Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Best Knife To Cut Cooked Chicken

Published:

Updated:


Carving up poultry to perfection takes a bit of skill and the right tools for the job. So, what is the best knife to cut chicken, anyway?

It really depends on your needs– For instance, for slicing and serving, a Chef’s knife is ideal, while a Boning knife is best suited for prep. A Japanese Honesuki can prep and carve, as it’s specifically designed for poultry. Finally, a cleaver can make short work of volume poultry preparation, if that’s what you need.

In today’s article, we’ll talk about each of these types of knives and what they bring to the table, as well as provide you with some examples of each of these best knives to cut chicken. We’ll share our own favorites, as well, but by the end of this article, you should have the data you need to choose the best knives for YOU.

Let’s talk about the best knife to cut chicken and what you need to know to find it!

Our top 4 picks at a glance

In this section, we’re going to give you a sneak peek at our favorites for today, just in case you’re in a hurry! If you would like to read more about each, just be sure to bookmark us and we’ll have more information in our showcased items and in our final verdict. With that said, here’s your sneak peek!

  • Best Chef knifeHammer Stahl 8-Inch High Carbon Chef Knife – The Hammer Stahl was our favorite Chef’s knife hands-down. This German-engineered blade has got a stylish look to it and a quality 8-inch high carbon steel blade that measures between 55 to 57 on the Rockwell scale. It’s built to last and there’s a lifetime guarantee backing that up!
  • Best Boning knifeImarku German High Carbon Stainless-Steel Boning Knife – With its German high carbon stainless steel blade and the lovely pakkawood handle, it’s a good looking blade that also happens to rate a 56 to 58 on the Rockwell hardness scale – so it’s going to hold a wicked edge when you sharpen it!
  • Best HonesukiZelite Infinity Honesuki Knife 4.5 Inch – With 67 layers and Damascus patterning, the Zelite Infinity is a beautiful and superbly functional Honesuki that will allow you to precision carve chicken with ease.
  • Best CleaverZENG JIA DAO Meat Cleaver – If you need a chicken cleaver, this Zeng Jia Dao Axe-style cleaver is an excellent choice and will make precision chops without fear of the bones damaging the blade. It’s a solid cleaver and when you feel the heft and balance of it, you’ll be able to tell it right away!

Fair or Fowl – What makes for a good chicken carving knife?

Chicken being carved by someone on a white background
Chicken being carved by someone on a white background.

We’d mentioned in brief in our introduction that the best knife for cutting chicken will all depend on your specific needs, but that it basically boils down into 4 categories:

  • Chef’s knives
  • Boning knives
  • Honesuki poultry knives
  • Cleavers

We’ll talk a little about each so that you can see what they are best for and then we’ll move on to show you some excellent examples of these kinds of blades.

Chef’s knives

A Chef’s knife is the most popular option for both home users and professionals and it’s easy to see why. They’re quite versatile. Dicing, slicing, skinning, and trimming, if the blade is large enough, a good Chef’s knife can carve up a large chicken or turkey with ease.

Boning knives

For preparation, a good boning knife is a MUST. The tapered ends in the blade design let you easily sever connective tissues and the flexibility of the steel also lets you navigate that maze of bone perfectly so that you can proportion and cut your chicken exactly the way you need it.

Honesuki poultry knives

If you’ve never used a Japanese Honesuki knife before, then you’re really in for a treat when you do. These knives are designed SPECIFICALLY for poultry and can make short work of preparation and slicing due to this specialization. They can also be used for fileting fish and other cutting tasks, but with Japanese specialty knives it’s really best to stick to their function, and cutting poultry is precisely what Honesuki knives are designed for.

Cleavers

If you are prepping a large volume of poultry for freezing or whipping up a feast, then a cleaver can save you quite a lot of time. A good cleaver can give you powerful, precise chopping cuts that should go neatly and cleanly right through the bone if that’s what you need.

Now that we’ve covered these 4 types of knives for chicken and other meats, let’s take a look at some examples!

The best knives to cut chicken

In the sections below, we’ll give you 3 examples of knives from the following categories:

  • Chef’s knives
  • Boning knives
  • Honesuki poultry knives
  • Cleavers

For each one, we’ll tell you a little about their dimensions, what they bring to the table, as well as the pros and cons of each that you’ll want to consider before you commit. With that said, let’s take a look at the best knives to cut chicken!

