The 7 Best Paring Knives for 2023, Tested and Reviewed

You'll reach for this indispensable kitchen tool to do just about every small task.

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Zyliss Paring Knife with Sheath Cover

Food & Wine / Prairie Rose Free

Every home cook knows that a solid chef's knife is essential, but paring knives are an often-overlooked tool that can help streamline kitchen prep and optimize efficiency. Paring knives can peel vegetables, hull strawberries, minced garlic, and perform other small tasks.

“The paring knife is one of the only cuts we make that is not on the board. So we're not making contact with the cutting board with a paring knife,” says Michael Behn, knife expert and owner of Moshi Moshi Knives, which offers knife sharpening services in Atlanta and Denver. “Things you normally consider like steel hardness, geometry, and steel material don’t matter as much for a paring knife because the knife isn't touching the board.”  When shopping for a paring knife, Behn, who makes fun Instagram videos of himself testing knife sharpness, says he considers how he will use it and how it feels in hand. “A lot of us reach for a paring knife when we want to perform a quick task, but I think knives should inspire creativity. It shouldn't be just the tool — it should be something you pick up and feel like you're connecting to something.”

To find the best paring knife, we ran 25 popular paring knives through a series of tests to assess everything, including functionality, look and feel, durability, and brand promises.

Best Overall

Wusthof Classic Ikon Paring Knife

WÜSTHOF Classic IKON 3.5" Paring Knife


Pros: The knife feels sturdy enough to last for years and cuts precisely. 

Cons: During some tests, the knife took more effort to complete the cut, and minced pieces stuck to the surface.

The Wüsthof Classic Ikon Paring Knife was one of the best performers across our tests and criteria. Even though it is on the upper end of the knife price spectrum, one tester said, “ I trust the brand and expect the knife to live up to its reputation so that this knife would be an investment.” With sharpness and precision, the paring knife performed well in most of our tests. Testers also noted the blade felt indestructible and was effortless to use, whether mincing shallots or turning out orange segments. 

Price at time of publish: $115

  • Blade Length: 3.5 inches
  • Blade material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 2.5 ounces

Best Value

Misen Paring Knife

Misen Paring Knife


Pros: A long handle and sloped bolster make this knife particularly easy to maneuver.

Cons: The handle is slightly heavier than some of the others.

Our testers ranked the Misen paring knife as one of their favorites thanks to its sharp blade, easy-to-grip handle, and affordable price. The sloped bolster provides a place to rest your finger while peeling and makes for a comfortable pinch grip while dicing. Though the tip of the knife was the sharpest point, it glided effortlessly through our tester's paper slicing test, and the length of the blade made mincing shallots easy. Our testers did find that the handle was a bit heavier than the blade, but they agreed it was well-balanced and easy to maneuver. In terms of durability and care, the brand notes that this paring knife must be hand-washed to maintain its quality. “The lines of the knife are sleek and subtle and almost aerodynamic; it's like the supersonic jet of paring knives,” says F&W Executive Editor Karen Shimizu, “The streamlined curves helped this knife cut through thick slices of tomato without snagging.”

Price at time of publish: $35

  • Blade Length: 3.5 inches
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces

Best Splurge

Shun Cutlery Premier Grey 4-inch Paring Knife

Shun Cutlery Premier Grey 4-inch Paring Knife

Williams Sonoma

Pros: The blade boasts a hammered finish to reduce drag while slicing.

Cons: It's the most expensive knife we tested, and people with small hands may find it too big.

The Shun 4-inch paring knife is as elegant as it is functional. Consistently sharp from tip to belly, the blade has a hammered finish that helps reduce dragging and gives the knife a unique, eye-catching look. The sharp edge slipped through the paper with ease, and the dicing process was effortless and accurate dicing, which is the true goal of a great paring knife. The handle is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to maneuver, and our testers loved the squared-off heel between the blade and the handle, which allows you to rest your finger when peeling. The Shun blade is ideal for serious home cooks who don't mind investing in a more costly knife.

Price at time of publish: $135

  • Blade Length: 4 inches
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces

Best Set

Zyliss Comfort 2-Piece Paring Knife Set



Pros: These knives are comfortable and lightweight.

