Everyone can learn to be a master prepper eventually. There are plenty of YouTube videos made by experienced chefs that teach valuable slicing and dicing techniques. But to move from chopping onions to creating sushi rolls artwork, the climb is steep.
Even with years of practice, not having the best sushi knife for the job might make the difference between your rolls looking amateurish and restaurant-quality.
7 Best Sushi Knives - My Favorite Blades
Take a look at some of my favorite sushi knives to find out why they make such a big difference when cutting ingredients for sushi or sashimi rolls.
- 7 Best Sushi Knives - My Favorite Blades
- Sushi vs. Sashimi vs. Chef’s Knives
- The Importance of the Blade Alloy
- How to Choose the Right Handle
- You Don’t Need All Types of Sushi Knives in Your Arsenal
Right off the bat, the quality of the blade is what stands out the most. This Kasumi hand-crafted sushi knife has an amazing cutting power. The knife can handle almost anything you throw at it, which is why the Yanagi design is featured in most homes and in many restaurants too.
The blade hardness is between 62 and 63, which is quite impressive to say the least. You can get this knife in three blade sizes: 9.5”, 10.5”, and 11.8”.
As with most long slicing knives, this Yoshihiro sushi knife has some distinct characteristics. It has a flat rim at the back, a flat grind in the front, and a concave grind. Without getting too technical, this blade is capable of doing fine slices and cuts with minimal damage to the texture of fish meat.
The D-shaped handle is in line with the traditional sushi knife design and gives the knife an ergonomic feel. It is, however, important to note that this knife is not ideal for cutting through bone or frozen food. Use it if you’re more focused on finesse work and don’t need to handle tough ingredients.
Its style is almost restaurant-quality, which should only add to your confidence when using the knife in the comfort of your kitchen.
The Hiroshi Sushi knife is another personal favorite that strikes a good balance between affordability and efficiency. This handmade knife has a Damascus steel blade with a high carbon content, which guarantees a razor sharp cutting edge.
It’s very light as the 8” blade weighs just 2.6oz. The solid wood handle is comfortable and very strong. This makes the Hiroshi knife a heavy-duty kitchen tool, capable of handling more than just prepping for sushi rolls.
Creating this knife from start to finish involves a 40-step process. For that reason alone, the price tag seems more than reasonable.
The end result is a cross between Santoku and Deba sushi knives. This means that with a Hiroshi sushi knife, you can handle tougher ingredients while still being able to use the fine cutting edge to create perfect thin slices with minimal damage to the texture of the meat.
Unless you’re opening up a sushi place, there’s no reason why you can’t give a stainless steel sushi knife a try. For home use, this Gyuto sushi knife from Simple Song is a reliable choice and an affordable one too.
The blade is made of 420HC stainless steel with a good hardness rating and a superior durability to that of most carbon-blade sushi knives. It is a low-maintenance knife with a thin enough cutting edge to promote clean slicing.
You will notice that the blade is single-beveled with a cutting edge and a flat edge. That covers the basic principles of sushi knives right there. The knife is also full-tang, which further improves the reliability of using it long-term.
The rosewood handle looks stylish and professional and the fine writing on the blade gives it even more appeal. One more thing to add would be that this knife is definitely easier to handle if you have Western-style training. It can be used for fast slicing and chopping just as easily as it can be used for finesse work and creating sushi toppings.
A Honyaki-style sushi knife demands a certain level of expertise in order to make the perfect sushi rolls. Luckily, this knife from Soufull comes with a stainless steel blade which gives it a certain degree of durability that should prove valuable to inexperienced chefs or cooks.
It has a blade hardness of 59 to 61, which is quite good, especially at this price. The standout feature is its 2/3 tang, which is unlike most sushi knives that either have a partial half-tang or a full-tang design.
In terms of cutting precision, only experience is needed. The blade can hold its own against more expensive sushi knives given the sharp cutting edge and good sharpness retention. Breaking down cells and damaging the meat texture is hard to do unless you’re simply not careful.
As far as style goes, this knife definitely looks a bit more Western than you would expect, which is partly because of the thin and straight handle. What makes up for this in some regard is its light weight (4.8 oz) and long blade (12.8”).
This model from Cangshan is very cool and very useful if you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks. It has a somewhat unique blade design that seems like a cross between Honyaki, Petty, and Deba. Aesthetically speaking, this is one of the finest-looking sushi knives that are also restaurant-viable.
The blade is 8” long. It’s moderately durable, but it does come with a beautiful walnut sheath that protects it from oxidation and accidental cracks when not in use.
Each Cangshan sushi knife is handcrafted, and this J Series model is no exception. The blade was made from Japan VG10 steel which has a hardness rating of about 58 to 60. It’s not bad at all. Of course, the 8” blade is perhaps the most versatile to work with in terms of length, which is another big plus.
The dark walnut handle is very comfortable. It has a fine surface and is easy to work with for many hours of prep work straight.
This Gyuto sushi knife looks a lot better than most done in the same style. That’s probably just because of the intricate artwork on the blade.