Chef’s knives

Hammer Stahl 8-Inch High Carbon Chef Knife

Hammer Stahl 8-Inch High Carbon Chef Knife | Versatile Cooking Knife for Chopping, Slicing & Precision Cutting | German Forged Sharp Kitchen Knife | Ergonomic Quad-Tang Pakkawood Handle & Gift Box

View on Amazon

This Hammer Stahl 8-inch carbon steel Chef’s Knife is both beautiful and practical for cutting, slicing, and carving up chicken like a pro. With a Rockwell hardness of 55 to 57, this is a high-strength knife, and the ergonomic and stylish handle means that you’ll have the control you need to make precision cuts without too much wear and tear on your wrists.

This lovely blade is also German-crafted and comes with a lifetime guarantee, so what’s not to like?

The Pros:

We love the handle – it has a minimalist style that also gives it a practical balance and these forged blades are measured with lasers to ensure that you get a sleek, precision piece that performs with a reliable certainty each and every time. It’s hard to beat German engineering and when you feel the balance and heft of it, you can tell that you’re wielding a precision tool.

The Cons:

It does cost a little more than some of the other offerings we’ll be sharing today, although for the mileage you’ll get from this blade, we really feel it’s worth a second look before you finalize your decision. It’s a nice knife and built to last.

Enowo Chef Knife 8-Inch with Premium G10 Handle and Damascus etched-design

Enowo Damascus Chef Knife 8 Inch with Premium G10 Handle&Triple Rivet,Razor Sharp Kitchen Knife Japanese VG-10 Stainless Steel,Gift Box,Ergonomic,Superb Edge Retention, Stain & Corrosion Resistant

View on Amazon

Next up we have this Enowo Chef Knife that can cut and carve up chicken, beef, and veggies with very little effort on your part and look good doing it. The Japanese steel is double-carbon and while it advertises as Damascus, it looks like it’s alloyed instead for superior sharpness and durability.

The design is nice – you’ve got a wide edge for cutting, as well as a pointy tip to help you get that initial ‘bite’ before you get to the carving and cutting. All in all, if you like Japanese blades, this is a nice design that will help you cut up your chicken right!

The Pros:

This knife has excellent hardness and holds an edge well, although you’ll want to be sure to invest in a sharpening stone or electric sharpener to keep it at its best. The alloyed construction seems to be a winning equation, as this knife makes short work of just about anything you feel like slicing.

The Cons:

While it lists as Damascus, Damascus steel is technically steel that has been folded numerous times to produce the distinctive patterning – in their advert, they simply list it as an alloyed blend, and we strongly suspect in this case that it’s more of an etched pattern. As such, we recommend that you look a little closer at the reviews or grab some independent info on this blade to confirm before you commit.

Henckels Classic Razor-Sharp 8-inch Chef Knife

HENCKELS Classic Razor-Sharp 8-inch Chef Knife, German Engineered Informed by 100+ Years of Mastery, Stainless Steel

View on Amazon

Henckels offers this Classic 8-inch, German-engineered Chef’s knife and it’s a lovely piece of cutlery! Built to last, these blades keep an excellent edge and it’s understandable – Henckels has been providing quality German steel since 1895! If you are looking for a well-balanced Chef’s knife that you won’t need to be sharpening constantly, then this Henckels blade is definitely worth a closer look!

The Pros:

Henckels lower-priced line doesn’t skimp on quality. While it’s not the fanciest Chef’s knife, the steel is quality and when you hold it you can tell how well it is balanced. It’s also harder to fumble – part of the design is that the handle is slightly heavier so that you’ve got the degree of control that you need for precision cutting and carving.

The Cons:

It is priced in the same neighborhood as the Hammer Stahl knife and this is unfortunate – while it’s a nice blade, in our opinion the Hammer Stahl is the superior option – we’d recommend comparing them in the reviews before you make your final decision.

Boning knives

Mercer Culinary Ultimate White Boning Knife

Mercer Culinary Ultimate White, 6 inch Curved Boning Knife

View on Amazon

When it comes to a good boning knife for chicken, you could go with something ornate, or you could stick to utility. This Mercer Culinary Ultimate White Boning knife does the latter – it’s a knife that’s designed to be USED and that’s what you really want. The 6-inch blade is high carbon Japanese steel and it’s SHARP. The handle has a no-slip ergonomic grip for granular control. Simply put, this is a no-nonsense boning knife that gets the job done.

The Pros:

We have to say that we liked the Mercer. It’s not ostentatious – the only markings you’ll see are the company name and information about the steel – and the ‘ultimate white’ is all of the aesthetics it needs. It looks like what it is – a clinically sharp and clean boning knife that does exactly what it’s designed for and does it well.

The Cons:

Some folks like a fancier-looking kitchen knife and this white-handled boning knife might not fit with their décor and that’s a shame because this is a quality boning knife and worth having around in your kitchen.

Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Boning Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Boning Knife, Flexible Blade, 6-Inch, Black

View on Amazon

Our next boning knife is another nod to the ‘utility’ school of thought and it’s a good one. The Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Boning knife is all about cutting and boning and the s-shaped design of the 6-inch blade tells you everything that you need to know – this knife is here for business.

The blade itself is Swiss-crafted and the NSF Fibro handle is lightweight and ergonomically shaped so that you will have a good grip and experience less fatigue for those times when you need to separate a lot of meat from the bone. Like the Mercer, it’s not a ‘show blade’, but you’d be hard put to find a fancier boning knife that’s going to perform anywhere near this knife’s level.

The Pros:

If you like no-nonsense cutlery that stays wickedly sharp and which you can get many years of mileage out of, this really is a perfect fit. The Victorinox doesn’t waste time on frippery, instead, it’s simply a well-made precision-carving tool.

The Cons:

As with the Mercer, not everyone will be overjoyed at the ‘mundane’ appearance of this knife, although with the black handle, it should go with quite a lot of décor sets and you’ll be happy with what it can do if you decide to go that route.

Imarku German High Carbon Stainless-Steel Boning Knife

imarku Boning Knife, German High Carbon Stainless Steel Professional Grade Boning Fillet Knife, 6-Inch Professional Boning knife, Pakkawood Handle for Meat and Poultry

View on Amazon

Our last boning knife entry is this Imarku German High Carbon Stainless-steel Boning knife with a 56 to 58 level of hardness on the Rockwell scale, this is a solid piece of kitchen cutlery.

Corrosion-resistant, this German blade takes an edge and holds it for a long time – so you won’t be spending a whole lot of time having to re-sharpen it. The pakkawood handle is also a nice touch – giving your quality blade a humble aesthetic worthy of a fine kitchen tool.

The Pros:

The steel on the knife is perfect for what you need – it’s durable, retains a wicked edge, and the overall knife is well-balanced. The handle is also non-slip and ergonomically designed so that control and comfort are maximized. These blades also come with a lifetime guarantee and it’s always a nice feeling when you know that a company backs up their craftsmanship with a solid guarantee.

The Cons:

This knife is hand-washed only – which may not please everyone, but it’s one of the pitfalls of kitchen cutlery with wooden handles – it just needs a little extra personal care.

Honesuki Poultry knives

Zelite Infinity Honesuki Knife 4.5 Inch

Zelite Infinity Honesuki Knife 4.5 Inch - Alpha-Royal Series - Japanese AUS-10 Super Steel 67-Layer Damascus - Razor Sharp, Superb Edge Retention

View on Amazon

The Zelite Infinity Honesuki has a 4.5-inch blade that is made of imported Japanese steel and has a Damascus pattering on the blade from a 67-layer fold. If you’ve never owned a Japanese poultry knife before, that folding makes a HUGE difference – you’ll be getting a knife with a 61-rated hardness on the Rockwell scale!

That’s a strong blade and it’s going to hold an amazing edge. Honesuki knives make short work of cutting poultry, with that distinctive point on the front giving you an effortless entry point to the meat so that you can carve with laser precision.

The G10 military-grade handle is also comfortable to use and held in place with 3 rivets so that both blade and handle are reliably fused for years of hard use!

The Pros:

The Zelite Infinity has an amazing price for what you get. It’s not every day that you find a 67-layer folded blade with a Damascus patterning that isn’t simply a ‘stamp’ placed for aesthetics. It’s tough, beautiful, and made to last.

The Cons:

Honesukis are designed for one purpose only – cutting poultry. So, if you are looking for a blade with wider applications, this may not be the best fit for your needs.

Dalstrong Honesuki Knife – 5.5 inch – Ronin Series

Dalstrong Honesuki Knife - 5.5 inch - Ronin Series - Single Bevel Blade - Poultry Boning Knife - Japanese AUS-10V Steel Kitchen Knife - Red Rosewood Handle - Sushi Knife - w/Sheath

View on Amazon

We have another beautiful Damascus blade to show you and it’s this Dalstrong Honesuki with a 5.5-inch blade. With 66 layers, it’s a strong blade from the get-go and rates a 62 on the Rockwell scale.

It also features a single-bevel edge that you can hone to scalpel sharpness. Along with this, that fancy patterning on the top serves a purpose – reducing drag so that your knife slides through meat gracefully with less resistance.

The handle for this knife is a combination of Rosewood and G10 Garolite, which is a military-grade material similar to fiberglass so you’ll have useful feedback you can feel when you use it. Add in that it has a beautiful handcrafted wooden sheath and you’ve got the recipe for a knife that’s a pleasure to use and to show off in your kitchen!

