more control, making it a good one if you want to do intricate carvings and precise cutting.
Even with wet hands, this knife will not slip out of your hands. It does well in both hot and cold environments, and won’t break down when exposed to water or other oils.
Its short blade makes it stronger too, so it will hold up no matter how much you use it. The shorter blade, in balance with the handle, gives you outstanding control and precision whether you are peeling an apple or carving a strawberry.
It has a small bolster between the blade and
It is made if high-carbon German cutlery stainless steel, which is what much more expensive knives are made of. It will not rust even if left wet for a little while.
A tapered edge makes for added stability, This makes it easy to sharpen, and it will hold its edge a long time. This small knife is great for peeling, mincing, trimming, hulling and many other jobs.
- Made of German stainless steel
- Soft handle easy to hold on to
- Lower cost than many kitchen knives
- The warranty has some limits
- Too heavy, not as easy to use as some
- Does not hold sharpness as long as some would like
- Get this knife on Amazon at a good price.
Best Paring knife set: Wusthof Classic 3 Piece Paring knife set
Why you will love it: The paring knife has a lot of uses, and with this set of three there will be no task you could do that you do not have a paring knife to use. It includes a four-inch extra-wide knife, a 3.5-inch standard paring knife, and a 3.5-inch one with a serrated edge. The set is not cheap, but it is of good quality and you will always be ready no matter the job.
This is a set of three paring knives, which should cover anything you might need to do in the kitchen.
This could rival a chef’s knife which has a reputation of being a do-it-all tool. Wustof has a strong reputation in the knife making world, and this combines the best paring knives they make.
Wusthof has been making knives for 200 years, so you are getting a product made by people who know it inside and out.
The handle is triple riveted for a sure grip and has a full tang blade. It is of traditional style composition, so there are generations of expertise involved in creating this knife.
It is made in Solingen, Germany, which is where the best knives in the world are made. It has a prestigious name, which will impress your cooking friends, but it also has the functionality you need.
Each knife is forged from one piece of steel. It is made of high carbon alloy to give it an edge that will last. It has a weighted bolster which adds to the balance and that is something unique to this company.
These are knives you will use every day. The higher flat-top blade gives you more room for chopping and provides greater leverage. it is ideal for someone who cooks a lot and needs a paring knife often.
The smaller standard knife is great for slicing, peeling or mincing. The serrated blade allows for ease of peeling fruits and vegetables.
- Three kinds of blades make options unlimited
- Very high-quality craftsmanship
- Sturdy, holds sharpness
- Expensive for a paring knife
- Knives are very sharp. Must be used carefully
- Handles feel good but do not fit every hand
Best Japanese Paring Knife: Zelite Infinity 4-inch knife
Why you will love it: This knife is near the top end of knives and is part of the Alpha Royal Series. It is made of the best quality Japanese AUS 10 super steel. It is layered high carbon stainless steel. This knife feels like quality in your hand, it feels first class and does a first class job. You may think the extra cost worth it.
This knife looks very good with the name embed into the blade and a logo on the black handle. It starts there but continues with outstanding performance.
Paring knives are made to be versatile, and this one is versatile even for a paring knife. It is made of strong steel, and with its sharp edge, you will be able to cut through anything with ease.
It is one piece, meaning it has a full-length tang, which makes it very strong.
The strong Japanese steel makes this knife one that can also be used as a skinner. The 67-layer stainless steel is stain resistant and will not stick to whatever you are cutting.
It as a sharp curved edge for precise control and the sharp edges will stay sharp for a long time.
The blade is built to be impressive, but it does not stop there. The handle is made of an ergonomic non-slip material that makes it easy to use even when your hands are wet.
It has a tapered bolster, which is unique, and that adds to the balance giving you even more precise control. It is made for those small jobs in the kitchen that are still important, like coring, chopping, mincing, garnishing, or trimming vegetables.
This sturdy knife also has a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
It weighs eight ounces and is sturdily made. It is a lot heavier than many Japanese knives, so if you like feeling the weight of the knife you will love this one.
You will still feel like you have the precision control you want if you are doing work that requires a lot of precise detail. It is almost eight inches long, including the handle and bolster, so it should fit your hand well regardless of the size of your hand.
- Top quality, feels like quality in your hand
- Heavier than many paring knives
- Comes very sharp
- If you prefer a light knife, this one may not feel good
- It is not a cheap knife.
- Made in China, which some say is misleading
Get a good deal on this knife from Amazon
Related: Best Japanese Knives
Best Serrated Paring Knife: Zyliss Control Serrated Paring Knife
Why you will love it: This is a professional grade kitchen knife made of the best German steel.