But there’s more to it than just the looks. This 8” Zelite Infinity sushi knife earns extra points for its premium craftsmanship and choice of materials. The blade is made of high-carbon stainless steel. It has a good hardness rating as well as good stain and rust resistance.
The sharpness rivals that of traditional authentic sushi knives, which is pretty much all you can hope for at this price range. The 12-degree cutting edge allows you to do amazing finesse work on toppings and slices. Its sharpness also lets you cut through veggie sushi rolls like butter with minimal texture loss.
In terms of durability, the blade looks very solid. The handling should be quite comfortable too, seeing as how the handle mirrors Western-style handles and offers better finger support. This will be helpful because the knife is on the heavier side of sushi knives at 9.92 oz.
It’s not easy to put things into perspective without offering both high-end and low-end options. However, this incredibly cheap sushi knife from Kitchen + Home is anything but low-end. At least as far as sharpness and edge retention are concerned, this knife can hack it in any professional kitchen.
The 8” high carbon stainless steel blade is very thin and razor sharp. A Teflon coating is applied to the entire blade, except on the cutting edge. This coating improves the durability of the blade and it also helps prevent food from sticking to it.
This knife has 10 holes on the cutting edge, a somewhat rare feature that’s supposed to reduce friction. It does that in a way, but you might have a difficult time adapting to the holes if you’re used to slicing with a traditional sushi blade.
The knife is light, sharp, durable, and easy to handle, but it does come with a slight learning curve. Those 10 holes only improve the performance once you know how to use them to your advantage. Don’t expect clean textured cuts on your first try.
Sushi vs. Sashimi vs. Chef’s Knives
A lot of people can’t understand why a chef’s knife isn’t good enough for making sushi. Of course, this is mostly the case with home cooks and professional chefs who are Western-taught. One of the most important things about a sushi knife is its ability to retain a very, very sharp edge.
Both sushi and sashimi knives have a beveled edge, one edge that’s used for cutting. The fact that both come with a flat edge is why a lot of people have a hard time deciding which type of knife is better equipped to handle the prep work for making sushi rolls.
Unlike with chef’s knives, this trait ensures that the ingredients don’t stick to the knife. Another very important feature to look for in a sushi knife is the tang. A full-tang knife is generally preferred due to its increased durability and longevity. That doesn’t make the half-tang knife any less precise or easy to handle, though.
The Importance of the Blade Alloy
The majority of sushi knives are made of high-carbon steel. The reason why stainless steel is not the go-to choice is because this steel alloy can have a sharper and thinner edge. This is essential when making precise thin cuts.
What this also means is that sushi knives don’t share the life expectancy of a regular chef’s knife. High-carbon steel is not a very durable alloy. Even in a full-tang knife, the blade will eventually crack or go dull and you will have to replace your sushi knife.
There are also two blade forging techniques that you should know about. Sushi knives are categorized as Honyaki or Kasumi based on how they were made.
The former forging method means that the blade was made from a single bar of high-grade steel. The later signifies that two alloys were used. The most common culprits are hard iron for the center and soft carbon steel for the outer portion of the blade.
This information is less important if you can’t afford high-end sushi knives. For everyday home use, even mass-produced sushi knives will get the job done. In fact, some of them are really good if you don’t mind the short life expectancy and the need to resharpen the cutting edge more often.
How to Choose the Right Handle
Sushi knives come with a wide range of handles these days. You won’t only see the traditional D-shaped handle. However, having a good handle is very important. Making sushi is not a 5-minute meal YouTube-type venture.
It takes time, patience, good feel, and hand-to-eye coordination. The handle should allow you a firm yet comfortable grip, not just so you can make precise cuts but also to avoid any accidents. Remember, sushi knives are extra sharp.
You Don’t Need All Types of Sushi Knives in Your Arsenal
There are four main types of sushi knives on the market: deba, usuba, santoku, and the ever-versatile yanagi. Unless you’re running a sushi place and you can afford to take your time and spend the money, the yanagi knife is the only one you really need.
This type of knife is characterized by its long thin blade. It is commonly used to cut boneless meat and sushi or sashimi rolls. In terms of effectiveness, it is considered better overall than a santoku sushi knife, even though the latter is more commonly found in Japanese homes.
The santoku knife has a Western-inspired blade and a handle design reminiscent of a classic chef’s knife. However, it still has a single cutting edge, so it doesn’t have that wide a range of applications.
Time to Pick Your Favorite Slicer
The science and art that goes into creating the perfect sushi knife have filled books with valuable information. The debate about carbon blades and stainless steel blades is still ongoing.
However, some things have not changed since the old days. The same, single cutting edge design is favored, and a perfect balance between blade and handle is required. If you’ve gone through the entire list, you will have noticed by now that these knives come in a staggering amount of shapes, sizes, and price ranges.
If you’re not sure about what you need or what to replace your old and dull sushi knife with, any item on this list will do you proud and allow you to impress your guests with your creativity and precision.