The Pros:

This is a quality blade and when you take it out of the package you’ll be able to feel the fine balance and the steel’s quality firsthand. Dalstrong has an excellent reputation when it comes to cutlery and this Honesuki is definitely no exception. Nitrogen-cooled for extra hardness and mirror polished, a lot of craftsmanship went into this and it’s obvious at a glance.

The Cons:

While this is a nice Honesuki knife, the Zelite Infinity is quite competitive in what it offers and at close to half the price. If you are a die-hard Dalstrong fan then this might not be an issue, but otherwise, this is something to factor into your decision-making.

Vosteed Kitchen Utility Knife – 5 Inch Sharp Kitchen Knife for Chef

Vosteed Kitchen Utility Knife - 5 Inch Sharp Kitchen Knife for Chef - Small Cooking Knife Japanese Honesuki Boning Knife for Deboning, Cutting & Peeling (Stallion Series)

View on Amazon

Our final Honesuki is this Vosteed Stallion series 5-inch bladed kitchen knife and it’s a lovely little poultry knife that gives you exactly what you need without any extra flash. While it’s not Damascus like our other entries, you get quality Japanese DIN 1.4116 Nippon steel that will hold a serious edge better than comparable German 1.4116 blades, and the handle is made with sturdy and long-lasting G10 material that is ergonomically shaped for superior grip and comfort.

It’s not flashy, but it’ll make short work of poultry and double as a paring knife when you need it, and for those of us concerned most with utility that’s really all you need.

The Pros:

The Vosteed is a quality blade that is affordable and very good at what it does. The steel is good enough that you can use it for a number of other tasks around the kitchen and while it’s not as ornate as the other options, the humble aesthetics don’t look bad at all – it fits nicely with a lot of décor options so you really aren’t missing out by going with this ‘Spartan’ Honesuki.

The Cons:

Some owners of Japanese cutlery like a bit more form to go with the function, and for these consumers the Vosteed might be considered a little on the ‘dull’ side – not the blade, mind you, but the muted aesthetics.

Cleavers

ZENG JIA DAO Meat Cleaver

ZENG JIA DAO Meat Cleaver Butcher Knife Heavy Duty Bone Chopper Axe for Kitchen 6 '' Bones Cutting Knife Stainless Steel Solid Pear Wood Handle Smashing bone in Restaurant farm Slaughterhouse

View on Amazon

Quick, solid, and precise, this Zeng Jia Dao Meat Cleaver features a tapered and pointed cleaver blade that will chop smoothly and effortlessly into chicken and other meats that need trimming. Hand-forged, the high carbon steel blade is sharpened at a 17-degree angle and it’s weighty enough that even big bones aren’t a problem.

It’s also fitted with a lovely pearwood handle that gives it a handsome aesthetic. We should note that the ‘ax’ style of the blade gives it quite a bit more power but this is not good for mincing or dicing – it’s ‘chop only’ but in that category it’s aces!

The Pros:

This is a powerful cleaver and if you are chopping a good volume of poultry, you’ll save a lot of time and your results will be clean and precise.

The Cons:

You need to keep in mind that this is carbon steel, so a little extra care in the form of oiling is recommended.

DRGSKL Hand-Forged Meat Cleaver

DRGSKL Hand Forged Meat Cleaver Knife Fathers Butcher Knife for Meat Cutting Full Tang Chef Knife with Belt Sheath and Gift Box High Carbon Steel Knife for Kitchen or Camping Thanksgiving Gift

View on Amazon

Great for home or for camping, this hand-forged DRGSKL is made with high carbon steel that will keep a nice edge although, like the previous cleaver, a little oiling is in order to keep it maintained. The blade itself measures in at approximately 7 inches and features a finger hold for added control, note the shape of the blade – you can perform cleaving tasks, but it’s also suitable for a wide range of other useful kitchen applications in a pinch.

The handle is made of an African hardwood called Wenge and not only does it look nice, but it’s ergonomically shaped to keep comfortable control at hand at all times. Finally, this knife comes with a leather sheath, so if you like to bring your cutlery camping then you’re ready to go!

The Pros:

This is a solid and useful blade – we like the multipurpose design and the finger hole for added control is a nice touch – and it works for dicing, mincing, slicing, and chopping The Wenge wood has a good grip to it, and looks great, too, so overall we really liked this cleaver.

The Cons:

There’s that oiling inconvenience that comes with the carbon steel, but otherwise, we really liked this knife.

