The 4 Best Oyster Knives

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Woman opening raw oyster with knife, closeup

If the thought of shucking an oyster intimidates you, you’re not alone. Anything that requires using a blade to pry open a clamped shell (sometimes with wet hands), can make for a potentially dangerous situation. Like many jobs, though, having the right tool can make all the difference. The best oyster knives are designed to make it as easy as possible for you to safely shuck fresh oysters at home — or wherever you want to enjoy them! Oyster knives come in a variety of styles, so here are some pointers to help you find the one that works best for you.

First and foremost, your oyster knife should have a comfortable, ergonomic handle that you can grip securely, preferably with a thumb rest. Working with fresh shellfish can be a slippery job, so having control is paramount to protecting the hand that holds the shell. Some oyster knives come in kits that include safety gloves, and though using these is a matter of preference, it’s generally a good idea to use a towel or cloth to hold the oyster in case your knife slips.

The blade of your knife should be constructed from stainless steel, and shorter is generally better than longer to ensure the most balance and control. Avoid knives with thin blades, even if they appear to be sharper, because they can snap under pressure.

With a little patience, practice, and one of the best oyster knives below, you’ll soon be a pro at shucking fresh oysters!

1. The Best Oyster Knife

OXO’s Good Grips line of tools has a soft, rubberized texture that’s nonslip, even when held by wet hands. The handle of their oyster knife tapers near the base of the blade, so your thumb has a secure spot to grip when shucking. The blade’s tip is bent slightly to provide leverage when maneuvering into tight oyster hinges, and a beveled edge allows you to easily detach the oyster meat from inside the shell. Best yet, the OXO is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.

According to one reviewer: "I open a few hundred oysters a day and these are my favorite knives to date. I'm always looking for new ones and have owned most all available. Great oyster knife."

2. The Runner-Up

The subtle texture on the handle of this oyster knife from Dexter-Russell offers a slip-proof surface, giving your hand a safe grip. Rather than traditional stainless steel, the blade is constructed from a proprietary steel blend of high carbon, high alloy and stainless DEXSTEEL. A slight bend at the tip of the blade makes it easy to split open an oyster’s hinge. This knife should be washed by hand and thoroughly dried before storing to prevent corrosion.

According to one reviewer: "Expensive but should last a lifetime, even in commercial use. Been using these for years as a professional chef, have never broken one even in the most stubborn oyster shell. [...] This is the one."

3. The Splurge: An Oyster Knife Designed For Professionals

Toadfish’s durable, ergonomic oyster knife was designed for shucking by professional oystermen and restaurant workers. The ergonomic handle of the knife has an indented thumb rest as well as a finger anchor on the underside for extra stability and safety when shucking with wet hands. The high-carbon steel blade is forged (meaning it runs through to the back of the handle) and has a slightly pointed pivot tip to slip between hinges and remove oyster meat cleanly. And one more thing to love? As part of Toadfish’s commitment to habitat restoration projects, the company donates 10 square feet of new oyster habitat for each knife sold.

According to one reviewer: "Great oyster knife. By far the best I have ever used. I don't work in a restaurant, but my wife is an oyster addict, so I need this in my life. The thickness and design allow me open even the most stubborn oysters without destroying the shell around the hinge. It holds up much better than any other oyster tool I have used."

4. The Best Value: An Oyster Knife And Glove Set For $13

If you’re a little nervous about shucking oysters at home, this affordable kit includes an ergonomic knife as well as two gloves made from cut-resistant mesh for safety. The gloves come in three sizes to ensure a snug fit, and they can be used for other kitchen tasks, including using a mandoline or sharp shears. The knife blade is made from stainless steel with two tapered edges, and the handle has a textured surface so that it’s easy to grip, even when wearing the protective gloves. Given the impressive price and everything included, this oyster knife kit is the best deal on this list.

According to one reviewer: "This oyster shucking knife truly works. I'd previously tried everything I had at home knives, screwdrivers with rather poor results. I found it hard to believe that a shucking knife was the answer - well it was. Still tough but watched a few YouTube videos and I was shucking in no time. The gloves are a great addition and the price was exceptional for this kit! I Highly recommend buying this set!"