Cons: Though they are dishwasher safe, handwashing is recommended.

If you're looking for a pair of knives to add versatility and efficiency to your cutlery collection, this set from Zyliss is an excellent option. The set includes two ultra-sharp knives: one standard paring knife and one serrated paring knife. Both slid easily through paper and made easy work of mincing shallots. The teeth on the serrated knife are pointed, deep, and sharp, which makes slicing through things like bread and tomatoes a breeze. Thanks to the lightweight handle and rubberized non-slip grip, our testers loved the maneuverability of both knives.

Price at time of publish: $17

  • Blade Length: One 3.5-inch knife  and 4.5-inch knife
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 3.21 ounces

Best Full Tang

Made In Paring Knife

Made In Cookware 4-inch Full Tang Paring Knife

Made In

Pros: The paring knife handled each test well and is beautifully simple in its design.

Cons: The knives are sharp, and you need to exercise care not to cut your fingers during use.

Our testers loved that the Made In paring knife is authentically full tang, which means that the blade extends to the end of the handle, making it sturdy and more durable than others. However, the straight grip is less comfortable to hold than a contoured handle, which could make large cutting jobs more difficult. Be careful if you like to choke up on your knives for more precision — our testers found themselves catching their fingers on the blade throughout the testing process. Nevertheless, this knife performed well in our tests, and the blade's tip slid easily through the paper if snagging slightly. Our subsequent tests found that it cored a tomato and sliced through the skin of an orange with ease. For the price, this knife is a great option.

Price at time of publish: $69

  • Blade Length: 3.8 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 3.3 ounces

Best Japanese

Tojiro DP 3.5-Inch Paring Knife

Tojiro DP 3.5-inch Paring Knife


Pros: It is a sharp knife that feels and looks exceptionally well-made.

Cons: It is simple in its design, and you must be careful not to chip the blade.

The Tojiro DP paring knife feels like a steak knife when you hold it. It’s a nice size for a paring knife and has a slight weight, making it highly comfortable maneuvering the stiff blade during use. This elegant Japanese-made paring knife looks well-crafted and sturdy. The black composite handle has rivets for balance and design. Hand-washing is recommended to ensure this knife's rust-resistant stainless steel blade and riveted handle last. It had no problems precisely slicing, dicing, and chopping various fruits and vegetables. 

Price at time of publish: $60

  • Blade Length: 3.5 inches
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 2.12 ounces

Best for Gifting

Our Place Precise Paring Knife

Our Place Precise Paring Knife

Our Place

Pros: The modern design of the grip is not only chic but comfortable in hand.

Cons: The handle could feel a little short to some users with larger hands.

The Our Place Precise Paring knife looks fun with its more contemporary-looking handle with exposed tang. The handle is notable for many reasons like its comfort due to the indent or “steps,” which guide your grip for comfort and security. The slightly oversized handle is also rounded, which testers felt made it feel “bigger and more controllable in your hands.” The knife is not heavy but still feels durable. The blade is flexible, making it easy to guide through various applications without feeling flimsy. The Our Place paring knife also comes in many colors that match their other products if your kitchen is colorful.

Price at time of publish: $40

  • Blade Length: 4 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 2.72 ounces

Our Favorite

The Wüsthof Classic Ikon Paring Knife was the overall favorite among our testers due to its quality construction and top-notch performance.

More Paring Knives Our Editors Love

Ryusen Bonten Unryu 3 VG10 Damascus 105MM ($210 at Strata Portland)

We like this pick for a special gift for someone who would get great use out of a quality paring knife. Our editors see it as “a knife that doubles as a work of art.” It took on every task with ease and sliced cleanly, quickly, and without a single snag. Our tests found it had “terrific precision” and glides “like butter” through slicing tasks.

Masamoto Sohonten Molybdenum ($140 at Korin)

With a full-tang blade and rosewood handle, this knife is just the right size for slicing an orange. The heel catches slightly on some tasks, and it’s not the sharpest we’ve ever tested, but it’s great for slicing tomatoes and precision kitchen tasks. Our editors found it to be elegant, heirloom-quality, and great for a cheese board.

