What is a Slicing Knife and What is it Used for?

A slicing knife is a kitchen knife used by home cooks and chefs. This type of knife is usually between 8 to 14 inches long, and it may have a serrated edge or straight blade. The blade is thin, and it has a curved tip. Some blades have Granton Edge or scallops. These indentations keep the food from sticking to the blade by creating air pockets. The meat comes off the blade with ease, and the knife is less likely to tear or shred the meat.

The slicing knife has many uses. You can use the knife to slice roast beef in thin layers or cut vegetables like onions. Slicing knives are also good for preparing pastries, pies, and salads. If the blade is sharp, a slicer will allow you to portion softer items like tomatoes and pastries.

The shape of slicing knives is similar to carving knives. However, the slicing knife blade is more flexible and more suitable for cutting boneless chunks of meat. Usually, rigid blade of a carving knife is better for cutting meat away from the bone and disjointing.

What is a Slicing Knife?

A slicing knife is a kitchen knife with a long and narrow blade. The blade design makes the knife ideal for slicing meat, poultry, and fish. The length of the blade allows you to slice food, fruits, and vegetables in single and long strokes. As a result, the slices of food are uniform and clean. Slicing knives are also flexible and lightweight for more control while doing delicate work.

You must avoid using slicing knife for splitting bones. In this situation, the blade will go off course, and the cuts of meat will not be uniform. Plus, tougher foods like bones will dull the cutting edge quickly. Instead, use slicing knives for preparing softer items like boneless meat, fruits, vegetables, or bread. 

What is a Slicing Knife Used for?

Slicing knives are versatile kitchen knives capable of cutting more than just meat. Using the knife correctly will allow you to do the following.

Cutting Meat

A slicing knife can cut a variety of cooked and raw meats. The razor-sharp blade can slice through roast beef, brisket, poultry, ham, and pork. This type of knife will also allow you to cut cured meats. Therefore, preparing salami sandwiches or prosciutto is a breeze.

Slicing Fish

The thinner and flexible blade of a slicing knife can slice fish with ease. Use the knife to separate the meat close to the bones and make flavored fish fillets. You can even skin the fillets or leave the skin to get a crispy texture.

Preparing Vegetables

Use the long and narrow blade to make uniform cuts on vegetables. The slicing knife will cut onions, cucumbers, potatoes, scallops, and more.

Slicing Bread

Some slicing knives have serrated cutting edges. This type of edge can cut through items with a rougher exterior layer, like bread.

Preparing Pastries and Pies

The lightweight and sharp blade allow you to maneuver the knife with precision to prepare pastries and pies. Slicing knives also serve other bakery purposes like separating dough for cookies.

Cutting Fruits

Slicing large fruits like watermelons is easy when you use a long slicing knife. Plus, the thin and sharp edge guarantees clean cuts with minimal effort. You can maneuver the knife vertically or horizontally without smashing the fruit.

How to Use a Slicing Knife

Follow these steps to use a slicing knife correctly.

  1. Place the Food Over the Cutting Board. Using a slicing knife requires you to have a stable cutting board. If you’re slicing cake or baked goods, place them over a baking sheet instead.
  2. Positioning. You must have enough space to move the long slicing knife back and forth without hitting anyone or anything.
  3. Hold the Knife Firmly. Use a pinch grip style or regular hammer grip to ensure you hold the knife firmly. The proper cutting technique will allow you to have control while slicing. Thus, slice meat employing long and uniform strokes. Make sure to keep your fingertips curled to avoid injuries.
  4. Slice the Food Using the Length of the Blade. Slicing knives have long blades and cutting edges. Use the whole cutting edge to guarantee each cut is consistent and uniform.

Let the Knife do the Work. Apply minor pressure while cutting. If you force the knife too much, the blade will get stuck.

What to Look for in a Slicing Knife?

The following features dictate the quality of a good slicing knife.

Blade Steel Material

Look for slicing knives with high-carbon stainless steel blades. This material is easy to maintain and can resist rust. The edge gets razor-sharp, too. Thus, you won’t have any problem cutting brisket and meat in uniform slices.

Blade Size

Slicing knives are between 8 to 14 inches long. If you cut large chunks of meat, you will need a knife between 10 to 14 inches in length. Smaller slicing knives are easier to maneuver and more suitable for limited areas. 

Blade Thickness

Any blade between 0.30 and 0.35 in thickness makes for an excellent slicing knife. The steel is slightly flexible for delicate cuts, and the weight feels balanced. 