Kitory Serbian Chef Knife, 6″ Razor Sharp Meat and Vegetable Cleaver

Kitory Serbian Chef Knife 6", Super Thin Blade, Razor Sharp Cleaver and Vegetable Kitchen Knife with Full Tang Handle, High Carbon Stainless Steel, thin cleaver for Home and Kitchen

View on Amazon

Our final cleaver is this Serbian style Kitory Chef’s knife and the distinctive shape of it is definitely an eye-catcher. In the kitchen, it proves that it’s a whole lot more, as this thin-bladed cleaver is excellent for chopping meat and veggies.

While this cleaver is NOT designed for thick bones, with poultry it works quite well, and it’s fairly lightweight so that you can get a little more chopping power without having something that feels unwieldy. The wooden handle also looks nice, feels comfy, and is held firmly in place with 3 solid rivets.

The Pros:

If you are looking for a lightweight cleaver strictly for poultry and perhaps for veggies as well, then you’ll love the Kitory. The thinner blade still gives you a lot of power but it’s not prohibitively heavy.

The Cons:

As it is lightweight and thinner, you’ll need to remember that it’s not suitable for heavier chopping – thick bones can damage the blade over time. That said, with poultry and veggies it’s quite the handy cleaver to have.

FAQs

We’re just about to wrap things up, but before we get to that, we’ve got a few frequently asked questions to help cover any little info tidbits that we might have missed along the way. Let’s take a look!

Can I use a serrated knife on chicken?

Yes, serrated blades sometimes do the trick nicely, provided that they are not too small for the task. The teeth in a serrated blade can bite well into a raw or cooked chicken and allow you to cut against the grain effectively to shape that chicken into more manageable, yummy chunks and slices.

Can you use a paring knife to cut chicken?

Yes, paring knives are actually quite good for small eats like pork, turkey, or chicken, and you can get some really precise cuts with them. If you are having trouble cutting some chicken and don’t have any specialty knives for it, give your paring knife a try and you can see for yourself – they really work quite well for poultry.

What knife should you use to cut chicken with bone?

Boning knives are really your best option with chicken and other meats where you need to navigate around or remove bones. They have a stiff blade and a tapered point, as well as a little bit of flex to them so that you can neatly sever connective tissues and work your way around the chicken to properly separate the meat from the bone.

The verdict

It’s time for us to call it a day, but before we do so, we’re going to tell you about our favorites for the day and what we liked about them. If some of the other knives from the list caught your eye, however, then, by all means, proceed with confidence and make them your own – ultimately, you’re going to know best what will fit your specific needs, and all of the knives from our list today are excellent options.

With that said, here were the ones that we liked the most.

Best Chef knifeHammer Stahl 8-Inch High Carbon Chef Knife

The Hammer Stahl 8-inch High Carbon Chef’s knife marries style and substance together nicely in a sharp Chef’s knife that is built to last. It’s well balanced, holds a good edge, and we have to say that German engineering is also a big perk – this is a well-made knife that you’ll be getting a lot of use out of, provided that you take good care of it.

Best Boning knifeImarku German High Carbon Stainless-Steel Boning Knife

This Imarku German High Carbon Stainless-steel boning knife is corrosion-resistant, easy on the eyes, and melds flexibility with the superior hardness of the steel so that you can dart through that chicken and debone it in record time. We liked the pakkawood handle as well – it’s a humble aesthetic, rather than a ‘flashy’ one, and looks quite tasteful in the kitchen.

Best HonesukiZelite Infinity Honesuki Knife 4.5 Inch

The Zelite Infinity Honesuki knife gives you a 4.5-inch blade that’s got 67 layers to it and real Damascus patterning (which comes from the folding of the steel and with all the knives out there that are just stamped with the pattern, it’s nice to see the real thing). It’s a high-performance knife but just keep in mind that it’s specialized for poultry – you can use it for other things, but that’s where it really shines.

Best CleaverZENG JIA DAO Meat Cleaver

Our final favorite was this Zeng Jia Dao ax-style meat cleaver and the tapered, pointed blade is thick enough that you won’t have to worry about the bones you’re chopping through nicking the blade – even big bones will be cleanly cut! It’s made from high-carbon steel, so you’ll need to keep it sharpened and oiled from time to time, but it’s a real powerhouse when you need it!

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our list today and if you have some favorites to share of your own or simply some article feedback, then please be sure to post before you go. Thanks so much for reading and we hope that you have a great week ahead!

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: David McLemore

David learned to cook at an early age after his mother told him that he couldn't live on pizza forever, Dave uses his modest kitchen skills to recreate sorely-missed recipes from home and to occasionally make new favorite ones from places he is visiting.

Leave a Comment