It’s 4.5-inch long blade will deftly take care of any job you can throw in its direction. This knife has the quality down, and it is a very user-friendly tool for your kitchen.
The serrated paring knife gives you great control over cutting and slicing tomatoes, vegetables of any kind, and even bread. The serrated edge makes this utility knife even more versatile, while still retaining the things you want in a paring knife.
Sometimes that serrated edge adds to your slicing ability and it is very rare that it will hamper your cutting with a standard type blade.
It has a safety touch point on top of the blade, reducing the chances of getting a cut while peeling.
The safety factor also allows you to use the knife while holding what you are cutting if you need to avoid the cutting board. Sometimes people like to hold a fruit or vegetable they are trimming, or cutting an image into.
The handle has anti-bacterial protection, and the contoured handle is good for all sizes of hands. It is made of high-quality German steel, and is rust resistant and tarnish avoiding.
It can be made razor sharp and the steel will hold its edge. It is a mid-priced knife but with the German materials and technology, it may feel like a more expensive knife in your hand.
The blade is five inches long, and with a bolster and a four-inch handle, is about 10 inches long.
It is just over three ounces, so light enough to be handled with a lot of precision, but with enough weight to make you feel like you have a real knife in your hand. Overall it is a very nice knife, and the serrated edge just adds to the possibilities you have to work with.
- Serrated edge gives even more flexibility
- Not the cheapest but still budget friendly
- Made of high quality German steel
- Can be made very sharp, but does not hold its edge
- Blade is a little tall for some tastes
- Rubber on part of the handle is not comfortable
Best curved paring knife: Dalstron Paring Tourne Knife Peeler
Why you will love it: With its bird’s beak, or curved blade, you will be able to peel anything with precision and ease. It is great also for fluting mushrooms or cutting decorations into fruits or veggies.
Add some art to your cooking with this knife. Still, the curved blade is for peeling. If you have a lot of potatoes to peel, for instance, this knife will help you get through the task with ease and you wont get too tired.
This Dalstrom Paring Knife offers a lot of flexibility. It has an impressive attractive design and is made of high-quality materials.
The curved blade makes peeling easy and gives you the precision you want in a fine small knife. This knife has a full-tang and made of high-carbon German steel. It has a polished edge, sharpened to 16 degrees on both sides.
The handle is made of Pakkawood an is triple riveted for a sure grip. The handle is also treated with anti-bacterial materials adding to its safety.
The handle is dark like a standard knife, but the different materials give it a unique look and feel. This Dalstrom knife is very functional, but it is also very user-friendly. It is easy to use and comfortable to most hands.
- Precision forged from a single piece
- Edge is hand sharpened
- Strong steel holds its sharpness
- The curved blade is not for everyone
- Comes with a lot of extras that seem meaningless
- The handle is a little big
Best Ceramic Paring Knife: Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution 3-inch paring knife
Why you will love it: Ceramic knives are a different kind of knife that can be even more flexible than a traditional steel knife. It is immune to rust, staining, acids or about anything else.
It can keep its sharpness longer than a traditional knife and is easier to clean as well.
As the name implies a ceramic knife is made of a ceramic material. It is immune to acids so it is better for cutting citrus fruit. It can also keep its sharp edge longer, and that makes it better for precision cuts to softer materials like vegetables.
The Kyocea version has a 3-inch long ceramic blade, with a distinct resin coated handle. It is ground to precision by using a microscope and computer robot technology. It is sharpened by diamond wheels, so it is very sharp and holds that sharpness.
It will never rust, even if you leave it out wet overnight. It is very light and extremely well-balanced. It is made of one piece, and the handle is ergonomic in design.
Even though it is made of a material that will not rust, hand washing is still recommended.
This knife is available with different colored handles, so you can make it match your decor easily. You will need the Kyocea knife sharpener to keep this blade sharp.
It is made for home use, but capable of professional usage. The light weight helps with repetitive type tasks like slicing and dicing. It has a beveled blade that is sharpened on both sides, which allows you to make very thin slices of fruit or vegetable.
This company has been making ceramic knives since 1984. The company says its proprietary formula allows it to make ceramic material that will hold its edge longer than any other ceramic knife.
This knife is 7.3-inches long and weighs just under three ounces. It is extremely precise, making it ideal for when you want to carve vegetables or fruit with intricate designs. It has a sharp point that is also helpful when precision counts.
- Can be very sharp, and stays sharp
- Can be very precise with cutting
- Can cut soft items
- Requires a special sharpener you must buy separately
- The tip can break off fairly easily
- Purists may not like a non-steel knife
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