Handle Material

Ideally, an ABS polymer or Pakkawood handle makes slicing knives comfortable to hold. Other options are plastic handles and fibrox handles for more durability. These materials are all non-slip. So, you can hold the knife firmly and maneuver it to make delicate cuts on fish, vegetables, and fruits.

Full Tang

Slicing knives with a full tang provide more balance while slicing turkeys or bigger fruits like watermelons. You will also feel complete control while using the length of the cutting edge for slicing.

Straight Cutting Edge

A straight edge blade is superior to a serrated blade. Using a plain cutting edge slicing knife ensures that the meat does not shred or tear. Plus, you get to use the knife for cutting delicate produce like tomatoes in thinner slices without crushing the skin.

Average Price

Slicing knives are usually available within a $15-$150 price range. The key is to buy from renowned brands to ensure the quality is top-notch. I suggest established knifemakers like the Granton Beef Slicing Knife or the Japanese-style Sabatier Pointed Slicing Knife. If you have a good budget, consider buying sets from Wusthof (Chef’s Knife Set, which includes knives for slicing), Global (7-Piece Knife Set), or Victorinox (10-Piece Block Wooden Set).

Different Types

Learn about the many slicing knives and their variations to know which one is the most suitable for your needs.

Rounded Tip Slicing Knife (Standard)

These are the standard meat slicing knives. The blades have rounded tips and are suitable for cutting large roast ham and turkey breasts in thin slices. Slicers with rounded tips also prepare boneless beef joints in single, long cutting strokes. Some call this type of knife the Ham Slicer. Other purposes for this slicing knife variation include slicing ham, poultry, and cured meats.

A rounded tip will help you not to puncture the meat by accident, and a round point also works as a spatula. For instance, you can use the point to pick up slices of cheese or meat and transfer them to a plate.

Rounded Tip Slicing Knife with Scalloped Edge

This type of slicing knife is similar to the previous one. The only difference is the scallops near the cutting edge.  This particular design allows the knife to cut moist meats like ham without sticking to the blade.

Blades with a Granton Edge or scallops allow the meat to release effortlessly. This feature is handy when you’re slicing venison meat or fish like salmon.

Fluted Salmon Knife

This slicing knife variation has a hollow ground and a flexible blade. The blade is also thinner to reduce drag, and the flutes allow you to remove the sliced fish portions without tearing them. Use this knife for slicing salmon into thin and even layers. A salmon knife is primarily for salmon or large fish, meaning that the ideal blade length is 11 inches or larger.

Slicing Knife with a Pointed Tip

This slicing knife draws inspiration from the Japanese Sashimi knife. It has a curved blade near the tip, ending in a sharp point. The purpose of the knife is to slice fish portions gently, without tearing into the meat. Additionally, the double-beveled build makes the knife suitable for preparing red meat and fowl.

Is a Slicing Knife the Same as a Carving Knife?

A slicing knife is not the same as a carving knife. For one, the slicing knife has a flexible blade, whereas carving knife blades are sturdier. Metal thickness is also different. Slicing knives are thinner while carving knives are thicker. These features dictate the purpose of each knife. The thinner and flexible blades of slicing knives are ideal for cutting thin layers of roast, fish, veggies, and fruits. On the other hand, a carving knife blade is usually rigid and provides more control to carve roasts and poultry.


What Knife is Used for Slicing Cooked Meats?

A carving knife is used for slicing cooked meats. The long and rigid blades of carving knives slice raw and cooked meat with high precision. Every cut of meat is uniform, and the presentation looks more appealing.

Why are Slicing Knives Rounded?

Slicing knives have rounded tips to avoid piercing the meat. This type of knife doesn’t need a sharp point because you mostly use the cutting edge for slicing. Conveniently, rounded slicing knives pose fewer risks of puncturing your hands by accident. Rounded points also allow you to use the knife as a spatula to serve the slices of meat after slicing it.

How to Sharpen a Slicing Knife?

Use a sharpening stone or electric sharpener to sharpen slicing knives. Place the heel or tip over the stone first, and glide the blade over the stone while bringing the knife down. Repeat this scooping motion 5 to 10 times on each side of the blade at an angle between 12 and 20 degrees. Then, use a honing rod to polish the finish.

Brian Casey
About Brian M. Casey

As a food lover, Brian M. Casey developed a fascination for cooking at an early age. He soon realized that not only the ingredients matter but also the knives and the accessories used to turn those ingredients into a delicious dish. This way, Brian began his journey on the magnificent world of kitchen knives, outdoor knives, knife accessories, and much more. After years of experience with many ups and downs, Brian now wants to share everything he’s learned during his journey as an avid knife collector, a well-seasoned knife maker, and an all-around knives enthusiast.

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