Fillet knives are designed to remove bones and skin from more tender meat like fish or chicken, although some can handle thicker meats. No matter what you're prepping in the kitchen, the
best fillet knife will be made of high carbon steel or high carbon stainless steel. With that said, some chefs prefer other materials for being less maintenance. Here are a few details to keep in mind when shopping to find the best knife for your kitchen needs. Blades
blade on a fillet knife can be as small as 4 inches or as long as 9 inches; a blade that falls somewhere in the middle is appropriate for most uses, though a smaller knife is more delicate and precise for smaller fish. All fillet knives are more flexible than your standard chef’s knife or boning knife, with a thinner blade which allows for exact cutting and skinning on tender meat; blades on smaller fillet knives tend to be even more flexible. A semi-stiff blade may be preferred if you’re also using your knife to work with tougher cuts of meat. Some fillet knives curve upward, which is helpful for remaining steady while making longer cuts. Materials
stainless steel blade is most common for its durability and being easy to sharpen, though for the sharpest edge, look for a carbon steel blade. Professional chefs love carbon steel for being razor sharp for precision cutting. It should be noted, however, that carbon steel requires careful cleaning to avoid rust. A high carbon stainless steel blade offers the best of both worlds. This hybrid material is extremely durable and maintains its sharpness, but is also better at resisting stains than carbon steel.
With all this in mind, below are the
best fillet knives to add to your knife collection. They're all highly rated on Amazon, and some picks are even NSF-certified, meaning the product has been made to the strict public health standards of an independent organization. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
The Best Fillet Knife For Salmon
This cult favorite with a 4.8-star rating and more than 9,000 reviews is the
best fillet knife for salmon, but it's also a great overall pick, with reviewers noting they used it for everything from cutting bread to creating thin slices of ahi tuna. Reviewers rave about how this knife "glides easily" across salmon bones and can cut "paper-thin" cuts of smoked salmon that mimic the perfect slices you'll see in cookbooks.
The straight, flexible blade is 8 inches long and made of one solid piece of Japanese high carbon steel that is razor sharp and resists staining. The ergonomic handle provides a secure hold with its blend of Santoprene, a rubber-like material for grip and comfort, and polypropylene. Plus, it's NSF-certified.
A helpful review: “Great knife [...] I live in Alaska and this knife will cut through up to a hundred salmon a summer. No problems except that it should have came with a sheath but no biggie, it's a good knife all in all, a definite must for anyone who subsists on salmon.”
The Best Fillet Knife For Meat
fillet knife for meat is ideal for delicate and thick cuts of meat with its 6-inch curved and semi-stiff high carbon steel blade. While it's labeled as a "boning" knife, this pick has several qualities — including a thinner blade — that make it a trusted pick to remove both bones and skin. True to its name, the stainless steel blade relies on the same trusted technology as sturdy and durable Swiss Army knives and is held with a non-slip, synthetic handle that's also ergonomic. It's a highly rated pick with more than 3,000 reviews and it's NSF-certified. A helpful review: "The ideal user for this knife is anyone wanting to cut food, and especially meat. It is for someone who needs a solid, somewhat flexible, knife that can take some abuse in the kitchen and won’t break the bank. You will find that you use this knife to trim beef or cut up chicken and it will make quick and efficient work of both tasks."
The Best Japanese Fillet Knife For Sashimi And Sushi
Japanese fillet knife was designed to carve the thin slices characteristic of sushi and sashimi. Its stainless steel blade has a high carbon content, making it sharp and less likely to stain, and it measures 8.25 inches long. The blade is sharpened at an angle that creates sharper cuts in a smoother motion. The handle is made of polypropylene, a type of plastic that is less slippery than wood. Although it is not NSF-certified, this knife is highly rated with nearly 1,000 reviews, and shoppers commented they are pleasantly surprised by this knife's quality and price point.
This knife carries quite the pedigree, too. It is manufactured in Seki City, otherwise known as Japan's knife-making capital.
A helpful review: “Fantastic sushi knife for the money. Sharpens relatively easily and maintains a good edge.”
The Best Fillet Knife For Larger Fish
Dexter-Russell is a big name in cutlery — the company has been manufacturing knives in the United States since the 1800s — and they make the
best fillet knife for larger fish. The 9-inch blade is made of high carbon stainless steel and is held with a beechwood handle. The brand is a favorite of those working on commercial and charter boats, or anyone working with saltwater fish. One deckhand commented they have "used this model for years on the fillet table." A helpful review: "After six months of use this knife is still sharp. We have cleaned [hundreds] of fish with this knife this year and I have not had to sharpened it yet. The 9" blade makes filleting larger Catfish a lot easier. My fishing buddies all love this knife and the only complaint was that it was too sharp."
The Best Electric Fillet Knife
A knife that takes some of the work out of filleting may be especially appealing if you're working with a high volume of meat or fish or simply want the knife to do more of the work. This
electric fillet knife comes with a 7.5-inch stainless steel blade and, unlike most fillet knife blades, is dishwasher safe. You can even switch the blade out for different sizes (replacement blades like this 6-inch blade can be purchased separately). The plastic handle is designed for an ergonomic hold. This is an excellent knife for cutting through the rib bones and backbones of bigger fish like walleye and trout.
You'll be able to move around with an 8-foot power cord and fillet quickly with a heavy-duty motor that puts out "three times the power" of other electric knives, according to the manufacturer, but keep in mind this knife has a learning curve and requires being near a power outlet. As powerful as it is, reviewers say this knife works pretty quietly.
A helpful review: “This is a monster electric fillet knife, and definitely the best model that Rapala has to offer. The motor is POWERFUL and doesn't get hot after continuous use, the blades move very fast, the handle is large and ergonomic, the power cord is plenty long, and there is even a safety button to prevent accidents. This is one of the best electric fish knives that's not something made for commercial use, and you can get additional size blades for it. Highly recommend!”