A carving knife, though most often reached for during the holidays, makes slicing into any big roast pretty effortless, making it a worthy investment to round out your kitchen arsenal. The best carving knife will have a narrow blade made of high carbon stainless steel that’s long enough to carve larger roasts. Depending on your budget and carving needs, there are a few great options here.
In terms of blade material, high carbon stainless steel is a wise blade choice for its ability to maintain a sharp edge without rusting. Blade length is also an important factor since carving knives are used to slice into large cuts of meat; look for at least a 9-inch blade. Serrated blades tend to shred or tear meat, so it’s best to avoid them for a carving knife. However, a blade with divots along the blade reduces friction so it’s even easier to cut thick or thin slices.
When debating between a wood or synthetic handle, know that a synthetic knife handle provides a good grip and is durable for safely slicing with these long knives, whereas wood handles can be porous, absorb moisture, and be more difficult to keep clean. A full tang blade extends through the handle, which creates more balance and adds durability. That said, a partial tang blade will be more affordable and may be good enough if you use the knife just once or twice a year.
With all this in mind, here are the three best carving knives. Each of my picks is highly rated on Amazon, including an under-$40 knife with over 3,000 reviews.
1. The Overall Best Carving Knife
Though this is the priciest pick on the list, this carving knife is an investment piece that will stand the test of time. Made of high carbon stainless steel forged from a single block, the knife is designed to have a sharper blade with better edge retention than older models. Serious Eats likes this carving knife best in part for its ultra-sharp yet flexible blade and comfortable handle, making it easier to maneuver around bones.
The 9-inch blade doesn't come with divots, but it is full tang and the knife's synthetic handle is made from easy-to-grip polypropylene. Many reviewers commented that this knife outperformed the electric carving knives they previously used during the holidays.
A helpful review: “This knife serves my needs when slicing large hams, roasts and other pieces of meat. It is large enough to do the job on a watermelon and still fits easily in my Wusthof knife block. Wusthof knives are classic — sturdy, well made, retain their edge and easy to hone or sharpen. A wonderful knife with a myriad of uses, I am happy with this new addition to my other Wusthof knives.”
2. A More Affordable Carving Knife With A Cult Following
This knife's incredible value has made it a cult favorite with a 4.8 rating and over 3,000 reviews. This affordable carving knife has a 10-inch blade forged of high carbon stainless steel without divots. It's a full tang blade with a synthetic handle and reviewers say it boasts a comfortable, ergonomic grip. This one has the added benefit of being NSF certified, which means it must meet standards that ensure its materials are high quality.
A helpful review: “This is a top quality knife in all respects. High quality materials, construction, and finish. It's a pretty knife and just exudes quality. Nicely balanced and easy to grip. The performance matches the looks. I put it through its first paces slicing some baby backs...it went through them like butter. It's the sharpest knife I have ever owned. With proper care I expect it to last many years. Would buy again.”
3. The Best Carving Knife For Turkey Or Brisket
This carving knife for turkey or brisket has the longest blade on this list at 12 inches. Any of these carving knives are suitable for slicing into turkey or brisket, but the extra length and divots on this blade make it especially smooth and allow you to cut thinner slices. The long blade is made of high carbon stainless steel and it has a synthetic handle; the partial tang of the blade keeps this long knife affordable, but keep in mind it lacks the luxurious weight of a full tang knife.
This highly rated carving knife has more than 1,800 reviews, including more than 100 specifically touting its performance with brisket, including two reviewers who commented that it “cuts a brisket in half with little to no effort” and it “performed flawlessly on our first brisket.”
A helpful review: “Love this knife. Looks great and makes mince meat out of a brisket. I also use it for cutting ribs and slicing up Thanksgiving turkey. Very sharp and cuts them like butter. When you bring this bad boy out of its drawer people know you mean business. [...]”