The Tests


To test the quality of each knife, we assessed size, shape, weight, sharpness, durability, and durability. To test sharpness, we used each knife to slice through a sheet of paper from top to bottom. A sharp knife should glide effortlessly through paper without snagging, and you shouldn't have to rock or see the blade back and forth.

To test weight, feel, and functionality, we used each knife to peel and mince shallots, a common task for which paring knives are often used. A good paring knife should have a sharp tip that easily slices through smaller fruits and vegetables, and it should be easy to grip with one hand when peeling the skins off things like onions and garlic.

Look and Feel

When shopping for a paring knife, weight, balance, and grip size are three main factors to consider. Our testers did this by peeling shallots off the cutting board to see how each knife felt mid-air. By peeling the shallots in-air, our testers were able to assess how easy the handles are to grip, how heavy they are and how comfortable or cumbersome they might feel over time. They then minced the shallots against the cutting board to determine how sharp and balanced each knife felt, from handle to tip. Our testers considered how heavy each handle felt as well as how the handle felt compared to the blade weight. Though some knives were heavier than others, our testers didn't necessarily see weight as a problem as long as the handle and blade felt balanced.

Durability and Brand Promise

We considered any brand promises or specific manufacturer instructions when assessing each knife. If a knife was labeled dishwasher-safe, our testers ran it through the dishwasher on five cycles, then repeated the paper test to determine if dishwashing affected how sharp the blade was. If a knife was not labeled dishwasher safe, our testers washed it by hand with soap and water between each use to determine if washing affected functionality.

Factors to Consider

Blade Length

Most paring knives come in blade lengths between three to four inches, and you will want a smaller blade to handle it efficiently if you have a smaller hand. Most paring knives fall in the middle at 3.5 inches, which is a good choice for most home kitchens. 

Blade Sharpness

When choosing the best paring knife, it's essential to consider how sharp the blade is, how easy it's to care for, and how comfortable it feels in your hand. Like a chef's knife, a paring knife should feel sturdy and balanced with a sharp blade that doesn't dull quickly. There should be ample space to grip, and the blade's tip should be sharp. Behn prefers carbon steel because it holds better edges than stainless steel. 


Since a paring knife is used for more detailed work, you want to ensure it fits snugly into your hand for optimal control. It would help if you considered the overall balance in your hand when shopping around to ensure it rests properly in the middle of your palm.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Why do I need a paring knife?

    Paring knives are more maneuverable for delicate tasks such as hulling strawberries or mincing garlic. They are also handy for any small job around the kitchen when a short blade is more appropriate than a chef’s knife.

  • How much should I spend on a paring knife?

    The good thing about paring knives is that they are incredibly affordable, with some on this list at $8. Since they are so inexpensive, replacing them when damaged is easy. However, if you are looking for an investment, there are plenty of spendy options in the $100 plus range. Spending a lot is unnecessary, but some high-end models will match your existing set if that’s important. Behn also recommends looking for local knife makers because they have great prices for the quality and often use local materials.

  • What types of paring knives are there?

    There are various styles of paring knives with straight and serrated blades. They are classic paring knives with spear-looking tip, a Sheep’s foot, which have a similar shape to a santoku blade, and the Bird's beak, which has a curved blade. The classic is the best bet for most home kitchens.

  • How do you sharpen and care for a paring knife?

    Behn says, “You can flip a coffee mug over and run a couple of times exposed ceramic. It only works for carbon steel, but that's a good trick. You can refresh the edge very quickly.” Otherwise, you can use your preferred sharpening method while avoiding these common mistakes or employ the services of a professional. The knife expert likes to say, “the world's cheapest knife with a sharp edge is better than the most expensive knife with a dull one.”

What Didn’t Make the List

Strong Contenders

Kuhn Rikon 3.5-inch Knife ($12 at Amazon)

This knife is comfortable to hold, and the blade and handle are well-balanced. Our testers found the edge broader but shorter than other knives in the group, making it slightly difficult to maneuver.

Material Kitchen the Almost 4-inch Knife ($50 at Material)

Though the blade's handle is attractive and the knife is super sharp, our testers found it slightly slippery.

Sasaki Matsuta 3.5-inch Paring Knife ($50 at Amazon)

This full-tang knife is heftier than some of the others. Still, our testers weren't bothered by the weight and found it beneficial for specific tasks like mincing shallots.

Zyliss 3.25-inch Paring Knife with Cover ($10 at Amazon)

Our testers found this knife incredibly well-balanced, with a long, tapered handle that ensures added comfort. The blade's curve didn't make consistent contact with the cutting board when mincing, making it feel awkward.

J. A. Henckels Classic Precision 4-inch Paring Knife ($44 at Amazon)

Testers love how easily this knife sliced through paper, but the heavier handle contributed to an overall lack of balance. 

Results Still Simmering

Zyliss Comfort Pro Paring 4.5-inch Paring Knife ($15 at Amazon)

This knife was one of the sharpest of the bunch and very lightweight; however, our testers found that the handle was too small, causing their knuckles to hit the cutting board when mincing.

Global GS-38 3.5-inch Paring Knife ($65 at Williams Sonoma)

The metal handle became slippery when wet, lacking the sturdy grip ideal for knifework, and the belly of the blade was not as sharp as expected during the mincing process.

Zwilling Twin Signature 4-inch Knife ($38 at Zwilling)

We found that this blade is more flexible than most, which is helpful when peeling vegetables is helpful, but it can also be a hindrance when slicing hard foods like parmesan cheese or carrots.

MAC Chef Series 4-inch Paring Knife ($ at Amazon)

The knife did an excellent job cleanly cutting through most of our tests, but we found that it is better for a rough chop than a fine mince. Due to its size, it's a little harder to finesse.

Opinel Carbon Steel 4-inch Paring Knife - Set of 2  ($20 at Opinel)

The knife is lightweight for shallots, needs to be professionally sharpened to be effective, and feels more flimsy than other knives. If you need a dishwasher-safe option, this will work, but it’s not ideal for serious kitchen tasks.

Victorinox 3.25-inch Rosewood Paring Knife Straight Sided  ($30 at Amazon)

Testers noticed that the knife noticeably dulled after multiple tests. It did a decent job slicing through Tomatoes but squished out the seeds and required more force and general to make cuts.

Miyabi Kaizen II Paring Knife ($120 at Amazon)

Even though the blade is sharp, it is too short and small to do things like finely chop a tomato without squeezing out the seeds.

Low Performers

Victorinox 3.9-inch Swiss Classic Paring Knife ($10 at Amazon)

Our testers did not find the handle of this very lightweight knife to be exceptionally comfortable but did note that it felt balanced and slip-resistant, thanks to a textured surface. 

Victorinox 3.25-inch Paring Knife  ($8 at Amazon)

Testers didn't like how the knife dragged during paper tests, and the lack of flexibility made curving motions such as coring a tomato difficult.

Kyocera Ceramic Revolution Series Paring Knife  ($25 at Amazon)

The Kyocera was a good size overall, but the handle is on the larger side, which could be challenging for those with smaller hands. It also felt too light and flimsy to some testers.

Farberware Paring Knife Set  ($8 at Amazon)

Testers thought the knife could be sharper, incredibly straight out of the box, because it struggled to get through most tests and the cuts cleanly.

Farberware 3.5-inch Ceramic Paring Knife  ($19 at Walmart)

The ceramic blade didn't feel flimsy in hand, but it was not sharp. It only partially slices through a piece of paper after getting stuck halfway and feels relatively cheap.

Our Expertise

Jennifer Zyman is a Senior Commerce Writer for Food & Wine and a recovering restaurant critic with a culinary school degree and over 15 years of food writing experience. Her work has appeared in Atlanta Magazine, Bon Appetit, Eater Atlanta, The Kitchn, Local Palate, National Geographic, Simply Recipes, Southern Living, and Thrillist. To write this story, she used testing results and expert advice from Michael Behn, owner and head sharpener of Moshi Knives. Laura Denby is a former professional chef who has spent years cooking in professional and private kitchens throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Hamptons.

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